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Info - Safety - MAP Reports

Meeting of the Minds 2017

As I arrived to the hotel Doubletree in Williamsburg, VA with Jim Butsback, Mike Infanzon, and Mary K. Donnay. I was greeted by Anissa Thorpe- Huntington (Dragonfly) and Darron Lee Radar Huntington (Radar).

After checking in I headed over to the Hospitality Suite which was hosted by Virginia Bikers Association & Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists. It was great seeing so many familiar faces from last years conference. Kind of makes you feel at peace. Shortly after arriving it was time to gather in the Auditorium for Meet the Board/Meet the States @ 7:00. After introducing the MRF Board. The States each got up and announced what they have accomplished in the last year. The Bills that had been passed and bills still waiting. They also announced their agendas. It was very informational.

Friday morning started at 9:00am with a General Session, Where they had Presentation of the Colors. It was a Beautiful ceremony and I'm so glad that I was able to be there for it. They then gave the MRF Financial Report with Frank Carbone - MRF Treasurer. MRF Legislative Update with Megan Ekstrom - MRF VP of Government Affairs. Her main topics were Motorcycle Profiling, AutoCycles - (Make sure our State knows Federal Government wants them seperated from Motorcycle Statistics). The RPM Act - (Clarifies that modifying Motorcycles is okay obstacle need Senate Demo to support it. Ethanol - 17 bills introduced not sure if they will go anywhere. Keep pressure on EPA... Motorcyclist Advisory Council - (Make sure MAC are on the council). 1 seat AMA belongs to Mike Sayer. Need as many Bikers to join and come to hearing in Washington DC. Driverless Cars - (Requirement that they can identify a motorcycle) DOT updated guidance (make sure to send letters). Senate Motorcycle Caucus - (Make sure we get Senate to join). Her closing comment.


Then the Presentation of Federal & State Legislative Awards were given with Arizona receiving 2. 1 for SUSTAINING MOTORCYCLE CLUBS WITH THE MRF MEMBERSHIP. And for SB1082 MOTORCYCLE SAFETY FUND.

Presentation of the Young Activist Scholarship. Presentation of MRF Champions & PAC Awards "Fact or Fiction".

Then off to my first Breakout Session: ABATE of Wisconsin's Membership Retention Program: How to keep them from riding away with Marlene Bautch. Very informational session. To keep more members you have to Understand all members (We have to make it a PRIORITY to respect the members at all levels of involvement). A strong Membership is a DIVERSE membership. She says there are Six levels of Membership - 1. Mailboxers, 2. Relevant Participants, 3. Status Conscious, 4. Shapers, 5. The Thinker, 6. Genetics. When getting new members mentor them make them feel as they belong. Being a new member ABATE can be pretty confusing, Making them feel welcome. Inclusion * Always remember that ABATE Members are a DIVERSE group. * As an officer, to many YOU are the FACE of ABATE What you Say, what you DO reflects their view of ABATE. There was so much information given and taken in that it would take me all day to write.


Then off to my Second Breakout Session: Women in Motorcycling with Sandra Clark. She talked about the History of Women and Motorcycling. The first two Sisters Augusta and Adeline Van Buren,Theresa Wallach, and Bessie Stringfield as the front-runners in what was then, and would be today, considered remarkable riding in some circles. They was not recognized by the AMA until long after they passed away in 2002 The 100th Anniversary gathering, the AMA/FMA motorcycle club did meet and gather in 2016. They were the 2nd and 3rd females to have been recorded on a Transcontinental motorcycle ride. With 5500 miles in 60 days. Avis and Effie Hotchkiss were 1st with 9000 miles from NY to CA and back in 5 months. Then there is Theresa Wallach - Adventure motorcyclist, author and mechanic. Puts a highlight on lady motorcyclists - still helps in image and rights. Women's International Motorcycle Association - not rights oriented, but adventure oriented. And Bessie Stringfield - The "Motorcycle Queen of Miami", First recorded African-American woman to ride across America. Same initiative as the Van Buren Sisters - woman riding in war. Success - Women in war ere recruited to motorcycle messenger positions for WWII. Started riding Indian Motorcycles at the age of 16 and preformed as a stunt rider. She was confronted not just with prejudices of being a female rider but also for race. Later chose Harleys as her motorcycle of choice. Karen Bolin (RIP) MRF President 2003 - 2006 Appointed to MRF position and served till her health failed and resigned in 2006. She embraced her own local Senator Pam Roach. Senator Roach declared that the 3rd Thursday in January is "BlackThursday" and supports motorcycling and tributes to Karen Bolin and Freedom. Making grass roots friendships and relationships.


