Champion of riders’ rights to join AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce another member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2009: Mona Ehnes, a long-time champion of off-highway motorcyclists’ rights. Ehnes will be among the motorcycling heroes honored at the 2009 induction ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas this Dec. 5.
"Mona Ehnes is one of motorcycling’s most dedicated rights activists," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. "She not only embodies the spirit of advocacy but also possesses the even rarer fortitude to act on her convictions. I’m thrilled that our voters are honoring Mona and her accomplishments by giving her a well-deserved place in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame."
Added Kathy Van Kleeck, senior vice president of government relations for the Motorcycle Industry Council and chairwoman of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Leadership/Motorcycle Rights Advocates Committee: "Mona is truly a legend in the off-highway vehicle community — a shining example of a quiet leader who has set the gold standard through her thousands of hours of volunteer work and dedication to protecting off-highway vehicle recreation. What Mona’s biography can’t convey is her relentless passion for the cause and her can-do spirit. She tackles difficult issues head-on to find solutions and re-energizes all with whom she works. No one could be more deserving of this highest honor."
Ehnes charged into the fight for motorcyclists’ rights in 1967, when controversial legislation was introduced that would have restricted off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding opportunities in her home state of Montana. Ehnes has been at the front lines of the OHV rights battle ever since, as a founding member of both the Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association and the Montana Trail Vehicle Association. She remains both an active advocate and off-highway motorcyclist today, and serves as executive assistant to the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council.
"I’ve been a member of the AMA for some time, and I’ve always supported the AMA Museum, so this is such an honor," Ehnes said. "I’ve been involved with motorcycles and motorcycling since the ’60s. Dirt biking is my life. If somebody is willing to give me this kind of recognition, then I hope that it inspires other riders who love dirt biking as much as I do to get out and get involved."
Ehnes added that one of the most significant lessons she’s learned in her four decades of service to the OHV community is that it’s necessary to tailor the OHV-access message to a non-riding audience.
"The most important thing we need to realize is that when you advocate for our rights, you’re almost always talking to non-motorcycle people," she said. "You’re talking to agency people who have no idea about the sport at all. They don’t know the type of joy you get from riding. They do not realize that this is a family sport."
The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame 2009 Induction Ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will take the annual event to a new level. Impressive even by Las Vegas standards, with an 84-foot guitar marking the entrance and all the glitz and memorabilia that fans have come to expect at Hard Rock Café locations around the world, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has been recently renovated with new rooms, a new convention space and a new concert venue. Ticket information will be announced shortly on the Museum website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.
Located on the park-like campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum honors individuals who have made lasting contributions to protecting and promoting the motorcycle lifestyle. Its members include those who have excelled in racing, road- and off-road riding, pushed the envelope in motorcycle design, engineering and safety, and championed the rights of riders in both the halls of government and the court of public opinion.
The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Committee includes 11 members in addition to the chairman. There are 10 committees, each representing a different aspect of motorcycling. Five represent various racing disciplines, and five represent non-racing interests.