Pennsylvania Bikers Hold Leadership and Legislative Seminar

More than three hundred motorcyclists from across the state converged on the Holiday Inn in Grantville, PA on January 23 and 24th for the A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania 19th annual Leadership and Legislative Seminar. Representatives from several other state motorcyclists rights groups joined them. The seminar is designed as an educational and motivational gathering to prepare legislatively for the coming year.

Representatives from the American Motorcyclists Association, the countries oldest and largest motorcycling association were in attendance as well as representatives from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation based in Washington, DC. Also the National Coalition of Motorcyclists participated in the weekend activities.

On Friday evening a fundraiser was held to benefit BIKEPAC, the bikers political action committee. Governor Ed Rendell attended the fundraiser and addressed the attendees. The Governor received a standing ovation from the motorcyclists and was thanked for signing Senate Bill 259 in July that returned freedom of choice in the use of motorcycle helmets to adult, experienced riders. Also in attendance at the fundraiser was Representative Teresa Forcier. Representative Forcier has been the leading advocate for modification of the states helmet law in the House of Representatives for more than a decade.

On Saturday the bikers heard from a number of speakers, which included Representative Jennifer Mann, Sean Maher of the AMA, Tom Wyld of the MRF, and Bill Bish of NCOM.

A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania extended an invitation to all past state coordinators to join them at this years banquet. In attendance were four of our previous state coordinators: Tony Bonacci, Bill McElyea, Bob Derendinger and Dan Faingnaert and our present state coordinator John Coker Richmond.

On Saturday evening at the annual awards banquet the following members of A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania were honored:

Richard Gray, Chairman of the Board of the American Motorcyclist Association presented A.B.A.T.E. lobbyist Charles Umbenhauer with the Motorcycling Advocate Award. This is a newly created award, which is presented by the AMA to a member of the motorcycling community to recognize their outstanding effort to pursue, promote and protect the future of motorcycling through legislative and regulatory advocacy.

The Presidents Award is given to a member who has demonstrated a timeless devotion to the goals and visions of the ABATE organization. The 2003 award was presented to Kevin Trapper Browne, a Harrisburg radio DJ and member of the Blue Mountain Chapter.

Senator John Wozniak and Representative Teresa Forcier were both presented with the Freedom Fighter Award. This award goes to ABATE members who have demonstrated initiative, competency and effectiveness in the area of legislation.

Two ABATE District Representatives were recognized with the Leadership Award, Mike Rizzo of Beaver County Chapter and John Steiner of Westmoreland County Chapter. This award is presented to those who have demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities when confronted with formidable challenges.

The Safety and Awareness Award, given to a member who makes a commitment and demonstrates excellence and leadership in the field of motorcycle safety was awarded to Hal Hallock of Central Counties Chapter. Hal is a presenter of Operation Save A Life, a program that promotes motorcycle awareness to high school students and the motoring public.

The 2003 Golden Quill Award presented to a member who has demonstrated excellence and leadership in the field of communications was presented to Jayne Challinor of Indiana County Chapter. Jayne is the Webmaster for the ABATE homepage and also is the Communications Director for the organization.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to members for personal sacrifice, initiative and dedication to ABATE of PA and the motorcycling community. The award was bestowed upon Debbie Inghram of the Greene County Chapter for her continued efforts as a chapter and district officer.

Also recognized was Phil Sciarra of the Philadelphia Chapter for his many years of involvement in community projects and Milt and Nancy Hunt of the Erie County Chapter. Milt and Nancy were also recognized by Representative Teresa Forcier who presented them with a House Citation for their more than 50 combined years of motorcycle rights activism.

Battlefield Harley Davidson was recognized with the Dealers Award. The award was presented in recognition of the dealerships involvement the past two years with the Ride to Gettysburg sponsored by A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania and Representative Harry Readshaw. The ride raises funds for the preservation of the monuments on the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Author Notes:

Mike Wozniak contributes and publishes news editorial to  A buyers guide to all types of motorcycle helmets plus shields, goggles, custom and wired radio helmets.

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