Saturday morning 9:00 General Session. State of the MRF Kirk "Hardtail" Willard spoke. Then Presentation of the President's Award. Presentation of the Membership Awards. Presentation of the Deb Butitta Rep of the Year. Congratulations Deb Butitta great job. SMSA: Why Crashes Happen" with Sunshine Beer. Presentation of the Ron Shepard Safety Award.

General Session 2 "Taking a Page from the NRA's Playbook: How to Stand Out in Today's Politics" Dr. Todd Adkins. Presentation of the Ron Shepard Safety Award.

Then off to my Third Breakout Session: "How to Approach Congressional Staffers & Get Your Issues Heard." With Megan Ekstrom. Congressional staffers run the show. They tell their boss how to vote and what they should care about. They are the ones that research, craft and write legislation. We need to leave the right impression that gets our issues moving. How do we do this? Be up front, know the upsides of your ask and any potential downsides. Direct is the way to go. Be considerate, just because our issue is important to us, it's probably not to them. Be considerate of their time. Connect the Impact to their District. Be prepared to give numbers. Be a subject matter expert on your issue. Be honest - even if you don't know the answer. If you mislead the staffer, they may never trust you again. Don't Forget Committee Staffers! Committee Staffers are specialist by nature, whereas staffers in members' offices tend to be generalists. Relevant Committees for Riders - *House *Transportation & Infrastructure (General rider issues, safety issues) *Energy & Commerce (RPM Act, anything with EPA) * Judiciary (Profiling). *Senate *Commerce, Science and Transportation. *Environment & Public Works. *Judiciary. Do's - Email. Set up a meeting, Relax they're people too. Follow up in timely manner. Stay out of the weeds. Ask how you can help the elected official or their staff. Make issue Relevant. Be on time. Connect. Be professional transparent and genuine. Don'ts - Don't try and have protracted discussions about policy. Mix up the staffer or member's political party. Don't continue to call when an email will work, Mention the campaign or donations . Bring up the issue if you meet the Congress/staffer out in public. Drag on and on about your issue. Take an issue to a member's office if they've never supported that issue. Go to a meeting without doing your homework. Wine and dine a staffer to buy his or her time. Refer to the legislator by his or her name. Don't intentionally misled the staffer - explicitly or implicitly. So much helpful information.

Then off to my Fourth Breakout Session: "Understanding Volunteers: How to Keep'em, and When to Send Them Packing." With Marlene Bautch. This was a very short session. Every SMRO relies on volunteers to exist. And getting along with everyone is a key to holding the group together. You have the ones that are there for every meeting, event, fundraiser and willing to go the extra mile to keep things on track and together. Then you have the ones that are there sometimes and want to complain or cause drama in the group. We are a STATE ABATE family and even though we have different chapters throughout the State. We all represent our State as one. Having drama in a group like ABATE does not look good at all. So in closing of this session lets work together as one. Maybe if we can do this we will have better turn outs with Volunteers. Happy Volunteers make a more successful SMRO.

Then of to the KILTS vs BIBS Tug of War. Kilts Win.

I want to thank ABATE of AZ for sending me to the Meetings of the Minds. It has been so inspirational and such a wonderful experience to be able to go to the Meetings of the Minds the past 2 years. And has inspired me even more to continue to fight for Motorcycle rights. And to stay motivated. I have met so many wonderful people and continue to keep in touch with them all. Thank You Again ABATE of AZ for sponsoring me.

Gynni Giebel
ABATE of AZ East Valley Chapter PAC