When Las Vegas native Danny Fulkerson woke up the morning after the October 1 mass shootings during the Route 91 Harvest Festival, he immediately felt like he had to help. He wasn’t the only one. As seen through countless acts across the Valley, the local community has come together to raise money, offer support and lean on one another during this period of mourning. In the case of Fulkerson, his contribution came in the form of a charity bicycle ride.
“The bicycle community does rides all the time,” says Fulkerson, who’s a member of the Hammer & Cycle bicycle club. “We usually have pretty good numbers. So to get people together to actually donate something, it goes hand-in-hand because that’s what we do—we help each other out.”
The ride, which Fulkerson organized along with Graham Kahr of Blinking Man, took place Downtown on October 7 and saw many of the local bike crews out in full force as well as new faces, many of whom rented RTC bikes—free for those attending the event—or drove their two-wheelers from other parts of the city. Fulkerson estimates more than 400 people participated in the ride, which started at Huntridge Tavern and included stops at Bunkhouse Saloon and the Funkyard at ReBar.
The night kicked off with an impassioned speech by Councilman Bob Coffin. Encouraging participants to honor and reflect on what happened as well as to be self-indulgent during the ride, he left the audience with a call to action: “Before you finish, think about what you’re going to do [after].” He said to stay fired up (“I’m angry as hell. … I have not been able to lose that anger. … I’m not going to try to tone it down”) as lawmakers work to change minds in Washington presumably about gun control.
Each stop included raffle prizes such as custom bicycles, tickets to the upcoming Killers show, paintings and a crowd favorite, a ten-course meal for six by chef Doug Taylor. There was also food and entertainment. Bands including the All Togethers, Same Sex Mary and A Crowd of Small Adventures played at the various locations over the course of the seven-plus hour evening. Each bar and food truck offered special menus with proceeds directly benefiting the Las Vegas Victim’s GoFundMe account.
Photos by Gina Joy
A third generation Las Vegan and country music fan, the massacre couldn’t have hit closer to home for Fulkerson. He says the amount of preparation to put on an event of this level would typically take two months, but thanks to the huge outpouring of family and friends as well as the bar operators, the event came together in about a week (Hammer & Cycle also hosts the annual Bikes for Brats fundraiser, which collects new bikes for local children in need). “Las Vegas is such a tight-knit group and we have so many contacts everybody just used them all at once.”
The charity bicycle ride raised more than $15,000, according to Fulkerson.
“People donated ridiculous amounts of time and energy into this,” he says. “We brought iPads in so [people could] donate directly to the GoFundMe or set up appointments to give blood, which was a big thing for us. The appointments are backed up until November, but they are going to need blood for months and months. This isn’t just a now thing, this is a future thing.”