20th Annual Meeting of the Minds

Presented by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.  Hosted by Freedom of the Road Riders, Inc. of Missouri
Louis, Missouri  September 23 – 26, 2004
Vinny Neuman MRF Assistant State Rep for North Carolina

On Tuesday, 9-21-04 I found out that my weekend work schedule changed and I could attend the MOTM.  I left on Wednesday morning, 9-22-04 and rode alone through the flood ravaged towns of western NC and then through Smokey Mountains National Forest.  I then rode through Tennessee, the western part of Kentucky and then through southwestern Missouri to St Louis. Once I arrived, I rode through downtown and visited the Gateway Arch and the riverfront district.  On the way home I took a different route and rode through Cherokee National Forest.  Pictures are on my web site (www.NCRider.com). I rode 1800 miles round trip and did not hit even one drop of rain!  It was an excellent ride.

Nine CBA members from seven different chapters attended this year’s MOTM from North Carolina:

                                                                Cotton Tedder – CBA State President
                                                                Cindy Hodges – MRF State Rep and BOD member
                                                                Deb Knox – State Communications Director
                                                                Boyd Spertzel - Charlotte chapter MSA
                                                                Jim Burns – State Safety Director
                                                                Peggy Burns – State Secretary
                                                                James Buckner – Western District Coordinator
                                                                Crystal Maney – Young Activists Scholarship Award winner. (Buncombe
County CBA)
Vinny Neuman – Assistant State MRF Rep

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The MOTM officially opened Thursday evening in a general session. All MRF board members and conference attendees introduced themselves. Following that, we moved to a discussion about helmet laws and the respective efforts made in the different states.   We talked about PA’s victory and LA’s loss of their freedom.  

Friday, September 24, 2004

General Session :
Riding Through Legislation – Federal legislative update from Jeff Hennie, MRF VP of Government Relations

Government Perspective on the Patriot Act with Matt Lemiuex - ACLU, Tom Novoe – FBI
he next general session was  Patriot Act: What does it mean to bikers?” An open forum of questions were addressed to Matt Leniuex of the ALCU, and Tom Novoe, Supervisory Special Agent of the FBI. Karen Bolin reminded us that,  “The Patriot Act is not a motorcyclist issue, It is an American issue. Before we are bikers, we are Americans!”

The general sessions were recorded by INB and can be heard at http://www.inbradio.com/mrf/motm2004/

Following the Friday morning general session, they announced the winner of the First Annual Young Activists Scholarship Award.  The YASA is an essay contest for bikers’ rights activists under 30 years of age.  The applicants have to write an essay about what our fight is all about and why they are deserving of winning the award.  The award was a fully paid trip to this year’s MOTM ($750 value).  Our own Crystal Maney from Buncombe County CBA won the award and beat out 7 other applicants from around the county.  Crystal was awarded a plaque and her trip to the MOTM was financed by the Young Activists Scholarship fund.

Vinny also received an award for being an outstanding state MRF representative. (NC took home the first two awards at MOTM 2004. )

JD Depaulantonio and Hartail Willard won the President's Award and ABATE of Alaska won awards for their successes.  

Breakout Session I
First Time Attendees - Mark Buckner and Teresa Hepker, MRF Ex-Officio Board Member and MRF Editor
3 Sets of 3 – How to sell anything to anyone. - Carol Simpson, MRF Member Representative Board Member
Justice for All - AMA, NC CBA and Sam was mentioned for our passing of the right-of-way bill
Conflict Resolution - Ken Ray, MRF State Representative to the Board

Breakout Session II
Planning a Trip to DC - Cheryl Pearre, ABATE of IL.
Transportation Research - Steve Zimmer
MRFPAC: An Open Discussion on Federal Political Action Committees - Mike "Boz" Kerr, MRFPAC Director
How to Be Most Effective in Your SMRO - Mark Buckner, MRF Ex-Officio Board Member
MRF Reps Meeting - Tim Nelson, MRF

We discussed issues that affected us, as representatives of the organization, and a brainstorming session on how to expand our numbers. Fast Fred, State Coordinator of ABATE of South Carolina was voted in as a Rep Liaison to the MRF BOD.

MRF PAC Fundraiser – Comedian and magician.   Money was raised for the MRF Federal PAC

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Breakfast Sponsored by Harley-Davidson

General Session:
European State of Motorcycling - Bob Tomlins, FEMA (Federation of European Motorcycle Association), he spoke of the current state of affairs in the European Union and the battles that are constantly being fought overseas.

Kirk ‘Hardtail’ Willard, Vice President of the MRF, finished the later part of the session beginning with an explanation of why we have formed an International Motorcycle Cooperative group, consisting of  FEMA, AMA, MRF, and FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclism).

He went on to discuss what has come out of the “Sound Summit”, the ongoing EPA battles, and ultimately how we will work towards keeping these issues as favorable to our interests as possible.

The Future of Rider Education, featuring: Jay Jackson, MRF Director of Motorcycle Safety
Tim Buche, Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Ron Shepard, National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA) Steve Garets, TEAM Oregon

Complimentary lunch buffet sponsored by the AMA (AMA brought 6 of their top legislative people including Terry Lee Cook and Ed Moreland)

Breakout Session III
Electronic Communications - JD DePaolantonio - Director of Communications (Former Chatham CBA)
Newsletter Publications: Editing and Layout - Teresa Hepker, MRF Reports Editor
Building Political Relationships - Ken Ray and Bob LeTourneau, NH State Representative and MRF member
Speaking in Public - Bill Gillespie, ABATE of Iowa

I left before breakout session IV as I had to work Saturday night. 

Breakout Session IV
Lobbying: Lingo, Lies and Luck - Charles Johnson, ABATE of MI
Holding Successful Meetings - Mark Buckner, MRF Ex-Officio Board Member
SMRO Leadership Meeting - Dave Dwyer, Jeff Hennie, Steve Zimmer, Hardtail
Cocktail Hour and Review of Silent Auction Items
7:00 p.m. until ? – Awards Banquet (Charlotte donated $5,000 to the MRF)



TEA (Transportation Equity Act)

Extensions currently to 1 year past original expiration date. House & Senate passed different versions   Stalled in Conference Com. pending agreement on funding. With focus on elections, most likely no action this session.

HIPPA  (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act) (loophole in the HIPPA)

Separate bills in House and Senate.   HR 1699, has 173 co-sponsors but will have to run through three committees before reaching floor.     S 423 passed com. w/ favorable  recommendation.    Likely to be reintroduced next session due to lack of time.

EPA (Final Rule for Cleaner Highway Motorcycles)

Rule issued. Paper drafted by MRF  “EPA for the Lyman”.  Many questions asked to the EPA but left unanswered. EPA committed to answer the questions addressed in writing. Study undertaken & funded by MRF as to impact rule to have on small business. Paper to be produced, “EPA & How it Effects the Small Business Man“. We are hoping the rule is reevaluated on the small business issue.


Join the MRF today!

         MRF is a national MRO working for the rights of all of America’s motorcyclists. 

         MRF is located in the trenches of Washington, DC.

         MRF is our voice in Washington and lobbies for fair FEDERAL legislation.

         MRF works in conjunction with all State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organizations



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