- American Legion Riders take part in ceremonies year-round including: Flag dedications, funerals, parades, and special events.
Sergeant at Arms
In Garden City, Mich., in 1993, Chuck “Tramp” Dare and Bill “Polka” Kaledas, commander of American Legion Post 396, shared an idea to start a motorcycle enthusiasts association within the organization. The two longtime riders wanted an environment where Legion family members could come together to share a common love for motorcycles.
Dare and Kaledas wrote a letter to Michigan Department Adjutant Hubert Hess, sharing their idea. Hess replied that he liked the concept and wanted to pursue it. Later, he gave Kaledas and Dare instructions for managing the program at the post level. He also explained how they could be approved to use the American Legion emblem, and how to gain Membership’s support and recognition. At a regular meeting, Post 396 members passed a resolution for a new program to be known as the “American Legion Riders.”
Joined by 19 other founding members from their post, Dare and Kaledas were flooded with requests for information about their organization. They agreed to establish a central source for the Riders to ensure that chapters formed not as motorcycle clubs or gangs, but as Legionnaires and Auxiliary and SAL members joining to ride as Legion family.
Currently, over 110,000 American Legion Riders meet in over 2,000 chapters in every domestic department and in at least three foreign countries. Riders in Iowa have formed an honor guard called The Five Star Freedom Riders, and Riders in Mulvane, Kan., founded the Patriot Guard to protect the sanctity of military funerals from protesters. Riders in all states have escorted military units returning home from combat tours overseas, conducted massive cross-country fundraising events for wounded warriors from all services, and have raised millions of dollars for countless local, state and national charities. Many Riders, supported by their departments, conduct annual statewide Legacy Runs in direct support of American Legion scholarship programs of Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW), supporting our wounded service members across the nation.
True to the Legion’s grassroots tradition, each chapter manages its programs at the post level, where the best ideas are born. The Riders are part of many projects and events.
Members must hold membership in and be in good standing with The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary or Sons of The American Legion.
Members must be legally registered motorcycle owners or be the legally registered owner’s spouse within the state of registration.
All operators must be properly licensed and insured per state laws.
All members must obey motor-vehicle laws in the state in which they are operating a motorcycle or riding as a passenger.
ALR programs may allow for continued membership for those members who have given up motorcycle ownership because of age, illness, injury, or other reasons outside the member’s control
Adapted from legion.org/riders