Rides, Rallies and Events Recap


Freedom of Road Riders, Inc. (FORR) is Missouri’s largest motorcycle rights organization, whose main purpose is to guard the rights of all motorcyclists; to keep you informed of laws that will help or hinder you as motorcyclists; and to promote safety, brotherhood and freedom for all motorcyclists.

FORR is not a club, but rather a not-for-profit organization made up of motorcyclists from all walks of life, who ride all types of motorcycles and with all sorts of interests. It doesn’t matter if your interests are centered on legislative activities, motorcycle shows, charity events, or motorcycle rallies; FORR has something for you.

Since its inception in 1981, FORR has had an impact on motorcycling in Missouri, and works in all areas of motorcycle rights and freedoms, and endeavor to pursue such rights as Equal Access to Riders, Anti-Health/Insurance Discrimination, Pro-Rider & Driver Safety Training, just to name a few.

Other issues FORR is involved in includes the creation of a State Safety Program with FORR training sites and instructors to help reduce motorcycle accidents, the revision of Missouri’s helmet law and to remove the serious penalties and make them comparable to seat-belt laws, to repeal Missouri’s helmet law, and to educate our legislators on other issues pertaining to motorcyclists’ rights.

You may ask yourself, “Why do we need a motorcyclists’ rights organization?” If you are aware of the effect government regulations have on our daily lives, and the recent trends of the Federal government to turn responsibility for regulation over to the States, I’m sure you see the need to have someone to represent you and to make an impact on Missouri’s legislative process to protect our rights as motorcyclists.

Some of the recent actions the State and local governments have taken that infringe on our rights as motorcyclists include requiring personal injury protection insurance coverage for motorcyclists only, banning all motorcycles from selected streets and roads, outlawing certain types of motorcycles completely, and an attempt to create a “Global” standard for motorcycle manufacturers, which could outlaw any attempts to customize your motorcycle. There is also a push for insurance regulations that allow discrimination against motorcyclists’ health coverage, liability, and uninsured/underinsured motorists.

If you are a motorcyclist, the above issues could have a direct impact on your freedom to ride, either today, tomorrow, or in the near future. One of the best ways to help protect your rights as a motorcyclist is to join FORR.

As a member, you will receive FORR’s monthly publication, The Freedom Press, and will have access to information regarding motorcycle safety, pending legislation and a role in making a change in the way the public and our legislators view motorcyclists. It is also comforting to know that you are represented by a legislative staff that is known in the State Capitol, and stays informed about all activities that may impact motorcyclists throughout the State.

Along with the legislative backing you will receive as a member, by attending your Local’s meeting, you will meet new friends and riding buddies with interests similar to your own, who also chose to become personally involved in insuring the future of motorcycling.

For more information about FORR and to find a Local near you, visit www.forr.net today. You’ll be glad you did.

By Mike Schweder

February 28, 2005

Ararat Cycles Shrine Club

While gathering information for my June, 2004 article about the Ararat Motor Corps motorcycle drill team, I learned that the Shrine also includes a motorcycle club called Ararat Cycles. One of the club members, Ben Kenney, provided me with information about the group.

CC: Who are the present officers?
Ben: Ron Facklam is President, William Boynton is Vice President, Paul Brewer is Secretary, and Dan Gilliam is Membership Chairman.

CC: When and where are club meetings held?
Ben: Meetings are on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Ararat Shrine Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

CC: Ben, do you hold an office within the Shrine or the Ararat Cycles Club?
Ben: I presently am a member of the Divan, which is our Board of Directors for Ararat Shrine. I became involved with the reorganization of the Ararat Cycles to help gain additional membership.

CC: When was the Cycles club formed?
Ben: Ararat Cycles had previously been one of our uniformed units, comprised of members who all purchased maroon Harley-Davidson 883 Sportsters. Prior to that, Ararat Cycles originally started in the late 1960s riding the famed Cushman Eagles. The Cushman Eagles had previously been a part of the Ararat Provost, whose job was to assist in police and security functions for Ararat Shrine. This changed over the years as the Cushmans became harder to acquire and service, and the cycles changed to Kawasakis. In the late 1990s, the Harley Sportsters replaced the Kawi’s.

In January 2004, Ararat Cycles again changed to an open class of motorcycle. We found that a number of current Shriners and new Shrine candidates already owned motorcycles, and it was a great way for the club to grow with a variety of cycles represented. We even have a custom trike with a Volkswagen power train.

