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Harrisburg, PA – The Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE of PA) hosted its annual Leadership and Legislative Seminar on January 25, 26, 2019 at the Red Lion Hotel in Harrisburg, PA. The event attracted a crowd of 386 politically active motorcyclists from Pennsylvania and surrounding states, in a tradition of successful meetings and fundraising for BikePAC, the motorcyclist political action committee.

Opening this year’s meeting was newly elected state coordinator Tom Bogacki, Assistant State Coordinator, Kevin Snyder, State Legislative Coordinator, John Kruger and ABATE Lobbyist, Charles Umbenhauer who hosted “The Conversation” with the attendees.

To address motorcycling issues in Pennsylvania ABATE hosted a panel discussion with experts from various backgrounds relevant to motorcycling. Current topics of recent interest ranged from motorcycle profiling, lane splitting, and increasing penalties for not having the proper motorcycle endorsement on your license, lemon law and new rules for group riding. In addition there was a discussion on the PA Motorcycle Safety Program. Pennsylvania Cable Network was on site and videotaped the panel discussion for later broadcast and it was also streamed live.

Participating on the panel were Representative Dawn Keefer, Representative Mark Keller, Representative Dan Moul, Eric Bugaile, Executive Director of the House Transportation Committee, Jay Jackson, Motorcycle Riders Foundation Vice President, Mike Sayre, American Motorcyclist Association, Leon Winfrey and Bob Hammaker both from the PA Motorcycle Safety Program and Tom Bogacki, State Coordinator, ABATE of PA. The panel was moderated by Charles Umbenhauer, the ABATE lobbyist.

Following the panel discussion BikePAC held a reception with the panel participants as our special guests. Entertainment was provided by His Boy Elroy.

On Saturday there were several workshops dealing with legislative issues, the PA Motorcycle Safety Program, Lobbying and PACs, and Leadership to name a few.

Special presentation on Saturday afternoon included Slider Gilmore from Iowa who had developed many motorcycle safety and educational program during his career. He has taught in 35 states including several appearances at the ABATE of PA seminar. This year he did a presentation on leadership. Also presenting were Mike Sayre of the American Motorcyclist Association out of Washington, DC and the Vice President of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) Jay Jackson.

The focal point of the weekend was the awards banquet, which included the presentation of the prestigious Ed Fruecht Jr Lifetime Achievement Award. This year the award was presented to Eric Mershimer president of the Butler County Chapter for the past ten years.

Other ABATE members who were presented with awards are as follows: Presidents Award – Jesse Reed, Lancaster Chapter, Freedom Fighter Award was presented to Representative Dawn Keefer of the Mason Dixon Chapter. Leadership Award was presented to Zachary Ball of the Kinzua Chapter and Bob Handwork, Washington County Chapter, Safety and Awareness award went to Mike Bretzman, Blue Mt Chapter and Golden Quill was presented to Matt Burton of the God’s Country Chapter. Distinguished Service Award was presented to Scott Christopher, Mason Dixon Chapter. And finally the Humanitarian Award went to Deana Rager of the Butler County Chapter

By the conclusion of the L & L Seminar over $43,000 was raised for BikePAC. Since its inception in 1986, the political action committee has endorsed biker friendly candidates for the State Senate and House of Representatives.

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Updated: 5/7/09 12:00 AM