Shootin’ the Breeze
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.)
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
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.
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.
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
likes to be bitched at.
Bitch at him all ya like!]
over 25 years, this organization has taken care of your
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
the only reward they get.
The same one that you and every other biker who
values his freedom receives.
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.
the midst of all this, try to find the time to attend a
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.
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
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
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never happen. We
can’t forget who we are, Bummer.”
organization is called ABATE.
It’s not American Motorcyclists Aimed Toward
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
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
We are not friendly towards government interference
in our lives.
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.
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.