Motorcycle Reviews


The Circle of Pride Motorcycle Club (MC) originated in the basement of the Rajun Cajun strip club in Muscatine, Iowa, in the fall of 1990. As “Possum” enjoyed the ambience of the club and swapped stories with a few biker friends, he hatched the idea of forming a motorcycle club. The group agreed on a set of rules and by-laws, and the Circle of Pride MC was born. The club is dedicated to sharing the freedom of the road and the biker lifestyle. They uphold the ideals of brotherhood, trust, and American pride. The organization is charitable and raises funds for a number of worthy causes.

The home of the Circle of Pride’s only chapter is a rural patch of land in southeastern Iowa between the small towns of Conesville and Columbus Junction. Monthly club meetings are held there. The group has constructed a 1/8-mile drag strip and a rodeo arena on the grounds and now hosts two of the area’s biggest events. The Hog Wild Rodeo is a spring event, and the Thunder in the Sand rally takes place on Labor Day weekend every year. Each is attended by about 10,000 people. Both rallies feature terrific music and other entertainment. Admission is restricted to adults only, so bikers can feel free to party with few inhibitions.

The Circle of Pride MC is active in the Iowa Confederation of Clubs and promotes brotherhood among all bikers regardless of the make or condition of their motorcycles. The club’s property is considered neutral territory. In order to join, a prospective member must have been known by a sponsoring active member for at least a year. After a probationary period, a new member receives his or her colors. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a couple. There is at least one mandatory run each year. The most recent was a ride to ABATE’s State Line Rally at Keosauqua, Iowa. For more information about the Circle of Pride, view their web site.

The club was stunned by the sudden passing of one of its most active and beloved members on July 6, 2004. Jeffrey Paetz, known as “Oz”, died of a massive heart attack at the age of 36. This year’s Thunder in the Sand rally was dedicated to his memory. A small chopper motorcycle was raffled off, and the proceeds were donated to Oz’s family. He had been a member of the Circle of Pride for two and a half years and served as coordinator and webmaster. Oz, an Army veteran who served during Operation Desert Storm, is survived by Debbie, whom he married in 1999 and three sons, Derek, Jeff Jr., and Andy. All of us at Cycle Connections extend our sympathy.

Story and photos by Stripe

People ride for different reasons. People ride different makes of machines. Some want to wear helmets, some don’t. There are riders who like protective gear with armor. Others like the feel of jeans and leather.

And when motorcyclists are on the road during the heat of the summer, or sitting in their front rooms while their bikes have been put away for the winter, there’s someone watching out for them to make sure their riding choices are not impeded. It’s not an angel, per say, but an ABATE lobbyist.

ABATE? Never heard of it?

Think of it as the ACLU for motorcycle riders. ABATE, pronounced A (long A) BAIT of Kansas Inc., is a motorcycle rights organization that began 29 years ago at Lake Perry in Kansas by a group of motorcyclists who didn’t want government bureaucrats creating legislation that would take away their motorcycle freedoms.

“The original definition of ABATE was A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactment,” Sheri Lesmeister, ABATE’s District 5 Representative, said. “The now, more frequent acronym used is American Bikers Aimed Towards Education.”

ABATE District 5, which covers Johnson, Miami, Linn, and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, is one of 12 districts throughout the state. ABATE has grown from its beginnings at Lake Perry, and is now in approximately 30 states.

“That’s the last I knew,” Lesmeister said. “It could be more, now. We have approximately 400 members in District 5, and when people join ABATE, they have the support of a full-time paid lobbyist, all the people who are active in the organization, and a newsletter every month letting them know what’s going on with legislative information for state and local issues.”

Members also receive information about ABATE events, rallies and runs, a patch, and a $2,000 insurance policy for accidental death and or dismemberment. You can join ABATE for only $20 per person per year. Monies from dues and fund-raising events go towards fighting for the rights of all motorcyclists.

“It’s important that people know we are a motorcycle organization and not a club,” Lesmeister said. “It’s not a Harley group; we represent anyone who rides and it doesn’t matter what they ride. “Raising money is important because you never know when it is going to be needed. Some years there might not be anything going on, but when someone tries to introduce legislation that would take away a rider’s freedoms, the money is there. “It’s difficult to do a spur-of-the-moment fund-raiser when you need the money now.”

