Bringing bikers to the VFW: All welcome for veterans benefit

You don’t have to be a military veteran or a biker to enjoy an inexpensive fundraiser for Delaware vets on Saturday, Sept. 19. The Desert Knights MC 2nd Annual Bike Week Bash returns from noon to 6 p.m. at the VFW Post 7234 in Ocean View.

“It’s very friendly. It’s not a biker event. It’s a charitable event to raise money for the Fisher House and the Home of the Brave,” said organizer Rick “Smitty” Smith. “I don’t care if you show up on a golf cart, a scooter, whatever you want. It’s not strictly a biker event.”

The Bash is being organized by three chapters of the traditional bike club, Desert Knights of America Motorcycle Club, which focuses veterans’ issues and improving the condition of American military veterans. They’re tagging onto the end of nearby Delmarva Bike Week, although the two events are unaffiliated.

The $10 ticket can be purchased at the door. Activities and entertainment include music, food, beer, vendors, door prizes, a 50/50 drawing and the chance to win a shotgun, all in a setting overlooking the scenic Indian River Bay from the Ocean View VFW.

“You can’t beat it for $10,” Smith said. “That gets you either chicken or beef, two sides,” as well as desserts and beer. Mixed drinks can be purchased on-site.

As for the money, it stays local, as all proceeds go to two Delaware groups: Home of the Brave Foundation and the Fisher House. The Fisher House serves families visiting Dover Air Force Base, which is a regional mortuary for military service members.

“When things were in full swing, it was a pretty big place. It’s a sad thing,” Smith said. “The families can stay at the Fisher House for free while their loved ones are being attended to.”

Meanwhile, if someone comes home injured, Fisher House provides free or low-cost lodging to his or her family during recuperation.

“When a veteran suffers, in my eyes, a veteran’s family suffers more,” Smith said. With Fisher House, “You don’t have to worry about where you’re gonna eat, where you’re gonna stay…”

Meanwhile, Home of the Brave has just opened a homeless shelter for female veterans.

“It takes all four branches of the service to fight a battle. It takes all kinds — men, women, dogs,” and the Desert Knights want to support them, said Smith, who served the U.S. Army for about 31 years.

People can also buy tickets for more than 50 giveaways, with the chance to get lucky at the regular table or striking gold at the high-dollar table.

The big raffle prize is a 28-inch barrel, semi-automatic Beretta shotgun (A400 Xtreme Unico, model J40xV18).

“If you’re that guy or that woman who’s a hunter, you know your weapon,” Smith said.

People can see the shotgun in person at the benefit. Entries cost $10 per ticket, or $40 for five tickets. Guests do not need to be present to win. If the shotgun doesn’t appeal ($1,900 MSRP), the winner can opt for a $300 cash prize instead.

“Thanks to the public for coming out there and supporting this great cause,” Smith said.

Smith is president of the Southern Delaware chapter of Desert Knights, which joins the Newark and Pennsylvania bike club chapters in hosting the event.

The VFW (where Smith is junior vice commander) is sponsoring the Bash, keeping costs low and donations high for the Desert Knights. VFW Mason Dixon Post 7234 is located at 29265 Marshy Hope Way in Ocean View.

The Facebook page for the “2nd Annual Desert Knights MC Bike Week Bash” is at