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Historic AMA Board of Directors Awards

AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award

The AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award is presented annually to a road-riding individual who has contributed to the promotion of the motorcycling lifestyle and protection of the future of motorcycling. 

Previous Award Winners

Please note not all awards are given out annually.

Known to friends as “Texas,” Walker is a 40-plus year rider, with more than 20 years as a leader in motorcycle rights. As the government relations specialist for the Washington Road Riders Association, a state-level motorcycle rights organization, he has been involved in efforts to preserve the rider education account as a dedicated fund, strengthen laws to punish drivers who injure or kill motorcyclists, make roadway infrastructure more “friendly” to motorcyclists, pass legislation giving motorcyclists the option to proceed through a red light when their bikes fail to trigger the traffic signal and advocate for lane splitting legislation.

  • Zurl is a lifelong political activist and the state membership adviser and public relations officer for ABATE of Pennsylvania. In a 2015 interview for American Motorcyclist magazine, Zurl said, “I learned at an early age that complaining at the diner counter accomplishes nothing. Most of the state and federal legislators are unfamiliar with motorcycling or motorcycling issues, and look to riders for answers. I realized I needed to have open discussions with the legislators, take action and offer solutions.” Zurl has participated in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Motorcycle Safety Steering Committee meetings to tackle such issues as distracted driving, motorcyclist licensing and impaired riding. And he has joined other motorcyclists to address such issues as funding the state motorcycle safety program, reducing turnpike tolls, proper vehicle registration, passenger age restrictions, parking restrictions and equipment laws.

Kobza has played a pivotal role in grassroots advocacy in California. Most recently, he was instrumental in the passing of the state’s lane-splitting bill. He is also a member of Vision Zero San Francisco, the first motorcyclist to be appointed to the city’s Vision Zero committee. Kobza serves on the California Motorcycle Safety Committee and the California Motorcyclist Safety Program advisory committee. In addition, Kobza is the owner and moderator of the Bay Area Riders Forum, an internet-based community of tens of thousands of registered members who exchange information and opinions on all things motorcycling.

Berson’s involvement in motorcycle advocacy began in 2008, when he fought discriminatory regulations in New York City. At the same time, he helped organize opposition to motorcycle-only checkpoints operated by the New York State Police. With the creation of the volunteer-driven New York Motorcycle & Scooter Task Force, motorcyclists from all walks of life marshaled their energies to improve safety, parking, awareness, education, advocacy and licensing for motorcycle and scooter riders.

Pendleton was instrumental in helping the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., 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.

Green was honored for his tireless efforts to train armed forces personnel at Fort Knox in Kentucky and his commitment to the Kentucky Motorcycle Rider Education Program. Green has successfully trained more than 3,000 students, conducted 111 Basic RiderCourses, 51 Basic RiderCourses2, 19 Military Sportsbike RiderCourses and 5 Advance RiderCourses.

  • Trow was selected for his progressive work with motorcyclists at Stayin’ Safe, an on-road rider coaching school that introduces advanced riding techniques in real-world environments. Trow is also author of the Rider Magazine‘s “Riding Well” motorcycling proficiency column.

AMA District 36 (Northern California) Director Wollner has been doing that for more than two decades. As a District 36 vice president and a three-time president of the Port Stockton MC, Wollner organizes 18 road events a year through the club.

AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award

The AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award is presented annually to an off road-riding individual who has contributed to the promotion of the motorcycling lifestyle and protection of the future of motorcycling. 

Previous Award Winners

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.