Motorcycle Clubs and Groups

Gardner Lions Pride Riders Motorcycle Club

Written by  May 31, 2005

The stigma associated with people who ride motorcycles isn’t what it used to be—it’s better! So much better, in fact, that Gardner Mayor Carol Lehman welcomed a recently formed motorcycle club during an official swearing-in ceremony on May 21 in the commons at Wheatridge Middle School.

“I look around and see so many people who are already involved in the community,” she said prior to the start of the ceremony. “The Gardner Lions have done so much for this community. It’s so good to see them form this motorcycle club.”

And with that, the official “biker dinner” to charter the Gardner Lions Pride Riders Motorcycle Club by Lions Club International was underway.

“I think this is really a good thing for Gardner,” Lehman had said earlier. “It’s good to see so many people wanting to get involved and to give back to the community. This is really a great time to be living in Gardner.”

Gardner Lions Club members Ray Hess and Ves Pennington served as the guiding Lions to help form the new club. It is the second club the Gardner Lions has helped form in the past two years. Hess helped start the Spring Hill Lions Club.

More than 100 people, many of them representing Lions Clubs throughout the area and state, were on-hand for the ceremony and “biker” meal that consisted of barbecue beef and pork, baked beans, slaw, potato salad and plenty of desserts. There also were chips, dips, cheeses, veggie plates, corn casserole and rice casserole. In large ice-filled coolers were drinks: soda and bottled water.

“This is a heck of a deal for seven bucks,” said Charles Mason, Gardner, a member of the Pride Riders. “I’ve been waiting for this all day! This barbecue sauce has a bit of a kick!”

Biker decorations were on the tables, and the band, Ordinary Men, provided music throughout the night.

Gene Vogel, Tonganoxie, a member of the Turner Lions Club, was the guest speaker. He was elected to serve a two-year term as a director of the International Association of Lions Clubs during the association’s 80th International Convention in 1997. He has held many offices within the Lions Club, and has received several awards for his work and leadership, including the 100 percent Club President Award, the 100 percent District Governor Award, , six International President’s Awards, and an Ambassador of Goodwill Award, the highest honor granted by the association to its members.

He talked about the history of the Lions Club since its first convention in Dallas in 1917.
“There were 23 clubs there,” he said. “From there it grew into the world’s largest civic organization. We have 1,347,214 members. That’s 46,020 clubs in 193 countries all over the world.

“When the first clubs were formed, the country was involved in World War I, and the effort was to sell Liberty Bonds to help the troops overseas.” Since then, the focus of the Lions has changed to helping people, particularly children, he said.

Vogel is currently serving on the USA/Canada Lions leadership Forum Planning Committee, is the director of the Kansas Lions Sight Foundation and National/Multi-National Coordinator for Campaign SightFirst II.

“We’ve raised $147 million to help people get their eyesight restored or loss of sight prevented,” he said. “That breaks down to about $6 a person. He said the Lions Club currently is working with relief efforts for the victims of last year’s devastating tsunami. He challenged the members of the Pride Riders to continue serving those who are less fortunate.

Then he and District Governor Rudy Pouch, began the installation of officers and board members. Gil Dishman is the President. Russ Wilkerson, Gene Martin, and Charlie Mason are the first, second and third Vice Presidents, Renee Callahan is Secretary, and Dana DeWitte is treasurer. Danny DeWitte is the Lion Tamer. Rick “Hollywood” Stallsworth is the Tail Twister. Dishman also is serving as the club’s Membership Chair. Board members are Andrew "Andy" Musto, Wally Borth and James "Captain" Moore. The club came into the dinner with 35 members, and added one more the night of the dinner.

The members include Wally Borth, Dawn Borth, Darrel Bailey, Paula Bailey, Tony Bailey, Patty “Chiclet” Bulva, Sean “Cooter” Bulva, Renee Callahan, Joe Currier, Dana DeWitte, Danny DeWitte, Gil Dishman, Satana Fisher, Teri Hodges, Robert Hult, Ronnie “Meatloaf” Johnson, Chuck “Writeman” Kurtz, Steve Larrick, Kenneth “Gene” Martin, Charlie Mason, Scott “Scooter” McDaniel, Charles Meeks, John Melvin, Cindi Messer, Jack Messer, Denise Moore, James “Captain” Moore, Andrew “Andy” Musto, James L. Poss, Dennis Rider, Rick “Hollywood” Stallsworth, Russ Wilkerson, Charles “Chuck” Tapp, and Sharon “Sid” Tapp.

Sharon Tapp was killed in a motorcycle accident the first Sunday in April and her charter membership pin was given to her daughter Jennifer, 15, by Chuck Tapp during the ceremony.

After the installation, all the initial members of the Pride Riders signed the official charter. Lions Clubs represented at the dinner were from Burlington, Turner, Scranton, Lyndon, Louisburg, Lawrence, Eudora, Shawnee, Highland, Lansing, Overland Park Noon, Prairie Village, Lenexa, Gardner, Spring Hill, Independence, Wichita, Holton, Olathe, Leawood and Pittsburg.

Story and photos by Chuck Kurtz