Combat Veterans third annual ride this weekend

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The Combat Veterans Chapter 39-3 gathered on June 25 in remembrance of Jim "Burley" Hansel of Guttenberg, who died in an accident earlier that day. Members were at this Memorial with Jim the day before he died. Hansel served as a door gunner on a helicopter in Vietnam. "Some of us  went back Saturday and toasted our fallen comrade," said Ed VanLennep. (Photo submitted)

The third annual Combat Veterans  Motorcycle Association benefit ride is set for July 8-9 and includes a weekend of camping in Elkport and a Saturday ride that includes stops at Moxie's and the Dam Bar in Guttenberg.

The two-day event features music, vendors, fireworks, games, food, prizes and more. Registration is from 5-9 p.m. Friday and 7-11 a.m. Saturday at the Elkport Campground.  

Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 39-3 is 501(c)19 non-profit. The Chapter organizes this yearly benefit in order to raise funds to help needy veterans and veteran organizations. 

"Our motto is Vets Helping Vets but without all who support us and what we believe in this would not be possible," said organizer Ed VanLennep. "Since our event last July, Combat Veterans Chapter 39-3 has helped numerous needy veterans and veteran organizations by donating  $25,000+ in assistance. All benefit money raised by Chapter 39-3 is used throughout Eastern Iowa to support Iowa veterans."

The benefit ride on July 8-9 is open to everyone with the public invited. "We meet at the Elkport Iowa campground pavilion both days at 11 a.m. for the ride. If you don’t have a motorcycle come join us and cruise with your car," said VanLennep.

The Elkport Garber Community Center will house the food, beverages, bands, and breakfasts. The cost to participate in the two-day event is $15 per bike or car and $10 per passenger. "This gives each paid person two days of riding, Friday night catfish fry, Friday night band "Long Blue Willie," Saturday night hog/wild boar/goat roast, and Saturday night band "Abby Normal." It also makes you eligible to receive the 400+ prizes that will be given away throughout the ride," said VanLennep.

"Last year we handed out over $3500 in gift cards when we returned from Saturday's ride. The public is welcome to eat for a $5 fee and attend the music for a $5 cover charge each day. If you don’t participate in our ride/cruise you can still register for $15 and get food, entertainment both days and be eligible for Saturday prizes. We also have Friday evening biker games, Saturday night fireworks, vendors, 50/50 raffle, massage therapists, tattoo artist and a large auction," he said.

The 130-mile ride will start and end in Elkport with stops in Guttenberg at Moxie’s and the Dam Bar, Wadena at Barney’s, Edgewood at Franny’s and Thai-1-on, and Millville at Bootleggers. Friday is the pre-ride which leaves at 11 a.m. with no set schedule and Saturday the main ride leaves at 11 a.m. sharp and returns at 5:45 p.m. If you have any questions email

"We hope to see you July 8-9 and together we can “Ride for the Vets,” said VanLennep.

Jim Hansel tribute

The late Jim Hansel of Guttenberg was a member of this Combat Veterans group and was enroute to join them at a funeral  of another Combat Vet when he died in an accident on June 25. His road name with the group was Burley. 

His comrades plan to honor him this coming weekend when they dedicate a bench in his memory on July 9 at Bootleggers in Millville. 

"Jim enjoyed the company and camaraderie we shared there  and Millville is also the site of his tragic death," said VanLennep.

The 39-3 Combat Veterans also escorted Hansel's funeral procession to the gravesite this past weekend and conducted a moving ceremony at his final resting place.

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