CC: How many current members are there?
Ben: We have 40 members at present.

CC: What requirements are there for membership?
Ben: All members must be Shrine Masons in good standing, and have a motorcycle with at least 500 ccs.

CC: Do you have any restrictions as to make of motorcycle?
Ben: No, the majority of our club rides Harleys, but we are also represented by Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and the Volkswagen trike.

CC: How does your club participate in the charitable activities of the Shrine?
Ben: As with all of our Ararat Shrine units and clubs, we support our 22 Burn and Orthopedic Shriner Hospitals around North America, which provide and specialize in free health care for any patient 18 years and younger. The Ararat Shrine presently sponsors 2,600 active patients. This includes one of our most recent, a severely burned young patient that was admitted to our Galveston, Texas hospital within a few hours after being stabilized for the flight. We have various events during the year to raise funds to support our club and Ararat Shrine in general operating funds.

CC: Does the club sponsor or attend events as a group? If so, what events?
Ben: We are most noted for our Shrine Parades that we do in support of area communities who have special celebrations that include parades. On occasion, we are asked to assist with other Ararat Motor groups in the community. We just recently assisted in escorting the homecoming celebration for our local Missouri National Guard returning from Iraq. A number of our members are military veterans and we all feel the pride in celebrating our Armed Forces. We have also been asked to participate in a Mass Motor Escort for the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall that will be here this June, and displayed for all to see.

CC: Do you have group rides or road trips? If so, what are favorite destinations?
Ben: Each month we have a Sunday group ride for all to enjoy that is pre-planned for a day’s journey. We have enjoyed a number of rides to Leavenworth and Lawrence, Kansas; Weston, Missouri; and the East run along the Lewis and Clark Trail heading down by Orrick, Missouri and up to Excelsior Springs.

During the riding season, Friday evenings we enjoy getting together at F.O.G. Cycles, where Frank Hicks, also a Shriner, has fun for all of us to enjoy.

CC: Thanks for the information, Ben.

I mentioned in my article on the Ararat Motor Corps, that the Shriners are a very special organization to me. When she was two years old, my grandniece, Heather, was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, the Shriners paid for all of the required hospital care, medicine and even her parents’ travel costs from north central Kansas to St. Louis. To inquire about free medical assistance for children, call 1-800-237-5055 or the Ararat Shrine Hospital Committee at 816-923-1319. For more information or to join Shrine of North America or Kansas City’s Ararat Shrine, view their web sites.

By Stripe

Photo courtesy of Ararat Cycles.

One would expect a club with M/C in its name to be motorcycle-centered. There is no doubt that the members of this club love motorcycling, but the heart of this group is their shared love of Jesus and their desire to minister and witness to others. The Cycle Disciples M/C Kansas City Chapter started as part of the St. Joseph, Missouri Chapter and began independent operation on March 21, 2001. Since October 26, 2001, the chapter has been incorporated in Missouri as a not-for-profit corporation.

Nationally, the Cycle Disciples club began informally in Whittier, California, in 1993 and was officially formed in Kingman, Arizona, in 1999. Those who founded the organization had the intent of forming an independent club for Christian motorcyclists to facilitate riding and ministering to the motorcycling community on a one-on-one basis. They recognize that the motorcycling public has become highly diverse, ranging from “lifestyle” bikers to “recreational” bikers to “RUBs.” They assert that all are in need of salvation.

The Kansas City Chapter has grown from five charter members to fifteen members counting prospects. Teddy Bittner, a.k.a. The Colonel, was the original chapter president and still holds that office. When I asked Teddy about chapter rides he replied, “Popular destinations include Lambert's in Springfield, Missouri, Freedom Fest (Skidmore, Missouri in September) and of course, Sturgis for the Black Hills rally - in particular, in support of the Jackpine Gypsy National Tour to Devil's Tower. Otherwise, destinations vary. The only 'mandatory' events we have are support for the City Union Mission, because it takes all of us to make it happen, and our annual 'Patch Day Party’ on the Fourth of July. The Patch Day Party is actually a family picnic as opposed to a run.”