Case in point; last year ABATE donated thousands of dollars to fight the Environmental Protection Agency on the behalf of small motorcycle-based businesses, because it was trying to force the California emission controls to be adopted nationwide. While ABATE was not successful in defeating this regulation, they were successful in getting it postponed for additional review in 2006.

“If this new regulation is enacted, it would wipe out a lot of independent shops, like Frank’s (Pedersen, owner of Motorcycle Works in Olathe, Kansas),” Lesmeister said. “It would not have allowed riders to alter their machines, such as putting different pipes on; they could have only purchased items from the dealers where they bought the motorcycles.”

ABATE also has been active in helping prevent the helmet law from being enacted in Kansas, and two years ago helped stop legislation that would have forced motorcycle riders to wear bright orange vests.

“We also pushed to repeal the helmet law in Missouri this past year,” she said. “We’re not against helmets; we support safety. But we are pro-freedom of choice, and that’s the main purpose of ABATE. ABATE prefers to focus on automotive driver awareness and rider education. We believe in avoiding accidents instead of making crashing safer.”

“Legislation comes from all different arenas: insurance companies, or a senator or representative pushing their own agendas, or a mother who has had a son or daughter killed on a motorcycle. It could be many things, and we’re not saying they are all bad. “We are not anti-helmet; we are pro-safety, but we want freedom of choice.” ABATE’s mission is even more important today that it was 29 years ago, Lesmeister said. “Twenty-nine years ago, there weren’t that many people riding,” she said. “Today, there are millions of motorcycles across the United States, and they need to have their rights protected.”

ABATE districts host meetings once a month that are open to the public, and district reps meet with the state board once a month. Each district, as well as the state board, is responsible for its own fund-raisers.

District 5 is currently offering tickets at a suggested donation price of $10 to win a custom chopper built by Motorcycle Works, which will be given away next June during the district’s Down South Country Run at LaCygne, Kansas.

The state’s fund-raising event takes place each Labor Day. It’s a three-day event with bands, vendors, a bike show, games, camping, and plenty of food. “Traditionally, more than 3,000 people show up,” Lesmeister said, “But there are more than 200 acres, so there’s a lot of room for people to spread out so they are not on top of each other.” For members, it’s $20; non-members pay $30.

And where is it?

At Lake Perry, of course, where ABATE originated 29 years ago.

To find out more about ABATE, go to

Story and photos by Chuck Kurtz

On Thursday, July 15th, I had a chance to meet with Bravo, President of the Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) Kansas City, Missouri Chapter to find out more about this wonderful organization.

B.A.C.A.’s mission is to create a safer environment for abused children and to help eliminate their fear of further abuse by including the child in their organization. B.A.C.A. members are always at the ready, and their hotline is only a phone call away, which guarantees a quick response to whatever these kids need.

They work close with local and state officials, police, and the Division of Family Services, who are already in place to help children. There is no doubt that when a group of B.A.C.A. members visit a kids home, it sends a clear message to all involved with the abused child that the child is part of their organization and they are prepared to lend their physical and emotional support to the child through affiliation and physical presence.

B.A.C.A. does not condone the use of violence or physical force; however, if they are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, they will do whatever is necessary to protect the child.

According to Bravo, the Kansas City Chapter of B.A.C.A. was founded in June 2003, and is part of a national organization. B.A.C.A. was started in 1995 in Utah, by a licensed child therapist who saw a need for a group like B.A.C.A. to help innocent victims overcome the trauma of what they had been through and to be able to help them face their abuser in court.

After a full year of working hard to maintain the integrity of B.A.C.A. and their mission, the members and supporters of the Kansas City, Missouri Chapter received their full charter. Bravo informed me there are currently more than 50 B.A.C.A. chapters in 18 states, and growing larger every year. The Kansas City, Missouri Chapter currently has 14 patch holders and approximately 15 supporters.

I asked Bravo what the requirements are for joining B.A.C.A. and he said, “There are no dues; just a time commitment. You must have a motorcycle or regular access to one, you must be 21 years of age, and maintain an 80 percent attendance at chapter meetings and rides for the children. You also must ride with the group for at least one year to become a patch holder.” According to Bravo, you can expect to devote at least 10 hours per month to the organization and the kids they help.

I also had the pleasure of meeting GoDog, a very friendly and stocky young man, who has been with the group for over two years. GoDog told me he was almost 20 years old and could hardly wait another year until he was old enough to become a full member. GoDog also informed me that his mother, Pokie, was Vice President of the chapter. Nothing like keeping such a wonderful cause in the family!

