BY Charles Umbenhauer

Note this was to be published in the March issue but I missed the deadline so hopefully things will work better for us this month as it was Popcorn and my fault. 

I wanted to take a few minutes to give everyone an update on Popcorn’s health situation and my thoughts in general about the seminar. 

First, there is no way I can possible individually thank everyone who played a part in this year’s seminar.  You know who you are and I think you know you have my thanks and blessings for all you do year in and year out to make these seminars one of the best in the country. 

Let’s start with Popcorn, she had been feeling poorly for a week or two but insisted she come to the seminar.  By Friday morning I had to meet with the hotel staff to see if we could call an ambulance to transport her to the hospital without turning the entire event into a circus.  Luckily for both of us, this year I brought both of my daughters with us and one is a registered nurse and we finally decided to load her into the car and take her to the hospital.  I can’t give you a lot of details of what happened or why but will just say that after a lot of medical care and therapy and was released from the hospital on Wednesday and needs to continue therapy and taking a break from working so hard. 

In the meantime, I think I was having a meltdown myself because when it came time at the banquet to introduce my family, I was ok when I introduced Tracy my older daughter, but when I looked at my younger daughter, Kimberly I drew a blank and could not remember her name.   What else could go wrong?  I received the Golden Quill Award for my recent efforts on writing “Politics Biker Style”.  Right before I was presented the award, I saw the presenters were in a conversation and were confused as to what the award was.  They did not get it quite right.  So instead of announcing I had won the Golden Quill they said that it was a new award called the Golden Queer award!  I graciously accepted it and simply promised that we would not spend one dollar for the money raised for BIKEPAC to be spent on any “queer” bars in Harrisburg.  It was all taken in good fun and I was not offended. 

I do want to take this opportunity to complement and thank Scott Crum and Andy Kelly for pulling off a great seminar.  This morning we made deposits into the BikePAC account for over $36,000. 

I went back in my personal files and found the program for the first A.B.A.T.E. annual seminar held on November 1, 1986 which was held at the Excellent Inn in Harrisburg.  If you were around back then see if you remember any of our guest speakers?  Mike “Balls” Farabaugh, State Director A.B.A.T.E. of Indiana; Robert Rev Kaiser Hershberger, Manchester Church of Bikers; Bob Ritter, Director of the Maryland Motorcycle Action Committee; Ken Brown, past State Coordinator A.B.A.T.E. of Maryland.  Both of these guys helped me to lay the groundwork to modify PA’s helmet law.  Also speaking was our friend and fellow member J. Richard Gray Attorney.  I just spoke with Richard yesterday.  We got to talking about the 1987 seminar when we had a surprise guest Dick Gregory, the black activist for those of you who remember those days.  That still remains one of my best surprises when it comes to seminars.  Unfortunately, I missed a lot of this year’s seminar but from those I spoke with, everyone seemed pleased with the outcome.  If I tried to thank each of you, you would still be reading this tomorrow. 

So let me close with a big thank you to everyone from attendees to presenters, and to all of those who bought auction items, products from A.B.A.T.E. and many other things that were for sale. 

I was fortunate enough to sit at the banquet with my friend Richard Freeburn.  I was happy to see that he got recognized for all his support of A.B.A.T.E. and the motorcyclists of PA.  “Let the 7’s ride on!”