So, in one of my last few posts, I outlined Rebecca’s and my two-day, 1700-mile ride out to Carson City Nevada (last July 2012) for the sixth AMA Women and Motorcycling conference. Part two of the tale, which will take us through some of the conference highlights, follows. Are you ready to roll? Well, get ready, babies, ‘cuz here it comes. LOL!
Day one of the conference, July 26th, started off with conference participants gathering on their bikes at the rear parking lot of the Gold Dust Casino. We were welcomed by event organizers and then led through the process for how to ride the parade route safely.
Conference goers, escorted by the local police, then rode through the streets in parade formation to the AMA opening ceremony, held in the beautiful, outdoor Carson City Capitol Amphitheater. The day was fresh, warm, and bright and the mood of the crowd, jovial. Our very funny emcee, Jessica Irving, who is the grassroots coordinator for the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), introduced herself, the head of the AMA, and various other speakers, including the Mayor of Carson City, who issued a hearty welcome to all of us from the entire city.
Capping off the opening ceremonies was a performance by a local Native American tribe. Alas, I’m so ashamed of myself for not writing down these folks’ tribe. I think they were Washoe, but I might be wrong about that. Anyway, four members of tribe performed: two men who drummed and sang and two dancers, a son and a father. The son was a pre-teen who was in training and learning the sacred dances from his father. This kid was so totally adorable and very talented. The dancers’ hand-made regalia was absolutely breath-taking and their warm welcome to us, by way of sacred song and dance, brought tears to my eyes; it was so moving and such a huge treat.
Obviously, one of the coolest aspects of the conference was the fact that everywhere you looked, all over town, we saw women on all different kinds and sizes of bikes. It was truly a spectacle. The streets were crowded with mamas on their machines. And, surprisingly, lots of men attended, too. It was so fun to see all those dudes representin’ for their women like that. Personally, I was lusting after all of the motorcycles. I mean, every kind and color imaginable. I just walked up and down the rows of parked bikes drooling on all of those gorgeous machines. None of my wind-sisters seemed to mind. LOL!
A huge highlight of the trip for me was meeting two remarkable women who, on day two of the conference, rode up together as I was going in to catch one of the seminars. I met the prolific and talented writer, Genevieve Schmitt, founder and editor of Women Riders Now magazine and the very sweet, Amy Skaling of Team Diva. I’ll start with Genevieve Schmitt. First off, she rides a bad-ass, custom Street Glide with a killer paint job. Her bike is leather-brown denim with orange and white flames, pictured below.
Genevieve’s an itty-bitty woman (thin as a rail), but she rides a ton and just slaps that big bike around, which impresses the hell out of me. Ms. Schmitt has done a ton for the female motorcycling community. Since 1999, she’s been a journalist writing articles about women motorcyclists and products of interest to women riders including reviews of motorcycles. Through the pages of her online magazine, She has given women riders a place to connect with each other, form a supportive community, and become inspired. Check out Genevieve’s online magazine here: WomenRidersNow.
Amy Skaling, founder of the company, Team Diva, is also a huge inspiration to female bikers and a real hoot, to boot. I’ve written about Amy before. She runs a company, Team Diva, that specializes in custom, hand-made, bedazzled hats, and other headwear, that are, like her bike, equally shimmering and beautiful creations.
Speaking of her bike, Amy rides a big-ass Road Glide that she lovingly calls her “Diva Glide”. When I saw her bike, I nearly fell over from shock (and glee). Amy has bedazzled her entire bike with Austrian lead crystals. It’s beautiful and so over-the-top that you just have to smile when you see it. In addition, Amy’s bike has an absolutely gorgeous paint job. Her bike shimmers with color and “bling”. There’s no missing Amy or her bike.
Amy attends numerous motorcycle rallies and conferences selling her wares and doing activist work for American Veterans. I love Amy. She has done so much to advance female ridership and further causes that support our country’s Veterans. Oh, and by the way, Amy is also the organizer of the up-coming all-chick ride and drive on April 11th, during AZ Bike Week. The ride will benefit “Helping With Horsepower “ program, which helps troubled and at-risk youth by letting them build or restore a motorcycle together.
Tune in next time for the conclusion to this adventure of ours. I promise, peeps. I’ll finish writing this tale before we hit the one-year anniversary of this trip. At least, I hope I will. LOL!