2 Men riding motorcycles down the road

AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award-Historical

The AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award highlights the achievements of an individual who has contributed to the promotion of the motorcycling lifestyle and the protection of off-highway motorcycling, and has consistently demonstrated leadership, hard work, and dedication to the AMA mission.

Previous Award Winners

Please note not all awards are given out annually.

Since retiring as a metal fabricator seven years ago, Payne has averaged more than 650 hours a year working on trails in Oregon’s 364,000-acre Tillamook State Forest, where he has been riding dirt bikes since 1970. With a chainsaw and grub hoe mounted to his trusty 1991 Kawasaki KDX that he calls “Kermit,” Payne has almost single-handedly developed 26 miles of trail in the forest. Thanks to Payne, other volunteers and the staff of the state Department of Forestry, the 250 miles of available trails in the forest system are fast becoming one of the preeminent off-highway riding areas in the country.

A New Jersey native and avid backpacker, Koontz made his way west and earned a degree in geology at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. There he discovered the area’s rich off-highway riding opportunities. Later he landed a job with the National Park Service, working on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Motorcycling in the nearby Wasatch Mountains in Utah, he became active in making improvements along the southern Paiute ATV Trail. In 2002, Koontz became a founding board member of Ride with Respect, a non-profit dedicated to conserving shared-use trails and their surroundings. To date, the organization has performed over 18,000 hours of trail work and education on public lands. Koontz currently serves on the board of the National Off-Highway Vehicles Conservation Council and the OHV Advisory Council of Utah State Parks.

Ehnes is being recognized for his nearly 20 years as the executive director of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, a nonprofit organization that develops and provides programs, materials and information to individuals, clubs, associations and agencies to further a positive future for responsible OHV recreation. Ehnes is also a dedicated OHV advocate in Montana as a charter member and officer of the Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association and helped launch the Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association. He continues to play active roles in both organizations.

Long known for his accomplishments as a motorcycle inventor, designer and racer, Vetter was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame 1999. He designed the iconic Windjammer fairings of the 1970s, the Triumph X-75 Hurricane and the limited-edition Mystery Ship. More recently Vetter has conducted a series of motorcycle fuel economy runs that push the boundaries of everyday streamlining. Equally significant is Vetter’s longtime service to the AMA and to the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, which raises funds for the Hall of Fame. For years, Vetter served on the AMHF Board of Directors (2008-13) and as the chairman of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Design and Engineering Committee. He is also a significant donor, having provided more than $100,000 in funds and historic motorcycles to the AMHF. In 2012, he was the grand marshal for the annual AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, the primary fundraiser for the Hall of Fame. In 2014, he was the featured guest at the annual AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Breakfast at Daytona, another successful AMHF fundraising activity.

The AMA Life Member 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.

Melbourne “Mike” J. Wilson and Margaret Wilson, AMA Life Members and inductees into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, have both served with distinction on the board of directors of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, which raises funds for the Hall of Fame, and are among the foundation’s principal benefactors. The Wilsons commissioned and donated the beautiful bronze sculpture, “Glory Days,” which graces the Hall of Fame’s display area and serves as its official logo. Mike Wilson has also contributed in the design and development of displays at the museum. Margaret Wilson, a longtime member of the Motor Maids, has ridden her motorcycles over 550,000 miles and is an enthusiastic supporter and promoter of women’s motorcycling clubs and events. She was awarded the AMA Bessie Stringfield Award in 2003.

Washington state’s Langley was acknowledged for his tireless work—800 to 1000 hours per year—maintaining riding trails in off-road-vehicle areas throughout his home state. The Boeing Company retiree was hailed by the state’s Department of Natural Resources as one of its top volunteers statewide in 2012.

Hailed for his unwavering dedication to protecting the interests of motorcycle, ATV, personal watercraft and snowmobile riders and dealers against unfair regulations and laws and proposing more equitable ones.