I asked Bravo if any of the kids were ever scared or intimidated by his group of bikers, and he said, “On occasion, they are a little intimidated, however, after the second or third visit, they look forward to their visits.” B.A.C.A. members camp out in the child’s yard if needed, and often play games or participate in whatever activity the child wishes.

Although the riding season in Kansas City can be somewhat short, unfortunately, child abuse is a year-round problem. Bravo informed me they recently obtained a 14’ travel trailer to help protect them from the inclement weather while camping out at their kid’s home and to serve as a mobile command post. I’m sure that beats the heck out of camping outside during the winter!

Bravo told me their chapter is currently involved with 12 kids in the Kansas City area, 1 in Lathrop, Missouri, and 2 in Topeka, Kansas. Their chapter covers an area within approximately one hour of Kansas City.

B.A.C.A. is financially supported by gifts from the public, corporations and through donations in exchange for t-shirts, pins and other merchandise. All members are volunteers, with 100 percent of all funds raised going to help the kids. Even if you don’t ride, you can still support B.A.C.A. through your contributions and support, plus, your donations are tax deductible.

If you’d like to contribute some time to help abused children or would like to make a donation, contact Bravo or any B.A.C.A. member by e-mailing them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling them at (913) 481-1032. Also make sure to check out their web site for more information about this incredible organization, whose main goal is to help protect children.

Story by Mike Schweder

Photos by Mike Schweder and Wayne Thompson

The first time I met the Kansas City Chapter of Ruff Ryders, was on Thursday evening, June 24th at a Paddy O’Quigley’s bike night in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
Their club patch is very unique, which made it easy to pick them out of the crowd. Most of the members I met that night rode really nice sport bikes, such as Chapter President, Ray “Sug” Caliman’s beautiful 2001 Yamaha R1. Ray took the time to introduce me to several members and told me a little about their unique organization.
As it turns out, the Ruff Ryders Motorcycle Club is a national organization with over 40 chapters worldwide, and more then 20 chapters here in the United States. He also told me that Chicago has one of the larger chapters, with more than 350 members. Ray started the Kansas City Chapter less than two months ago and already has 13 members and three pledges.
I asked Ray how the Ruff Ryders Motorcycle Club got started, and he said the motorcycle club is actually a spin-off of Ruff Ryders Records, which was founded in 1998 by brothers, Joaquin, Darrin, and Chivon Dean. The New York record label is best-known for launching the careers of artists such as DMX, Eve, and Jin. According to Ray, “the record company started using a lot of bikes in their music videos, and the Ruff Ryders Motorcycle Club evolved from there.”
When asked to explain the purpose of their club, Ray told me their main goal is to promote safe riding, encourage fellowship among riders, raise money to support charitable organizations, portray positive role models and support other riding organizations in the development of motorcycling.
He also said the club will be sponsoring and participating in several upcoming charitable events, such as the Ruff Ryders Relief to Help Battered Women. Ray also said they plan to team up with other local clubs such as the Zodiacs and Midnight Star to help raise money for other worthwhile causes.
I asked Ray how someone would go about joining the club, and he said potential club members must first complete a written application for membership, and if accepted, will become a prospect so the club can evaluate their riding abilities and determine if they are a good fit for their organizations. After 60 days, if everything checks out, the officers can vote them in as a member.
If you would like more information about this wonderful organization, e-mail Ray “Sug” Caliman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kansas City Ruff Ryders Executive Organization:
- Ray “Sug” Caliman, Chapter President
- Rod “G-Mone”, Vice President
- John “Dead Man”, Executive Officer
- Steve B “Ill Will”, Secretary
- James “J-bumper”, Business Manager
- Steve P “Jerzee”, Road Captain
- Sterling “Sterbo”, Sergeant-at-Arms

Story by Mike Schweder

Photos by Mike Schweder and Wayne Thompson

Front: Stan, 2nd Row L-R: Jim & Rod, 3rd Row L-R: Troy, Jeff & Greg, 4th Row L-R: Don & Doug, Back: Len

No discussion of motorcycle drill teams would be complete without mention of the Shriners. For years, anyone who has watched these riders perform in exhibitions or competition or has seen them in parades has been amazed at their skill and precision.

