The 14th annual Meeting of the Minds held in Indianapolis,
Indiana, was a huge success thanks to the work of a number of
talented people available within the motorcyclists' rights movement.
This world class educational conference was hosted by ABATE of
Indiana. There were 337 attendees at this years conference. 42
states were represented as well as 4 attendees from the Federation
of European Motorcyclists' Associations (FEMA). All of these attendees
converged on Indianapolis to discuss future issues of concern
to motorcyclists, and share strategies to deal with these issues.
The highlight of this year's conference was a panel discussion that focused on the issue of accepting special insurance requirements for motorcyclists on helmet law modifications bills. This issue has generated contention among various groups across the nation. The leaders of all these organizations participated on this panel and proved that they can work through contentious issues successfully and focus on common goals. All agreed that unity is essential for motorcyclists to deal with all the issues affecting the future of motorcycling. Examples of the complex issues highlighted at this conference were globalization of the motorcycling community and a workshop presenting the preliminary findings in the MRF research project on state motorcycle insurance law.
This conference is the primary fund-raising event for the MRF. Treasurer Tom Pauley was elated with the stable financial status and steady growth of fiscal responsibility. Mr. Pauley commented, "Even though we had a few less participants at this year's MOTM, the show of support from the members and organizations was approximately the same as last year. The auction was extremely successful as well." The treasurer's report was presented and attendees were advised that copies of the financial report were available for review. The budget management process instituted by Mr. Pauley and supported by the efforts of the board of directors has eliminated the mid-summer financial crises of the past. The cost of running the MRF Washington, DC office has increased to $895 per day (up from $872 in 1997). Supporters were prompted to keep this in mind when considering the value of their contributions. Mr. Pauley even paid for one day of operation by auctioning his ponytail for a mere $900!
Last year's MRF member survey indicated a need for information on fundraising projects, insurance issues, and effective communications. These subjects were addressed in various new workshops throughout the weekend. The MRF's new Director of Events & Conferences, Rosemary Curtin stated, "Education of our own is the primary purpose of these seminars".
This year's MOTM workshops continued the drive to excellence motorcyclists have come to expect at MRF conferences. No less than 20 workshops offered 6 at a time in 4 time slots provided all from the oldest members to the first-timers the chance to learn new and old lessons valuable to motorcyclists. It was a team work exercise for attendees to get the most from these various education opportunities such as conference planning, legislative committee operation, conflict negotiation & resolution, information research, basic and advanced political activity, fourth amendment rights, and more. They were well attended and well received according to the post-conference surveys.
The 1998 Meeting of the Minds rejuvenated the unity of the rights movement and identified new directions for future action. Begin planning for next years Meeting of the Minds to be held September 24, 25 and 26, 1999 in Denver, Colorado now!
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