Knowing that the Cycle Disciples are instrumental in putting on the annual Bikers with a Mission (BWAM) Ride to benefit Kansas City’s City Union Mission, I asked Teddy for his comments about that event and the group’s other charitable interests. “We assumed responsibility for BWAM beginning last year. It is a great honor to be involved in this event, which is in its 16th year and does so much to help the homeless in Kansas City. But there are many other individuals and organizations that help make this happen - and it could not be done without them. The BWAM coordinating committee includes a cross section of the overall Kansas City biker community, and they have done a great job for many years. My particular concern is the emerging issue of homeless Iraqi war veterans that have begun to show up around the country. Our club has taken on BWAM as our major contribution to the Kansas City biking community, but we also try to coordinate a Christian fellowship run each year (toward the end of the riding season) as well.

I've already mentioned our support to the Jackpine Gypsies during their National Gypsie Tour at Sturgis (our chapter assumes responsibility to act as road guards for this event each year). Additionally, we conducted a Christian Biker Workshop early in January that will probably become an annual event, and may be expanded to include other venues and additional topics. Finally, we conduct weekly Bible studies at our clubhouse that are open to anyone that would like to attend. More information is available on that at our web site.”

The club is independent, not affiliated with any church or denomination. There is no racial bias nor is there a preference for any particular make of motorcycle. Members are required to be born-again believers in Jesus Christ, maintain membership in a local church, and have a calling to minister, share, and serve. Increasing membership is not a high priority with this group. They are very particular about those they invite to “prospect” and are aware that one “bad apple” could ruin the outstanding reputation that the Cycle Disciples have worked hard to earn and could compromise their witness. The right to wear the club’s patch must be earned, usually over a period of 6-12 months.

I asked Teddy how prospects prove themselves and whether or not they had full members as sponsors. He replied, “Prospects are expected to demonstrate a degree of maturity, the ability to handle a motorcycle in various conditions, the ability to get along with others under a variety of circumstances, a basic knowledge of the Bible and spiritual maturity. There is no set time limit for how long a prospect takes to make full member. Presently, we do not use sponsors for prospects.”

On the first Thursday of each month the Cycle Disciples hold a business meeting, a portion of which is dedicated to dealing with issues specific to the members and is “closed.” Otherwise, visitors are welcome to attend. On all other Thursdays, the club meets for Bible study and prayer. The clubhouse is located at the corner of 159th and Kensington in Kansas City, Missouri, at the former Richards-Gebaur Airport. More information about Cycle Disciples is available on their web site.

By Stripe

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), with more than 265,000 members, has an unparalleled history of pursuing, protecting and promoting the interests of the world's largest and most dedicated group of motorcycle enthusiasts. The AMA was founded in 1924, and exists to further the interests of American motorcyclists, while serving the needs of its members.
The AMA is the premier defender of motorcyclists’ rights in the United States. The work of the AMA Government Relations Department extends beyond AMA members to all motorcyclists. Staff members seek out bad laws and anti-motorcycling discrimination at the local, state, federal and corporate level. When critical issues and problems arise, education, common sense, political clout, and when necessary, compromise is used to make changes beneficial to all riders; even those who aren't AMA members.
The AMA is also the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body. Its AMA Pro Racing division oversees more than 80 national-level racing events all over the United States, from the high banks of Daytona and the high jumps of Supercross, to the shoulder-to-shoulder dirt-track racing and explosive action of hillclimbs. The AMA’s Member Events & Entertainment Department coordinates thousands of amateur races with dozens of competition classes for everyone from grade-school kids to senior riders.
In addition, the AMA is the sole American affiliate of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the international governing body for motorcycle sport and touring activity.
Since its founding, the AMA has relied on its chartered clubs and promoters to help advance the goals and protect the interests of motorcyclists. Today, there are more than 1,200 chartered clubs and promoters organizing over 3,700 road-riding and competition events each year.
The AMA also publishes American Motorcyclist magazine, covering every facet of motorcycling. In addition to the people, places and events that make up the American motorcycling experience, the magazine offers in-depth stories on the legislative issues that affect everyone who rides.
AMA members enjoy dozens of benefits, including discounts on specialized insurance, vehicle rental, lodging, motorcycle training, eyewear and bike shipping. Those discounts, and optional benefits, like roadside assistance and trip-routing programs, can easily pay back more than the $39 cost of annual dues.
The AMA’s headquarters in Pickerington, Ohio, is also home to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, where visitors can see a collection of vintage bikes and informative displays showcasing the beautiful designs and remarkable technologies that have placed motorcycles at the leading edge of the transportation industry.

If you are not already a member, sign up today and help support those who are fighting to protect your rights as motorcycle enthusiasts.