I’d like to begin with a few words about Shriners, as an organization, then focus on the Ararat Motor Corps. Shriners belong to the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, an international organization with over 500,000 members. The Shrine was founded in New York City in 1872 by a group of 13 members of the Masonic Order. It was originally organized to provide fellowship and fun for its members, but as the organization grew, its members became dedicated to a very special philanthropy-a network of hospitals that provide free medical care to children suffering from burns or orthopedic ailments. The first of 22 Shriners Hospitals opened in 1922.

When she was two years old, my Grandniece Heather was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, the Shriners paid for all of the required hospital care, medicine, and even her parents’ travel costs from north central Kansas to St. Louis. To inquire about free medical assistance for children, call 1-800-237-5055 or the Ararat Shrine Hospital Committee at 816-923-1319. For more information or to join Shrine of North America or Kansas City’s Ararat Shrine, view their web sites.

Within the organization there are numerous clubs for people with varying interests such as amateur radio, aviation, music, dancing, and of course, motorcycling. The Ararat Cycles Club has about 50 members who frequently participate in group rides and activities. A select few of these motorcyclists become members of the Ararat Motor Corps motorcycle drill team. Through Troy Orlando, who serves as Assistant Director of the Greater Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter, I made arrangements to attend the team’s practice session on Sunday, May 23. This was a great opportunity to meet these men and shoot a few photos. Since this was not a “real” performance, uniforms were left at home. The teamwork and camaraderie among this group was very impressive. They went through their routine four times with breaks to have refreshments, discuss what went well, what could be improved, and poke fun at one another. Through the numerous hours of practicing and riding together, this group is like a family.

To learn more, I had a conversation with Jim Murray, the Director.

CC: In addition to yourself, who are the members of the team?

Jim: Troy Orlando, Greg Kennedy, Stan Harrington (Drill Team Captain), Jeff Davis, Rod McGrath, and Doug Robins, our flag man, are the regulars. Woody Woodward and Don Hendrickson are alternates. Len Lynch is also here today. He is a former member of the team and past potentate of our Temple.

CC: Please describe the maneuvers in your routine.

Jim: Here’s the list: Log-split, group of four, group of two, figure eight, interlock, wheel-to-wheel match up, circle-in-circle, unwind, starburst, fall through, weave, small circle, high speed cross, and wedge.

CC: It seems very intricate. I see you are equipped with radios. How much communication is involved?

Jim: During parades, we chat a lot. During the drill, the Drill Team Captain calls out each maneuver. This year, Stan Harrington has assumed that duty, since I have an injury that possibly will keep me out of competition. In practice, especially early in the season, we talk quite a bit. By the time we are performing in competition, there isn’t much talk.

CC: How much turnover do you have from year to year and how are new members trained?

Jim: We average one or two new members each season. Our training method is to play follow the leader. Trainees follow an experienced team member, and we evaluate their ability to make turns and maneuver. We then begin walking them through the drill and making corrections.

CC: I imagine the risk of crashes is greatest early in the season.

Jim: The regulars get rusty during the off-season, and it takes new riders a while to get the feel of it. We used to joke that we couldn’t end practice until someone fell off. A common mistake that new riders make is to put a foot down to try and stop a fall. That’s how broken legs happen. I tell them to just get away from the motorcycle when it falls. I have broken ribs myself on the obstacle course. Things like that happen.

CC: I assume the high speed cross is the most dangerous maneuver.

Jim: Timing is critical there, and we definitely have to trust each other. But a crash can happen during any of the maneuvers, particularly during practice. We ride very close together, and the bikes even touch sometimes without spectators being aware of it.

CC: What happens during a routine if someone makes a mistake or gets lost?

Jim: Everyone knows where to go. If the mistake is small it can be corrected very quickly. If it’s a major bust, we would all run for cover and regroup.

CC: How are your expenses covered when you travel?

Jim: The group pays its own expenses. We do an annual poker run to raise funds for this purpose. This year’s event will be on June 5 and begins at Worth Harley-Davidson North at 10 a.m. I would also like to mention that Worth Harley-Davidson North helps us a lot and provides leather jackets for team members.

CC: Tell me a bit about the rewards of being a Shriner.

Jim: Let me tell you a brief story to give you a feel for that. Last year a two-year-old boy named Spencer was badly burned in a fire in Liberty. He was sent to the Shriners Burn Center in Galveston. Recently, members of the Ararat Shrine received an invitation to Spencer’s third birthday party with a note thanking us for helping him to make it to age three.

