The American Motorcyclist Association has announced the recipients of its 2015 AMA Awards. The six motorcyclists selected by the AMA Board of Directors have made outstanding contributions to the motorcycling community and their efforts support the AMA mission to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.
The AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious of the awards and is presented to Charles Umbenhauer of Dover, Pennsylvania, for 2015. Umbenhauer has been the state legislative coordinator and lobbyist for ABATE of Pennsylvania for more than 30 years and has played a key role in securing and protecting funding of the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program.
Other 2015 award recipients include:
* AMA Bessie Stringfield Award — Delvene Manning, event manager of the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials
* AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award — Peter Cline, founder of VETMotorsports
* AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award — Staff Sgt. William Pendleton, Motorcycle Safety Program Manager of the 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
* AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award — Desiree Bates, campaign organizer of the Fight For Ocotillo Wells SVRA
* Friend of the AMA Award – Ken Wahlster, founder of bikebandit.com
AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award
The 2015 AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award pays tribute to its namesake, AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Dud Perkins. AMA Life Member Charles Umbenhauer received the award for his many decades of advocacy on behalf of motorcyclists in the Pennsylvania legislature, with notable victories that safeguarded funding for rider education, ensured voluntary adult helmet use, reduced tolls for motorcycles and secured motorcycle parking at state-owned facilities.
“For a long time now, I felt that being featured in the September 2008 issue of American Motorcyclist was the high water mark of my 47 years in motorcycling, but after receiving the 2015 AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award, I am truly humbled,” said Umbenhauer, a recipient of the AMA Motorcycling Advocate Award in 2004. “I have had many mentors along the way to this point in my life, and I am proud to acknowledge that more than a few have come from the AMA. In Pennsylvania, we have changed the face of motorcycling and made it a motorcycle-friendly state and a great place to ride. That would not have happened without the support of the AMA and my many friends in ABATE of Pennsylvania who have worked tirelessly to make that a reality.”
AMA Bessie Stringfield Award
This award recognizes efforts to introduce motorcycling to new or underserved markets in memory of the accomplishments of AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bessie Stringfield. The 2015 award recipient, Delvene Manning, has dedicated her life to promoting land-speed racing, which does not differentiate between male and female competitors. In so doing, she fostered an environment that introduced many women and men to the challenge, thrill and camaraderie of two- and three-wheel top-speed record attainment.
“It is an honor to be recognized with the AMA Bessie Stringfield award and follow in the footsteps of a pioneer of motorcycling, such as Bessie,” said Manning. “Revitalizing motorcycle land-speed racing on the hallowed grounds of the Bonneville Salt Flats, catering to the specific needs of motorcycling, along with increasing the prestige of land-speed national records, continue to be our primary goals. The AMA has been fundamental in their support, and we have grown in participants and increased international exposure. In addition, we strive to provide our participants with the best opportunity to set records, to compete against their peers of all ages, genders and range of motorcycles, and to race against history.”
AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award
AMA racer Peter Cline, recipient of the 2015 AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award, started VETMotorsports as a non-clinical outreach program to empower disabled combat veterans and support them in their continued healing. Cline, from Columbus, Ohio, and VETMotorsports have generated significant positive publicity for motorcycling, honoring the award’s namesake, Hall of Famer Hazel Kolb.
“This award means so much to us, because VETMotorsports’ partnership with the AMA has allowed the program to reach over 45 veterans, plus caregivers, in 2014,” Cline said. “We are currently losing 22 veterans a day to suicide, and our ability to facilitate this program is affecting the lives of our participants in a positive way. On behalf of the VETMotorsports Board of Directors, my family, our donors, volunteers, the teams, veteran service organizations and veterans who took a risk with us, I proudly accept the 2015 Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award.”
AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award
The AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award is presented annually to recognize those who have contributed to the promotion of the motorcycle lifestyle and the protection of on-highway motorcycling. As the recipient of the 2015 award, Staff Sgt. William Pendleton was instrumental in helping the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, win the 2014 U.S. Army Forces Command Exceptional Organization Safety Award (Division Level) for superior performance in reducing fatalities in both on- and off-duty activities. In his role as the motorcycle safety program manager, he was responsible for the safety and training of more than 2,500 motorcycle riders in 3rd Infantry Division and the program has successfully reduced motorcycle-related fatalities from 12 to zero in two years.
“As a longtime motorcyclist, I was proud that I was selected to rebuild the 3rd Infantry Division’s motorcycle safety program,” said Pendleton. “Now I’m even more proud that I am able to receive this award. Safety, in general, is the responsibility of everyone, and without the mentors working under me I would not be in the position that I’m in. Motorcycling is important to me, but nothing is more important than the lives of my fellow soldiers. Hopefully, I am able to continue the evolution of safety and motorcycle training into the future.”
AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award
Established in 2012, the AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award highlights the achievements of those who have contributed to the promotion of the motorcycle lifestyle and the protection of off-highway motorcycling. For 2014, the award is presented to AMA member Desiree Bates. An accomplished off-road racer, Bates became a fierce activist for protecting off-highway vehicle access rights through her advocacy in the “Fight For Ocotillo Wells SVRA,” a coalition formed to preserve OHV riding opportunities in one of California’s most popular state vehicular recreation areas.
“It makes me so incredibly proud to receive this award from the AMA,” said Bates “This let’s me know that people are not only noticing that I am working hard, but that they trust me in what I do and they appreciate what we’ve been doing to preserve our riding rights at Ocotillo Wells. That speaks volumes and means so much more to me than words can express.”
Friend of the AMA Award
Ken Wahlster, founder of BikeBandit.com, has been a strong partner and supporter of the AMA for many years and is the recipient of the association’s 2015 Friend of the AMA Award. The award recognizes one or more in the motorcycling community, including clubs, companies, sponsors and/or partners that have strongly supported the AMA mission and programs.
“I am truly humbled that I have been selected for the Friend of the AMA Award,” Wahlster said. “I am honored to receive this award and accept it on behalf of the entire BikeBandit.com team. I am proud that our efforts at BikeBandit.com have made a positive impact on the AMA and the sport.
“As a life-long rider with over 20 years of experience working in the industry, it is a great honor to be selected for an award by an organization that has done so much for motorcyclist and their rights,” he continued. “The AMA has been a constant source for information and activism, and I can say with 100 percent confidence that the tireless efforts of the AMA have made significant contributions to racing, safety, land usage, etc., and that I have personally benefited from them all. I sincerely hope that we can continue to strengthen and grow the organization through awareness and advocacy.”
For more information about the AMA Awards Program, to see past recipients and learn how to submit individual’s names for future consideration, please visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com/about/amaawardsprogram.