William Shatner traded the Starship Enterprise for a Harley Davidson as he rode through downtown Sedalia Wednesday afternoon as part of a benefit motorcycle ride to raise funds and awareness for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.
Riders from the American Legion, Shatner and his entourage stopped for lunch at the Mason Jar Bakery & Cafe on Ohio Avenue in Sedalia where they dined on a buffet lunch, cooked by co-owner and chef Penny Nichols.
“We were very honored that he chose our restaurant to dine especially with the big mix of restaurants in Sedalia,” said co-owner and daughter of Nichols, Char Klein. “We are big fans of William Shatner and this ride is such a good cause.”
The 2,500-mile ride started Tuesday in Chicago and will follow or parallel the old transcontinental highway Route 66 across the country to Hollywood, California, where they will wrap up the ride, while raising awareness for the American Legion.
Shatner’s entourage included dozens of bikers, and a bus towing his concept motorcycle, which was built by his new motorcycle manufacturing company, Rivet Motorcycles. The custom motorcycles will have a futuristic look to them, which he was going to introduce after his stop in Sedalia at Whiteman Air Force Base. He said he wanted to pose his futuristic motorcycle next to a B-2 bomber at the base.
A film crew also accompanied Shatner and the American Legion riders on the long trip to film a documentary of the journey.
The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund gives college and secondary education scholarships to the children of fallen soldiers and was started soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The ride was planned by the American Legion and Shatner requested to join the ride, as he is a supporter of the American Legion, said National American Legion representative Scott Miller.
“We’re just so inspired not only by his commitment to ride the 2,500 miles, but also to ride raising awareness for the American Legion, specifically the American Legion Legacy Scholarship,” Miller said. “Funding is probably secondary on this, but really raising awareness, any time that we can pair up with someone with notoriety such as William Shatner, obviously it’s going to raise awareness to what the American Legion is, what we do and again, specifically the American Legion Legacy Scholarship.”
The ride featured many veterans, including Debbie Bickel, of Auburn, Indiana, who is also a two-Blue Star mom of a U.S. Marine and a U.S. Army soldier. Her husband, father, father-in-law, both grandfathers and a cousin have served in the U.S. military, which is why the Legacy Scholarship cause is close to her heart.
“(The Legacy Scholarship) has helped kids to continue their education, to continue their dreams to achieve their goals,” Bickel said. “Being a veteran myself, I come from a long history of a military family. … It’s my way of giving back to the veterans who need our help.”
Following lunch, Shatner spoke with Nichols and Klein at his table and asked the restaurateurs how they went about starting their business, and shared some of his experiences starting his motorcycle company.
“We’ve already had one big setback,” Shatner said.
Shatner asked Nichols if she could offer him any advice about starting a new business. The Mason Jar will celebrate its one-year anniversary July 2.
“Never give up,” she said. “Keep it going even if things seem bad.”
As the luncheon winded down, Sedalia Mayor Steve Galliher presented Shatner with a city proclamation in front of the Mason Jar declaring June 24, 2015, as “William Shatner Day” in Sedalia. The motorcycle brigade then left Sedalia for their next stop at Whiteman AFB, followed by the final leg of the day’s ride to Kansas City, which they expected to arrive by Wednesday evening.