CC: From your web site I learned that the Motor Corps’ motto is “Our wheels turn to help crippled children walk.” I appreciate all you do, and I thank you for providing me with the opportunity to write about you.

Next, I turned my attention to Don Hendrickson who has just retired from competition after a 17-year career with the team.

CC: Please tell me a bit about the history of the Ararat Motor Corps.

Don: In 1947, this group became the first two-wheeled unit in all of Shrinedom. White Harley-Davidson motorcycles were selected, and this tradition has been maintained ever since. Until this year each bike had a saber on the front fender, but this was voted out.

CC: How often are bikes replaced?

Don: We get new ones every two years, because at one time, factory production was so limited that new ones were available only every other year. Now, production has increased to the point where we could probably get them every year if we chose. We use to ride them for five or six years, but they have to stand inspection for competition, and it was more difficult to take care of scratches and dings. Getting ready for inspection was like an all-day job. The new bikes are nothing like the old bikes that leaked oil and had mechanical problems. The quality has improved dramatically.

CC: I understand about the inspection. Jim informed me that the bikes must be identical in every detail. All items that personalize the bikes are removed and every detail is checked down to the alignment of slots on the screws that anchor the windshields. How often does the group practice?

Don: Practices are held every Sunday afternoon throughout the season with few exceptions.

CC: How successful has your unit been in competition?

Don: Last year was probably our best year. We won first place in both Central States and International Shriners competition. We went to Springfield for the International Motorcycle Drill Team competition which is not limited to Shrine units and won second place. That’s the highlight of what we’ve won in all the years I’ve been involved.

CC: Do you use the same routine from year to year?

Don: Pretty much the same. A lot of Shrine units have copied our drill in Central States and International competition.

CC: I was really impressed with what I saw during practice today.

Don: Yeah, I was asked to come out and coach a little bit. We have a couple of less experienced riders, and they are doing fine, no problems.

CC: During your time in the unit you must have seen a lot of riders come and go. Do you ever get one that worries you a bit?

Don: We’ve had a few over the years that just weren’t able to do what we have to do. We’ve had a few that really had problems at first but were bull-headed, hung in there and practiced and practiced and practiced and finally became good riders.

CC: Tell me what has been rewarding to you during your long involvement with the unit.

Don: A guy that has ridden a bike on the street for years and he comes along and gets into the unit and has never done anything like we do. You have to learn how to do really tight turns and precision maneuvers. It’s rewarding to teach these guys how to do this and to watch their progress

CC: Where do you do exhibitions outside of competitive events?

Don: We’ve performed at the Harley-Davidson factory open house here in Kansas City. We’ve done drill shows for the Missouri H.O.G. Rallies in two or three locations. We do occasional shows at charity events including Bikers for Babies, and we ride in parades.

In conclusion, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with this group and have the utmost respect for all of them. I would encourage you to be generous the next time you see a man wearing a red fez accepting donations outside a local store. If you have an opportunity to see the team ride, it’s definitely worthwhile. They can be seen at the events shown in the parade calendar link on their web site with the exception of the June 6 and July 4 events. During the July 4 weekend, they will be in Denver defending their international championship.

Story & Photos by Stripe

ABATE is an acronym for A Brotherhood Aiming Toward Education. According to the state web site, ABATE is a motorcyclists’ rights organization dedicated to preserving individual freedom and promoting safety. ABATE is not a club, but is a non-profit organization which supports rider training as well as safety and educational programs. ABATE welcomes all riders regardless of the make of their motorcycles. There is no probationary period for new members. The organization becomes involved in the political process to support legislation favorable to motorcyclists and protecting their rights. Many states have ABATE organizations or similar organization such as Missouri’s Freedom Of Road Riders (FORR).

When in Waynoka, I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk with Red Goodner, the President of NW #69 Chapter. I have seen Red many times through the years at various locations from Waynoka to Sturgis and always enjoy visiting with him.

CC: How many members are in your chapter and where do they come from?

Red: We have about 110 members, mostly from northwestern Oklahoma, but we are spread around near and far since the chapter was started in 1988.

CC: Where and when are your meetings held?

Red: We meet on the second Sunday of each month. During the winter we generally meet in Woodward, but during the warmer months you may find us anywhere within about an 80-mile radius of there.

