Motorcycle Clubs and Groups

Central Midwest Chapter Harley Owners Group

Written by  March 31, 2004

Interviewing motorcycle clubs is always interesting, as each has their own story. Most are formed to share friendships, goals and commonalities like bikes, riding styles and support causes. They tend to start as a small club, with some eventually expanding to multiple Chapters throughout the United States, even a few crossing international borders.

Over the past 10-12 years, motorcycle ownership has become very popular, which has naturally increased the number of riders and the need for more clubs. In each major metropolitan area, you’ll find clubs vary in membership size and diversity. The variance in these clubs allows each rider to find the right group for them. This can be seen readily in the Kansas City area, as it hosts three separate Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) Chapters, supported by four Harley-Davidson dealerships.

This month, I’m pleased to review the Central Midwest Chapter of H.O.G. #1509, which is sponsored by Central Harley-Davidson in Shawnee, Kansas. I was introduced to this Chapter a few years ago when I bought my Road King from Central Harley-Davidson. As a new owner perk, the dealership provided a one year free membership in the National H.O.G. and the local Central Midwest Chapter.

The club started back in 1988 and as the dealership grew so did their number of friends and customers. They decided it was time to formalize their group into a local H.O.G. Chapter, gaining recognition and organization for their riding events and social activities. The Chapter was named after Central Harley-Davidson which is located in the heart of the Midwest. Roger Berquist is the current Chapter Director, and was kind enough to provide the following responses to this interview.

CC: What is the bond between the National and local H.O.G.?

Roger: The National H.O.G. is located at the Harley-Davidson headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They oversee hundreds of local Chapters worldwide. Our Chapter is located in Shawnee, Kansas and serves Harley-Davidson owners throughout the Kansas City area. In addition, we have many individual members located across the nation.

CC: What message does your club send out to the community?

Roger: This Chapter is made up of members who come from all walks of life, means and backgrounds. We come together to share our love for motorcycling. Our Chapter, as a group and as individuals, promotes safe motorcycling, charity events and goodwill in the community.

CC: Who is the President?

Roger: H.O.G. Chapters don’t elect Presidents like most clubs, instead, they have Directors. Currently, I have the privilege of being our Chapter’s Director.

CC: Are there any exclusions?

Roger: All of our primary members must own a Harley-Davidson as this is a Harley-Davidson Owners Group Chapter. Some of our associate members (spouses of a primary member) own other brands and are allowed to ride with us. Many have traded up to a Harley since riding with us. Our youngest associate member is a one year old; we have no age exclusion and invite any Harley owner to join our Chapter. We also have many ladies who own, ride and enjoy their own bikes.

CC: Where, when and how often do you meet?

Roger: We meet at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at Park Lanes Family Fun Center, located at 7701 Renner Road in Shawnee, Kansas. Our meetings normally last about an hour, and includes ride information, upcoming events, prizes, safety information and open discussion.

CC: What is the cost to become a member?

Roger: Our membership fees are $12 annually for a primary member (must also have a current National H.O.G. membership) and $6 for an associate member.

CC: How do you become a member?

Roger: Prospective members can either sign up with one of the friendly staff at the Central Harley-Davidson dealership or at our monthly meetings.

CC: Do you have any local or national famous club members?

Roger: Right now we are waiting to hear from National H.O.G. on the status of two of our members, Terry & Crista Green who participated in the H.O.G. ABCs of Touring Program last year. In their quest for program points, they traveled over 30,000 miles visiting all 48 continental states, Canada & Mexico on a Harley! This feat took commitment, careful planning and time, and they were also able to maintain their day jobs. We expect them to be in the top five nationally.

CC: What are some of the annual events you sponsor?

Roger: Solely as a group, we organize and promote along with the United States Marine Corps, the annual Toys for Tots ride. This is our biggest charity event of the year. We invite all motorcycle clubs, car clubs and other organizations to join us in donating Christmas toys for kids in our area who might not otherwise receive any gifts. This event occurs every year on the first Sunday of November, regardless of the weather. The turnout is always huge! Last year, we collected over 6,000 toys. At the end of the ride, we make sure everyone is fed well; no one leaves hungry! We encourage, support and participate in other motorcycle Chapters and Clubs charity rides, community and National H.O.G. events.

CC: Do you have both open and closed events/activities?

Roger: Except for our charity rides and poker runs, most of our rides are closed to members only. This is done for safety reasons and to encourage membership.

CC: In the last 12 months, what single event displayed the essence of your club?

Roger: Our Chapter membership is the smallest in the Kansas City area. We don’t view this as a negative, because it allows us to remain a close knit group and allows all members to have more input within the Chapter. At the November 2003 meeting, I announced that because of financial reasons, the Christmas party had to be cancelled. The members quickly took action and organized the holiday party. The turnout was great and potluck provided ample food and drinks, which included a gift exchange! Once again, our members turned a negative into a real positive, which will now become an annual event.

CC: Do you have a web site?

Roger: Yes, you can go to the Central Harley Davidson web site, click on the H.O.G. #1509 logo, and you’re there! Anyone can get in to see current upcoming events, photos of events and members, safety information, a chat room, Ladies of Harley information and ride updates.

CC: Do you have a special club patch or badge?

Roger: We have our Chapter rocker to go with the National H.O.G. patch. We also have Chapter shirts and cycle flags available to our members.

CC: What else should I share with our readers about your club?

Roger: We love to have FUN. Our Chapter is as much a social club as a riding club. We make our meetings and events fun. We encourage new members to get involved as volunteers as soon as possible in order to meet other members and form friendships. We believe that the more involved you are, the more fun you will have.

CC: Roger, thank you for your time and sincerity throughout this interview. With so many clubs to select from within the Kansas City area, I’m sure our readers will glean from this article, the special bond of camaraderie your fellow Chapter members and associates share.

Bart

Ride Free