By Mike Schweder

On Saturday, November 13, the Khrome Cowgirls of Kansas City Chapter of Women in the Wind (WITW) celebrated their 1st birthday party at Drafters Bar & Grill in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Since this year also happens to mark the 25th Anniversary of the National Organization of WITW, there was even more reason to party (like these women really need a reason)!

Margaret and I arrived about 6:30 p.m., and as we approached the entrance to the bar, we were pleasantly surprised (but not shocked) to see that our friend, Lisa Brenek, one of the original founders and former President of the Khrome Cowgirls was standing on the sidewalk next to the front door talking with Gail Worth.

After a couple good hugs, Lisa told us she had driven straight through fromTexas to be there tonight, and wouldn’t have missed it for the world. She told us she was so proud of her girls, and how well they’d managed to keep everyone together and continue to grow the organization after she had moved to Texas to be with her mother, who needed help dealing with some health issues. It was so good to see her again and to find out that she was doing well and enjoying her new career as the Service Manager at Bell County Harley-Davidson in Temple, Texas.

Upon entering the bar, the first thing you seen was a gorgeous quilt that was made by sewing together the backs of several local motorcycle businesses' t-shirts, including Cycle Connections. As it turns out, Debbi Allen a.k.a. Little Toto, the club’s Newsletter Editor/Photographer/Web Mistress, had made the quilt herself and the club was auctioning it off that night. There was a table set up next to the front door where you could buy raffle tickets for the quilt for $5 each. We bought a couple tickets and went on in the bar to see what was going on.

We ran into Margaret’s cousin, Rosie, who is the club’s Activities Director and also met several members of the Leather Angels Chapter of WITW who had came all the way from Bartlesville, Oklahoma to help celebrate the Khrome Cowgirl’s 1st birthday party. What a group!

Lindsay welcomed everyone to the party, and herself, Lisa, and several of the Khrome Cowgirl officers spoke and made announcements. Following the announcement, there was a brief awards ceremony in which Russ, the owner of Drafter, Gail Worth, of Gail’s Harley-Davidson, and I, representing Cycle Connections received Certification of Appreciation awards for our donations and support to the Khrome Cowgirl’s for their first year.

After the awards were handed out, we got all of the Khrome Cowgirls and Leather Angels together on the dance floor for a group shot. At that time I also found out that just that night, five new members had signed up, bringing the total number of Khrome Cowgirl members to 75. I was also informed that the Khrome Cowgirls is the largest WITW chapter in the entire organization! Yahoo!

Following the group photo, John Paul & The Hellhounds took the stage and soon had everyone rocking to some great blues. John can play one mean harmonica! I also ran into Tom Talley, owner of Hawg Wyld Cycles in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and several of his crew, who were there having a great time. Stripe also showed up and was snapping off a few photos for our magazine. After a couple more drinks, we said our goodbyes and headed for the car.

As I’ve gotten to know more and more members of this wonderful organization, I can honestly tell you this group has more fun and camaraderie than any other organization I have ever seen. These gals do some serious riding and they really know how to have fun!

Just take a look at their web site at www.khromecowgirls.org and you’ll see how active their organization is. If there’s a ride, rally or event going on anywhere within riding distance of Kansas City, you can rest assured that someone from the Khrome Cowgirls with be there representing their group.

I found out from Debbi a few days later that Dolly Owens, the club Treasurer had won the quilt and Valerie L had won the door prize. I told Debbi that since one of the officers had won the quilt and I didn’t, I thought the raffle drawing was rigged!

On behalf of Cycle Connections Online Motorcycle Magazine, I want to congratulate the Khrome Cowgirls on their 1st birthday and best wishes for many more. I also want to thank them for the Certification of Appreciation award and to let them know how much we appreciate them for everything the do for the entire motorcycle community.

Story by Mike Schweder

Photos by Mike Schweder, Margaret Liggett
and Stripe

October 31, 2004

KC's Most Wanted

New Page 1

I met Mike Hysom at the Soul
Brothers drags fourth of July weekend at KCIR. Mike is the Team Manager and one
of the performers with the
Kansas City
based stunt team, KC’s Most Wanted.


I was standing out in the
middle of the drag strip when all of a sudden these sport bikes start doing all
these amazing tricks around me. Not knowing what was going on, I just started
shooting photos thinking these guys had crashed the drags and were just showing
off. After taking some photos and noticing that no one was doing anything to get
rid of them, I realized they were part of the show. What a show it was.