CC: How much are your annual dues and how is the money divided between the local and state organizations?

Red: It’s $20 with $10 going to the state fund, $5 to the newsletter, and $5 to the local chapter.

CC: I always enjoy participating in your annual rodeo held during the Snake Hunt weekend. How many usually attend this event?

Red: Unofficially between 700 and 800.

CC: I know you share proceeds from this event with the local EMT’s. What other fund-raisers do you have and what organizations benefit?

Red: We have two overnight poker runs each year. We have various raffles, chili cookoffs, foosball and dart competitions, and the like. The charities that benefit include Red Cross, a veterans’ hospital, CMA missionaries, Special Olympics, and a group that assists disabled children. This weekend we are selling raffle tickets with the winner to receive a free paint job provided by Special FX from Ashland, Kansas.

CC: How is your chapter involved in the legislative effort?

Red: Being 200 miles from the state capitol somewhat limits our participating in large numbers there. However, we do have the best state rep you could ever have. Chris Combs is on top of the game and he plays it well. He made the trip to Washington and rarely misses anything that has to do with the state or local level. We are very blessed.

CC: Thanks for the info. I’ll see you at the rodeo grounds.

Anyone interested in more information about the chapter can use the following contact information:

ABATE of Oklahoma
NW #69 Chapter
PO Box 302
Laverne, OK 73848

President: Red Goodner (580) 921-5632

Chapter Rep: Chris Coombs (405) 377-8163

By Stripe

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.


Ride Free

The American Heartland – Kansas City Chapter Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) is one of three within the Kansas City area. It is the newest Chapter, with their first meeting being held March 12, 2003, with 277 prospective riders and members. One of their goals were to have at least 1,000 members by the end of March 2004, which would put them in the H.O.G history books as the fastest growing new Chapter. They made it! You still have until the end of March to join and be part of H.O.G. history and become a Charter member.

I was able to interview Roger Fleener, known as Roger “FatBoy on a FatKing” Fleener, who is the Director of the Chapter. I found him to be very candid and proud of his Chapter, the members, the sponsor and their accomplishments.

CC: What is the goal or purpose of your Chapter?

Roger: Our goal is to provide the Harley-Davidson community diversity through more events, pleasure-riding activities and to our customers a way to meet other enthusiasts.

CC: What is the significance of the Chapter name?

Roger: American, we’re American-built; Heartland, our heart is the very center of our existence; KC, we serve the entire Kansas City area; H.O.G.

CC: Is it a national Chapter?

Roger: Yes, the Harley Owners Group was conceived 21 years ago.

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

Roger: We care about your safety as you ride, we’ll listen to your ideas, we’ll introduce you to fellow riders, we support local charitable organizations, and we support and promote our sponsoring dealership, Gail’s Harley-Davidson.

CC: Who is the President?

Roger: National H.O.G. defines Director as the rider at the helm of the Chapter since we are to direct the Chapter through the volunteers of its membership. I have been starting the engine for American Heartland in its first year of operation with a support group of officers like no other.

CC: Any exclusions?

Roger: Just as the name says, we are a Harley Owners Group. You must have a Harley-Davidson vehicle identification number (VIN) registered in your name to join the National H.O.G. before becoming a local Chapter member.

CC: When, where and how often do you meet?

Roger: Just as a wheel has a center or hub, we meet at Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Belton, Missouri the second Tuesday of each month, at 7 p.m. Also, all rides begin at Gail’s, where each member and customer can enjoy the many dealer-sponsored activities each and every week.

CC: How do you become a member?

Roger: You must first be a National member ($40 Full and $20 Associate) by calling 1-800-CLUB-HOG. After you receive your National membership card, you can join our Chapter by completing the application at one of our monthly meetings or at Gail’s Harley-Davidson dealership. The local annual dues are $12 for Full membership and $6 for an Associate member. Associate members are those sponsored by a Full member and are normally spouses, children, and close friends. The Associate members seem to enjoy riding just as much as their sponsor.

CC: Does your Chapter have any special rules the members MUST follow?

Roger: We, as well as National H.O.G., like to use the terms “suggestions & encourage” rather than rules. American Heartland encourages all its members to ride safely within their own skill level, believe in those riding in front of and behind them and wear a smile at all times.

