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October - December 2009
Tribute: AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Becky Shimek   

 

hd demo rides webAfter three years of much anticipation and hoopla, the AMA Women’s Motorcycle Conference has finally come and gone, but the memories of the 2009 event are still busy buzzing in our heads. And just as promoted, it was indeed the best to date yet!

Women came in droves to flock upon the utopia which is Keystone – definitely one of the biggest nods we give the organizers as Colorado was the ideal location for an August shindig. The weather was close to perfect and the scenery was inspiring. But equally inspiring, was the sheer number of attendees who rode to the Conference; many who made the pilgrimage for the very first time.

 

Off-the-Cuff Moments athena demo web

Over the course of four days, we met and mingled with some of the most incredible women (and men). And while the scheduled events, speakers, and seminars were amazing, it was the off-the-cuff moments that also left us energized. For instance, we captured famed Athena Ransom of Vagabond Choppers demonstrating her "leverage" technique to a fellow rider in the parking lot --instigated from a conversation the rider overheard Athena having with another iconic female moto figure, Laura Klock of Klock Werks.

Then there's the moment we get a phone call from our bud, Gramps - member of another remarkable club, the Sisters of Scota. She ran across Lesley Gering, one of the notable Canadian women featured gracing the hallways (via poster board) of the main Conference area. Turns out Lesley was introducing herself to Gramps and brought up Helmet Hair.  

 Side lesley gering webnote: we featured Lesley in a couple of past issues, but had never actually met her in person and had NO IDEA she was attending the Conference. When we finally connected it was surreal. There she was in all her hippie, artsy glory. We could go home happy now.

We also caught a glimpse of female moto pioneer Sue Slate in action. As Co-Founder of the Women’s Motorcyclist Foundation, she’s knows a thing or two about riding safety and was smartly put in charge of one of the morning’s riding groups. It was fascinating to watch her direct women clasp hands and form a circle so she would have their complete attention. She certainly had ours.  

 

Knowledge, Encouragement and Fast Wheels

Every topic that is (or should be) important to women who ride motorcycles was covered at this event. Think you know what to do at a motorcycle accident scene? Have a clue how to make your bike fit you? How about packing for long distances efficiently or learning how to steer through the often frustrating dealership experience? Attendees could even learn how to navigate the Internet for female-friendly resources (ahem, yours truly) and make online connections through various social networks targeted at women riders. Knowledge was being spread and shared just about everywhere you looked.

And if you needed a dose of inspiration, there was plenty to go around. The guest speaker lineup ranged from young Motocross phenom, Ashley Fiolek, whose words during the welcoming ceremony spoke volumes despite the limits of her voice as she communicated through sign language while her mother interpreted them to the teary-eyed crowd. Her message captured the essence of why we had come together: to surround ourselves with others who are willing to support our dreams. The moment was pure synergy. Then on Saturday night, the Canadians took over the International Street Party with a handful of speakers including the very witty and vibrant Deborah Grey, who had the crowd roaring with laughter with antidotes from her four decades of service spent in the Canadian Parliament and how that related to her as motorcyclist. Talk about a trailblazer! And finally journalist, Lois Pryce, was impeccably cheeky during closing ceremonies as she recounted through video her moto-adventures on two epic world journeys that took her through deserts, jungles and frozen tundra. Leaving us all feeling as if we could now go out and conquer the world on two-wheels. wima japanese girls on ducatis web

Also sharing the spotlight was the impressive number of manufacturers who showed up to prove how much our numbers count. The demo list included event sponsors Harley-Davidson and Buell, along with Ducati, BMW, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Kymco bringing with them each a plethora of bikes to appease everyone. As a matter of fact, some models were so popular that you had to get on a “waiting list” to take them for a spin.  

From meeting our idols, including one of our new contributing writers, Jessica Prokup (pictured below sandwiched between Becky & Cara Mae), marketing leg of the Motorcycle Industry Council and our newest buddy, her boss, Cam Arnold – VP of Communications, to the unexpected hugs from hordes of HH friends and fans, the 2009 Conference will go down in our books as the best one yet! Ok, so we only have two under our belt, but that's gotta count for something, right?

beckyjesscara web

 

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