Since I’ve never seen a stunt
show like this, I was impressed to just stand in the middle of these guys as
they went up and down the strip pulling all sorts of tricks that would make most
people’s hair stand on end. It was obvious the crowd felt the same way by their
hooting, hollering and gasping at these professional riders. After the show, I
tried to track down Mike and the rest of the crew to find out more about them
and their group.  Unfortunately, with my busy schedule at the magazine, I wasn’t
able to catch up with Mike until this month. So here we go…


CC: How long have you been


Mike: I started riding in March
of ’03. My good friend and teammate, Grant thought I should get a bike, just so
I could hang out with him since most of our friends had bikes. Once I saw what
they were doing I was hooked. I have never really been on a bike before this one
so I was nervous at first. The more I rode, the more I realized that stunt
riding was what I wanted to do. I love it, the sport is still young but KC’s
Most Wanted is going on four years now. I was pretty much a substitute until
June of last year when Eric decided to retire due to a bad crash. I have met a
lot of people along the way, most of which I would have never met without my
bike and what we do. There has been a lot of people that have stood out too,
Grant, Greg, and Johnny, my teammates, taught me a lot of what I know today on
how to ride.


CC:  Who else has helped KC’s
Most Wanted along the way?


Mike: Steve Smithers of
Smithers Customs

www.smitherscustoms.com has been a great sponsor for our team, he has
provided me a bike when mine was blown up, a place to work on our bikes, all
kinds of new parts, high performance, drag racing, and he can do everything
in-house. Steve is a great guy and has an outstanding sport bike shop. Also Dan
Jackson with Team XMX

www.teamxmx.com has helped our team out with booking shows, promotions and
possible DVD hopefully by mid 2005. And I can’t forget Brad Peterson of OZ Cycle

www.ozcyclesalvage.com who has been a big help with used parts. Brad is
another great person and has about every used part in his yard. If he doesn’t
have it there he can find it for you. Oz can also get new parts and accessories
for just about anything bike related.


CC: How many bikes do you
currently own? 


Mike: Two, a ’93 Honda CBR
900RR (stunt model), and ’03 Honda XR 50


CC: What is the year, make, and
model of your current 'primary' bike? 


Mike: A ’93 Honda CBR 900RR


CC: What do you like most about
your current 'primary' bike?  


Mike: Well, it looks like crap
but runs awesome, and I can do anything I want to do on it. If I wreck, I just
pick it back up and try again; if something brakes, I just fix it. If I get
hurt, I just get back on and ride it off.


CC: What is your dream bike?


Mike: A 2004 Kawasaki 636 or a
2004 GSXR 600. They are very well balanced, a solid front end on both, fuel
injection (runs at 12 o’clock), and good brake and throttle response.


CC: What is your most memorable
riding experience? 


Mike: The Stunt Life Freestyle
Shootout competition in
It was my first completion ever, I was nervous, and had to show everything I had
in three minutes. I qualified 6th, but didn’t make it to finals. The
experience was great and I can’t wait to compete in 2005.


CC: Which motorcycle rallies &
events have you attended? And which is your favorite?


Mike: Bikers for Babies, Rolla
Rally, Miller Lite Bike give away, Soul Brothers Bike drags, Star Boyz Stunt
fest, Stunt Life Freestyle Shootout, Street Fighterz Ride of the Century, and
Circle the City. I would say Circle the City was my favorite, as it was here in


CC: Do you prefer riding in a
group or by yourself?


Mike: I prefer riding with my
team at our spot. We motivate each other and ride well together.


CC: Who are some of your
closest riding buddies?


Mike: Grant Sunday, Greg
Sunday, Johnny Seals, Aaron Cline, Dan Jackson, Jeff Schneider and Matt


CC: Just for fun, which of your
riding buddies is the best rider? 


Mike: I would say Grant or Dan.
They have both competed on a national level and in 2003 Grant took 4th
and Dan was national champion.


CC: Other facts or topics of
interests you would like to share with your fellow riders:


Mike: I have always looked up
to Kevin Marino of the Star Boyz.  He and the Star Boyz pretty much started it
all for stunt riding and it was cool to meet someone as well known as him. I
also love to perform in front of a crowd, most people have never seen anything
like this, and they go crazy when they finally do.


Everyone be sure to check out
the upcoming 2005 schedule on

www.kcsmostwanted.com and definitely make it out to see us at one of our
shows.  This year has been an excellent year for us, all thanks to our fans and
sponsors that have supported us throughout the year.  We look forward to 2005
being an even better year.