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

Roger: Yes, they are sold at Gail’s Harley-Davidson dealership. We have two basic patches, one which signifies you belong to National H.O.G. and the second depicts your local Chapter. Also, many additional patches can be earned by the completion of certain rides and events throughout the year.

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

Roger: We consider all our members famous since their photos can be found many times in motorcycle related magazines. Also, many have been interviewed on local television, and their involvement with local and national organizations can be read about in newspapers.

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

Roger: As a group, we sponsor a ride to benefit Wayside Waifs Humane Society. This year’s Putt for Mutts ride will be Saturday, May 22. We also support and participate in Bikers for Babies, Octoberfest KC Style, Score One for Health, MDA, and many others.

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

Roger: Yes, all our charitable events are “open” to the public while “closed” events are open to American Heartland members and a guest.

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

Roger: American Heartland - KC H.O.G. answered a challenge to join and support National H.O.G. in celebrating 100 years of building motorcycles and relationships by riding in as a Chapter to its celebration here in Kansas City. The initial challenge was to have 100 Harley-Davidson’s ride in as a Chapter. The call was answered by 267 Harley-Davidson’s rumbling from Gail’s Harley-Davidson dealership in Belton, heading north on Highway 71 with many riding two-up. It was quite impressive! We also can’t forget that we are the fastest growing Chapter with over 1,000 members in its first year of operation. A big “Thank You” goes out to all the members for their support, the employees of Gail’s Harley-Davidson for their helpfulness and to Gail herself for being a believing sponsor and encourager to all over the past 19 years.

CC: Do you have a web site?

Roger: Yes, we can be found at, as an intricate part of Gail’s Harley-Davidson dealership web site. As a member, you will also receive a monthly newsletter, which keeps you updated on all the Harley-Davidson news and events.

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

Roger: We believe we are a “Family of Riders” and the only thing missing is YOU. The motorcycle that sets you apart has a Chapter that brings you together.

CC: Roger, thank you for your time and for the great photos you have provided for this article.

For those that don’t know Roger, he is a great photographer and owns his own studio.


Ride Free

One night while I was out with a few coworkers enjoying an extended happy hour in the backroom at McBride’s Irish Pub in Overland Park, we were informed by the waitress that a motorcycle club was scheduled to hold their monthly meeting that night. As we moved out of the backroom, my coworkers looked at me for an explanation, as they know I ride and live in the area. Since I had no clue which club was meeting there, I decided to stay and find out.
As various men and women trickled in, I struck up a conversation with some of them, asking a few questions. The club was called the Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts (HoAME), which is Kansas City based and originated in the late 1980's by a small group of riders. Today, they have over 150 members, riders diverse in both machines and styles, and they are quite proud of that diversity.

In 1992, the club organized their first weekend motorcycle rally and show at Clinton Lake in Lawrence, Kansas. Over time, the Clinton Lake Rally became an AMA sanctioned event. The rally remains the club's major annual event and attracts hundreds of spectators and participants from many surrounding states. It is a three day event, drawing an average of 100 entrants for the bike show. The bikes include Nortons, Ducatis, BMWs, Moto Guzzis, Triumphs, American, Japanese, Competition, and others. Many collectors provide various restored seldom-seen motorcycles for everyone to view. Check our local rally and event page for more information as it becomes available on their upcoming May 2004 rally weekend.

The club coordinates weekly breakfast and lunch rides throughout the area. Specialty rides are led by many well experienced riders within the group, with time being the only limitation. Some of the members have collections of bikes that would make most of us drool with envy. In fact, I’m looking forward to seeing the Norton collection, my first big bike in the early 70’s.

Annual membership is $15 and meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at McBride's Irish Pub at 7:30 p.m. I was welcomed sincerely into their fold and was honored to share a few beers with them. Club President, Jim van Eman introduced all of the guests and allowed each of us time to share a little bit about ourselves and our bikes. They discussed current events, rides, race results and crashes. Occasionally they will present a video or bring in a guest speaker. They do recommend that you come early and try the fish and chips, along with a pint or two of Guinness on tap. I completely agreed and was way ahead of them, imagine that! Keep in mind it was snowing that night, so all the bikes were safely tucked in for the evening!

HoAME is well founded with a large diversity of people and bikes, a winning combination that ensures a great time for all! The HoAME web site provides much more information on the club and their races. Additional benefits of joining are access to their discussion board, online chat, classifieds, calendar of events, photo albums, new friends and more opportunities to ride.


