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Bummer's Monthly Musings

Bummer, who's an ABATE institution, writes one of the most widely read articles in the Outspokin' each month. Now he's also right here on the web! Welcome to the Computer Age, Bummer! ~ Enjoy!

 

 

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Shootin’ the Breeze 

 April 2003 

by Bummer

Email: bummer@abate.com

       

      As I write this, I’ve just returned from our annual seminar.  Saturday night, Steve called a few of us up to the podium to give brief comments on our ABATE experiences, and when I approached the mike, my mind and voice completely left the building.  After babbling something in a voice that sounded like recycled wine washing over gravel, I returned to my table to ask my friends, “What the hell did I just say?” ( Too much cheer Friday night and too little sleep.)

     All in all though, the event went off great!  As usual, our seminar does more than provide everyone with the tools they need to make this very righteous organization function, it also rekindles our fires to keep our enthusiasm for what we do burning.

     This year’s location was fantastic!  I just hope they let us return next year after they had to completely evacuate the hotel due to a smoke alarm mishap. I know the fire department wasn’t amused.  Neither were all the hundred or so “straight” guests standing outside in the cold.  And the noise complaints should be expected, considering who we are.  I also apologized to those church ladies in the swimming pool by the way.

     I was outside during a break catchin’ a smoke with Dan “Wat” Waterfield, one of our former executive directors, an old friend and the winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement award.  As we talked, I remembered that some years ago it was actually discussed at a state board meeting that maybe we shouldn’t have “anatomy” contests at ABATE events, due to the concern that it might offend some people.  At the time, I complained to Dan about it, and he said something that has always stuck with me.

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Bummer's Shootin' the Breeze Page!
 

 

     The region I live in once had a run that traveled close to the Pennsylvania state line.  Due to some easily misunderstood directions, over 100 riders were accidentally touring the keystone state lost, most without a helmet on.  Luckily, nobody got busted, but ABATE’s liability could have been in question.  The guy who made the map resigned his position as Road Captain due to everyone bitchin’ at him.  And I don’t blame him.  Nobody likes to be bitched at.  [Except Haskel.  Bitch at him all ya like!]

     For over 25 years, this organization has taken care of your freedoms.  The people who do all the organizing and planning that goes into it do it for various reasons, the most common one being that they know that if they don’t grab the handlebars and do some fancy ridin’,“Big Brother” will run us off the road.  That’s the only reward they get.  The same one that you and every other biker who values his freedom receives.   

     As we enter a new riding season, the calendar has seemed to fill rapidly.  Most weekends are full of runs and events.  I remember a time when these “Biker” events were few, and usually you had to travel far to get to them.  Now it’s necessary for most communities to hold meetings just so the varioius organization’s dates don’t overlap.

     In the midst of all this, try to find the time to attend a meeting.  Becoming more informed about what’s goin’ on around you is always a good thing.  If you’ve never been to one, they’re painless.  Ya might find ya like it.  And the more people that come, the better they’ll be.

     If I’ve wandered from my usual format this month it’s because the most important goal of ABATE is protecting our freedoms, and to do that we need more members.  To get more members we need YOU to bring someone to a meeting.  There’s plenty of people who never even heard of ABATE, and plenty more who have no idea who we are.  If ya can’t bring ‘em, then at least tell ‘em  who we are and what we do.

     I’m proud of the fact that we are a grassroots organization, that we don’t use corporate bucks to push an agenda that might not be in the best interests of the public.  Unfortunately, this also means we have to rely on word of mouth to exist and grow.  We have to rely on each other.  Please help pass the word.

     Now, next month, should I begin with “I remember”, or “It was a dark and stormy night”?......maybe both.

         That's me, dammit!~Watch here for next month's installment!

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           “That’ll never happen.  We can’t forget who we are, Bummer.”

     Our organization is called ABATE.  It’s not American Motorcyclists Aimed Toward Education.  We’re bikers.

      ABATE is made up of all kinds of folk: Mill workers, cops, patch holders, yuppies, derelicts, businessmen/women, unemployed, lawyers, politicians.. Hell, there might even be a few space aliens out there!  In fact, I’m sure there are! [them bastards are everywhere!]  ABATE is one of the few organizations I can think of that by it’s very nature appeals to EVERYBODY, but first and foremost we came together because we want to preserve our freedoms and lifestyle.

     I despise the phrase “politically correct”, though we DO have to be that usually, since we represent the motorcycling public, and it behooves us to have as many members and supporters as possible.  We just have to remember that the thing that sometimes draws people to us is that we can be politically incorrect.  We are not friendly towards government interference in our lives.

     I remember a time when to raise bucks for ABATE all ya needed was some land, an electrical source and a keg of beer.  Now your officers have to go through so much red tape regarding permits, insurance, sanctioning, leasing contracts, band contracts and all the other nonsense that it becomes a chore.  Our own guidelines require so much paperwork nowadays that most officers need classes just to understand it all.  Unfortunately, it’s all necessary.  The last thing we need is a problem.

     Even puttin’ on a run is a lot more work than it used to be.  We used to just pick out five bars and go for it, but with the abundance of relatively inexperienced riders out there now, every facet of the run must be scrutinized for possible mishaps.  To properly do it, yer officers have to contact all the county engineers on the route just to make sure no bridges are gonna be out or that road construction won’t create detours.

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