All I can say is if you haven’t
seen these guys perform, you are missing out on one hell of a show. Aside from
being at the top of their game, they are all very approachable and well liked
performers who love to ride, and have no fear when it comes to showing off their
skills as riders. I will be following them closely in the upcoming year and you
can bet your life that I’ll be taking more photos of these talented showmen.


Note: The photos below are from
the Soul Brothers Drags back in July of 2004 and some are from the Bikers for
Babies Charity Ride in September 2004 and feature additional stunt riders like
Jeff Schneider.
Review by Wayne Thompson

Photos by Wayne Thompson and Stripe

The Circle of Pride Motorcycle Club (MC) originated in the basement of the Rajun Cajun strip club in Muscatine, Iowa, in the fall of 1990. As “Possum” enjoyed the ambience of the club and swapped stories with a few biker friends, he hatched the idea of forming a motorcycle club. The group agreed on a set of rules and by-laws, and the Circle of Pride MC was born. The club is dedicated to sharing the freedom of the road and the biker lifestyle. They uphold the ideals of brotherhood, trust, and American pride. The organization is charitable and raises funds for a number of worthy causes.

The home of the Circle of Pride’s only chapter is a rural patch of land in southeastern Iowa between the small towns of Conesville and Columbus Junction. Monthly club meetings are held there. The group has constructed a 1/8-mile drag strip and a rodeo arena on the grounds and now hosts two of the area’s biggest events. The Hog Wild Rodeo is a spring event, and the Thunder in the Sand rally takes place on Labor Day weekend every year. Each is attended by about 10,000 people. Both rallies feature terrific music and other entertainment. Admission is restricted to adults only, so bikers can feel free to party with few inhibitions.

The Circle of Pride MC is active in the Iowa Confederation of Clubs and promotes brotherhood among all bikers regardless of the make or condition of their motorcycles. The club’s property is considered neutral territory. In order to join, a prospective member must have been known by a sponsoring active member for at least a year. After a probationary period, a new member receives his or her colors. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a couple. There is at least one mandatory run each year. The most recent was a ride to ABATE’s State Line Rally at Keosauqua, Iowa. For more information about the Circle of Pride, view their web site.

The club was stunned by the sudden passing of one of its most active and beloved members on July 6, 2004. Jeffrey Paetz, known as “Oz”, died of a massive heart attack at the age of 36. This year’s Thunder in the Sand rally was dedicated to his memory. A small chopper motorcycle was raffled off, and the proceeds were donated to Oz’s family. He had been a member of the Circle of Pride for two and a half years and served as coordinator and webmaster. Oz, an Army veteran who served during Operation Desert Storm, is survived by Debbie, whom he married in 1999 and three sons, Derek, Jeff Jr., and Andy. All of us at Cycle Connections extend our sympathy.

Story and photos by Stripe

People ride for different reasons. People ride different makes of machines. Some want to wear helmets, some don’t. There are riders who like protective gear with armor. Others like the feel of jeans and leather.

And when motorcyclists are on the road during the heat of the summer, or sitting in their front rooms while their bikes have been put away for the winter, there’s someone watching out for them to make sure their riding choices are not impeded. It’s not an angel, per say, but an ABATE lobbyist.

ABATE? Never heard of it?

Think of it as the ACLU for motorcycle riders. ABATE, pronounced A (long A) BAIT of Kansas Inc., is a motorcycle rights organization that began 29 years ago at Lake Perry in Kansas by a group of motorcyclists who didn’t want government bureaucrats creating legislation that would take away their motorcycle freedoms.

“The original definition of ABATE was A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactment,” Sheri Lesmeister, ABATE’s District 5 Representative, said. “The now, more frequent acronym used is American Bikers Aimed Towards Education.”

ABATE District 5, which covers Johnson, Miami, Linn, and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, is one of 12 districts throughout the state. ABATE has grown from its beginnings at Lake Perry, and is now in approximately 30 states.

“That’s the last I knew,” Lesmeister said. “It could be more, now. We have approximately 400 members in District 5, and when people join ABATE, they have the support of a full-time paid lobbyist, all the people who are active in the organization, and a newsletter every month letting them know what’s going on with legislative information for state and local issues.”

Members also receive information about ABATE events, rallies and runs, a patch, and a $2,000 insurance policy for accidental death and or dismemberment. You can join ABATE for only $20 per person per year. Monies from dues and fund-raising events go towards fighting for the rights of all motorcyclists.