Ride Free

Hey riding divas! If you’re looking for an all-female, WOMEN ONLY riding club, check out Women in the Wind (WITW), which has a new chapter right here in Kansas City! I met with Lisa Brenek, club President, to get the scoop on this new chapter.

As it turns out, Lisa met a gal in August at Union Station during the Thunder in the Heartland event, who had a Women in the Wind patch on her jacket. They became fast friends and met up again in Milwaukee, WI for the Harley-Davidson 100 Year Anniversary Party. After returning home, Lisa went online and researched the club, then called the national headquarters with the interest of starting a new chapter in KC.

The organization started in 1979 in Toledo, Ohio, when founder, Becky Brown placed an ad in her local newspaper looking for female riders who wanted to form a club and ride. Eleven women responded to the ad and they took their first club ride through the scenic byways of the Maumee River. Today, there are over 1,000 members in 60 chapters in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada and Australia. They welcome all makes of motorcycles and their purpose is to educate members on motorcycle safety and maintenance, unite women motorcyclists with friends of common interest and to promote a positive image to the public of women on motorcycles.

For Lisa to start a new chapter in Kansas City, she was required to have a minimum of three members who were willing to serve a probationary period of at least three months. They were also required to show proof of at least three meetings or rides. Before they knew it, Lisa and the other two members’ had recruited 21 women to join. Since November, they’ve already conducted two meetings and had a pot luck dinner ride. Needless to say this club is off to a roaring start!

Members are recruited by word of mouth, flyers, and now through their club information page in our online motorcycle magazine. National membership dues are $15 per year (pro-rated when you join) and you receive six issues of their newsletter, “Shootin’ the Breeze.” There are two National Conventions a year, a Winter National, held in February and a Summer National held in June. They offer a Safe Mileage Contest for all members that runs from March to November. “Local dues are $10 per year, and any extra funds we generate will be used to take care of our own members first,” says Lisa. For example, from a single mom needing help, to someone laid off from their job or needing help with medical bills.

Lisa stressed that she wants prospective members to know that all members have a voice in this group, and she wants everyone to feel comfortable and not left out. All issues are voted on by the members. If you don’t own your own bike and ride two-up with a chapter member, you can join as an Associate member. Each chapter is allowed to have three non-riding members, who aren’t required to own their own bike, but must have an endorsement on their driver’s license. WITW is planning poker runs, rides and maintenance classes on oil & filter changes.

They plan to kick off the New Year with their 1st Annual “Frigid Bitch Run” on January 31, 2004. All meetings are held the first Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at Drafters Sports Bar, located at 323 W. 8th Street in Kansas City, Missouri. Some lucky member will win a drawing to receive a free dinner, compliments of Drafter’s. Due to the holidays, the January meeting will be held on January 8, 2004. All chapter rides will depart from Drafter’s.

Lisa is very excited to be a part of this group and her enthusiasm has spread to Central Texas where her mom has also started a new chapter. After learning to ride at the age of 60, her mom now owns three bikes! Lisa is no stranger to riding. She grew up in a motorcycle racing family and has been around motorcycles her entire life. She is also lucky enough to work at the Harley-Davidson Plant. Lisa rides a Heritage Softtail and there is no holding this girl back. She is an excellent rider and passionate about motorcycling.

Look for The Khrome Cowgirls of KC at The World of Wheels show February 13-15, where they will be sharing a booth with the guys at K.C. Creations, who build some awesome custom bikes. Women in the Wind are their own group and do not have an affiliation with any bike shops or dealerships. They want to recruit as many members as possible, so if you are interested in learning more about this chapter, e-mail Lisa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and they hope to have their web site up and running by February.

A word of caution ladies; because this is a Women Only club, there are no male riders allowed. Therefore, if you have male riding companions who you don’t feel comfortable excluding, this may not be the group for you. Lisa states, “If a chapter member wants to bring a male passenger or rider along, it must be voted on by the membership.” If agreed on, they will come as a guest, and all guests are asked to ride at the back of the pack and follow all chapter rules.

If Women in the Wind sparks your interest, you’re invited to attend one of their meetings to decide if you would like to join this club.

Women in the Wind Officers:
President: Lisa Brenek
Vice President: Lindsay Popper
Secretary: Barbie Oxley
Treasurer: Dolly Owen

Interview and Photos by Goldie Arnold