“It’s important that people know we are a motorcycle organization and not a club,” Lesmeister said. “It’s not a Harley group; we represent anyone who rides and it doesn’t matter what they ride. “Raising money is important because you never know when it is going to be needed. Some years there might not be anything going on, but when someone tries to introduce legislation that would take away a rider’s freedoms, the money is there. “It’s difficult to do a spur-of-the-moment fund-raiser when you need the money now.”

Case in point; last year ABATE donated thousands of dollars to fight the Environmental Protection Agency on the behalf of small motorcycle-based businesses, because it was trying to force the California emission controls to be adopted nationwide. While ABATE was not successful in defeating this regulation, they were successful in getting it postponed for additional review in 2006.

“If this new regulation is enacted, it would wipe out a lot of independent shops, like Frank’s (Pedersen, owner of Motorcycle Works in Olathe, Kansas),” Lesmeister said. “It would not have allowed riders to alter their machines, such as putting different pipes on; they could have only purchased items from the dealers where they bought the motorcycles.”

ABATE also has been active in helping prevent the helmet law from being enacted in Kansas, and two years ago helped stop legislation that would have forced motorcycle riders to wear bright orange vests.

“We also pushed to repeal the helmet law in Missouri this past year,” she said. “We’re not against helmets; we support safety. But we are pro-freedom of choice, and that’s the main purpose of ABATE. ABATE prefers to focus on automotive driver awareness and rider education. We believe in avoiding accidents instead of making crashing safer.”

“Legislation comes from all different arenas: insurance companies, or a senator or representative pushing their own agendas, or a mother who has had a son or daughter killed on a motorcycle. It could be many things, and we’re not saying they are all bad. “We are not anti-helmet; we are pro-safety, but we want freedom of choice.” ABATE’s mission is even more important today that it was 29 years ago, Lesmeister said. “Twenty-nine years ago, there weren’t that many people riding,” she said. “Today, there are millions of motorcycles across the United States, and they need to have their rights protected.”

ABATE districts host meetings once a month that are open to the public, and district reps meet with the state board once a month. Each district, as well as the state board, is responsible for its own fund-raisers.

District 5 is currently offering tickets at a suggested donation price of $10 to win a custom chopper built by Motorcycle Works, which will be given away next June during the district’s Down South Country Run at LaCygne, Kansas.

The state’s fund-raising event takes place each Labor Day. It’s a three-day event with bands, vendors, a bike show, games, camping, and plenty of food. “Traditionally, more than 3,000 people show up,” Lesmeister said, “But there are more than 200 acres, so there’s a lot of room for people to spread out so they are not on top of each other.” For members, it’s $20; non-members pay $30.

And where is it?

At Lake Perry, of course, where ABATE originated 29 years ago.

To find out more about ABATE, go to www.abateksdist5.org.

Story and photos by Chuck Kurtz

On Thursday, July 15th, I had a chance to meet with Bravo, President of the Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) Kansas City, Missouri Chapter to find out more about this wonderful organization.

B.A.C.A.’s mission is to create a safer environment for abused children and to help eliminate their fear of further abuse by including the child in their organization. B.A.C.A. members are always at the ready, and their hotline is only a phone call away, which guarantees a quick response to whatever these kids need.

They work close with local and state officials, police, and the Division of Family Services, who are already in place to help children. There is no doubt that when a group of B.A.C.A. members visit a kids home, it sends a clear message to all involved with the abused child that the child is part of their organization and they are prepared to lend their physical and emotional support to the child through affiliation and physical presence.

B.A.C.A. does not condone the use of violence or physical force; however, if they are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, they will do whatever is necessary to protect the child.

According to Bravo, the Kansas City Chapter of B.A.C.A. was founded in June 2003, and is part of a national organization. B.A.C.A. was started in 1995 in Utah, by a licensed child therapist who saw a need for a group like B.A.C.A. to help innocent victims overcome the trauma of what they had been through and to be able to help them face their abuser in court.

After a full year of working hard to maintain the integrity of B.A.C.A. and their mission, the members and supporters of the Kansas City, Missouri Chapter received their full charter. Bravo informed me there are currently more than 50 B.A.C.A. chapters in 18 states, and growing larger every year. The Kansas City, Missouri Chapter currently has 14 patch holders and approximately 15 supporters.

I asked Bravo what the requirements are for joining B.A.C.A. and he said, “There are no dues; just a time commitment. You must have a motorcycle or regular access to one, you must be 21 years of age, and maintain an 80 percent attendance at chapter meetings and rides for the children. You also must ride with the group for at least one year to become a patch holder.” According to Bravo, you can expect to devote at least 10 hours per month to the organization and the kids they help.

I also had the pleasure of meeting GoDog, a very friendly and stocky young man, who has been with the group for over two years. GoDog told me he was almost 20 years old and could hardly wait another year until he was old enough to become a full member. GoDog also informed me that his mother, Pokie, was Vice President of the chapter. Nothing like keeping such a wonderful cause in the family!

I asked Bravo if any of the kids were ever scared or intimidated by his group of bikers, and he said, “On occasion, they are a little intimidated, however, after the second or third visit, they look forward to their visits.” B.A.C.A. members camp out in the child’s yard if needed, and often play games or participate in whatever activity the child wishes.

Although the riding season in Kansas City can be somewhat short, unfortunately, child abuse is a year-round problem. Bravo informed me they recently obtained a 14’ travel trailer to help protect them from the inclement weather while camping out at their kid’s home and to serve as a mobile command post. I’m sure that beats the heck out of camping outside during the winter!

Bravo told me their chapter is currently involved with 12 kids in the Kansas City area, 1 in Lathrop, Missouri, and 2 in Topeka, Kansas. Their chapter covers an area within approximately one hour of Kansas City.

B.A.C.A. is financially supported by gifts from the public, corporations and through donations in exchange for t-shirts, pins and other merchandise. All members are volunteers, with 100 percent of all funds raised going to help the kids. Even if you don’t ride, you can still support B.A.C.A. through your contributions and support, plus, your donations are tax deductible.

If you’d like to contribute some time to help abused children or would like to make a donation, contact Bravo or any B.A.C.A. member by e-mailing them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling them at (913) 481-1032. Also make sure to check out their web site for more information about this incredible organization, whose main goal is to help protect children.

Story by Mike Schweder

Photos by Mike Schweder and Wayne Thompson

The first time I met the Kansas City Chapter of Ruff Ryders, was on Thursday evening, June 24th at a Paddy O’Quigley’s bike night in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
Their club patch is very unique, which made it easy to pick them out of the crowd. Most of the members I met that night rode really nice sport bikes, such as Chapter President, Ray “Sug” Caliman’s beautiful 2001 Yamaha R1. Ray took the time to introduce me to several members and told me a little about their unique organization.
As it turns out, the Ruff Ryders Motorcycle Club is a national organization with over 40 chapters worldwide, and more then 20 chapters here in the United States. He also told me that Chicago has one of the larger chapters, with more than 350 members. Ray started the Kansas City Chapter less than two months ago and already has 13 members and three pledges.
I asked Ray how the Ruff Ryders Motorcycle Club got started, and he said the motorcycle club is actually a spin-off of Ruff Ryders Records, which was founded in 1998 by brothers, Joaquin, Darrin, and Chivon Dean. The New York record label is best-known for launching the careers of artists such as DMX, Eve, and Jin. According to Ray, “the record company started using a lot of bikes in their music videos, and the Ruff Ryders Motorcycle Club evolved from there.”
When asked to explain the purpose of their club, Ray told me their main goal is to promote safe riding, encourage fellowship among riders, raise money to support charitable organizations, portray positive role models and support other riding organizations in the development of motorcycling.
He also said the club will be sponsoring and participating in several upcoming charitable events, such as the Ruff Ryders Relief to Help Battered Women. Ray also said they plan to team up with other local clubs such as the Zodiacs and Midnight Star to help raise money for other worthwhile causes.
I asked Ray how someone would go about joining the club, and he said potential club members must first complete a written application for membership, and if accepted, will become a prospect so the club can evaluate their riding abilities and determine if they are a good fit for their organizations. After 60 days, if everything checks out, the officers can vote them in as a member.
If you would like more information about this wonderful organization, e-mail Ray “Sug” Caliman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kansas City Ruff Ryders Executive Organization:
- Ray “Sug” Caliman, Chapter President
- Rod “G-Mone”, Vice President
- John “Dead Man”, Executive Officer
- Steve B “Ill Will”, Secretary
- James “J-bumper”, Business Manager
- Steve P “Jerzee”, Road Captain
- Sterling “Sterbo”, Sergeant-at-Arms

Story by Mike Schweder

Photos by Mike Schweder and Wayne Thompson