Don't forget!! Deb will be holding a mx school at the 2000 AMA Conference in Athens, OH on July 14-15!!!!

1999 AMA Womens Motorcycling conference quotes

 Marketing and Planning Seminar

Speaker- Elaine Ruff - Acerbis/WML

  One of the most important elements in marketing is understanding and education.  Im not here to talk to you about marketing a particular product, Im here to talk to you about marketing an attitude.  Im here to talk to you about our athletes.  

Nike commercial- If you let me play sports I will be 60 % less likely to develop breast cancer.   I will be less likely to get pregnant before I want to.  If you let me play sports I will be more likely to leave a man who beats me. If you let me play sports,  I will learn what it means to be strong. 

Reebok commercial- Rebecca Roundtree (WNBA) - As women were not supposed to cross that line.  We are told this is a mans sport.  I want to tell them that hey, I can play this game. Without this league I would have nowhere to play.  This is history in the making.  Its a once in a lifetime thing.  I dont need to play overseas.  I can play right here in my own country and get paid for it.

Nike commercial-  Mia Hamm (Soccer)  The best football player in America will not be seen on television today, not while there is a pro bowlers tour.  America did not see the best football player in the world win a gold medal in Atlanta.  America did not see the best football player win our only World Cup.  Because all the networks agree, the best football player in America isnt good for ratings.

 Elaine- In Dec 1995, my partners and I addressed the AMA Board of Trustees in Las Vegas Nevada.  It was our goal to  communicate to the AMA, the daily struggles and the discrimination that our female athletes are facing.  I am very thankful to the AMA for organizing this conference and allowing me the opportunity to share these struggles with you. 

In 1992 I was attending a motocross race when I was approached by two women riders.  Like many of us in the industry, I required education.  It was at this event that I was given the opportunity to see first hand, how our motorcycling community treats the female athlete...  At the end of the event the promoter passed out trophies for the mens divisions.  There was nothing for the girls. What was most amazing to me, was that the girls anticipated this.  They brought their own trophies.  They brought their own contingencies ! 

It was also at this event that I learned that the Italian Federation had extended an invitation to the AMA asking for our top female Motocross riders.  Well, there was no way that the AMA would know who the top motocross riders were, because they had no way of ranking them.  The AMA turned the request over to a local womens organization, who in turn contacted me.  Within two short weeks we organized travel, accommodations and bikes for the three riders.  Im proud to say that our riders placed in 3 of the top 5 positions at that race

 I have been so happy and excited to work with this group of women.  They are educated, articulate, the perfect representation for our industry.

 Ive been in male dominated industries all my life.  Ive had a great deal of  challenge in my personal life and in my business.  But I can honestly tell you that this has been one of the most difficult roads I have ever experienced, because it is not fair. 

These women deserve our support.  These women deserve opportunity.  Think about it... You go out and you buy a brand new motorcycle.  Then we spend countless hours during the week practicing our skills.  Its finally time... We roll up and they tell us, theres no class for you.  You cant ride.

 Why would the motorcycling industry elect to disregard over 50% of the population.  Why are we ignoring the women that are so dedicated to our competition?

 Donna Lopiano, who was the Executive Director of the Womens Sports Foundation states, Sports... Its a very powerful social change tool because it teaches women confidence, self esteem and strength.  It changes them.  Its part of the reason that  the guys wanted women out of sports for a very long time.  

Why do we need these athletes?  First of all they represent our industry to the masses.  Do you realize that if our girls were able to compete in the same Outdoor Nationals and Stadiums, that they would be reaching out and touching over 3 million people ?  And that does not include the additional media that would open up, such as Sports Illustrated for Women and Lifetime.  The second reason that we need to support our athlete is because they invite others in to join us.  They are the spokespeople in many ways.

 These athletes serve as role models.  Women need role models.  They need to see other women in leadership roles that excelled in sport.  It is through these role models that younger women develop a healthy understanding of their own potential.

 It is not strictly an issue of gender equality, it is one of social responsibility.

 Facts about women in sports...  Women who are active in sports and recreational activity as children have higher self esteem and greater self confidence than those who are not involved in athletics as children.  As little as two hours a week of exercise may lower a teenage womens life long risk of breast cancer.  92% of young women who participate in sports do not use drugs.

 Will Rogers once said, You can be on the right track, but youre still gonna get run over if you just sit there.

Dee Modglin - Femmegear 

Those of you who know someone whos just getting started, whatever they need to get that extra encouragement, give it to them, because this is a wonderful sport. 

Marjorie Charney - BMW 

Its so wonderful to look around and see so many women motorcyclists in one place.  I can remember  in the old days, you could ride for weeks, months and years without seeing another woman motorcyclist.  And believe me I did look under every helmet on every bike.

 Until the beginning of the last decade, women riders have been relativly isolated.  But today we have over 400 women riders in this auditorium alone.  Why?  Because as more and more women come into the work force, become visable in all walks of life, more prominent in their households, or become heads of households, we see more women becoming motorcyclists.  

This is a viable market segment.  This viable market segment needs to be developed, enlarged, addressed, advertised to and sold to.

 Part of the challenge of marketing and product planning for women is our responsibility.  If we want to be percieved as a strong force in the marketplace we have to do a little work to get it.

Weve got our heroines, thats for sure, but alot of us dont even know who they are, and certainly outside of the motorcycling community no one knows who they are.

 We are youre daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, business associates, service suppliers, you name it.  Who in this room has not experienced that feeling of power any number of times per given ride.  Who has not felt that power by learning the skillls, knowing ones limits or riding through a bad storm to get where you neeed to be.  We as women, need to give ourselves permission to seek that power... to lust for it , to pursue it.

 We need to preach to the unconverted.  To lead other women to experience this wonderful gift of freedom and self expression.

Diane Carter - U.S. Suzuki 

One of the challenges that we as motorcycle manufactures face is : We need to manufacture quality motorcycles that fit a wide range of riders.  We need to accomidate riders of varying sizes and shapes with varying levels of ability.  Entry level riders require managable power, reasonable performance, good quality, ease of maintenance in a nicely styled package.  Experienced riders would expect more power and top shelf performance. At the same time men and women are looking for motorcycles that fit them physically.

 As manufactures we need to develop marketing strategies that address the issues and needs of as many potential customers as we can and make sure that the motorcycle dealers make that commitment to provide retail product that fits the needs of their customers.  As we meet these challenges there is no doubt that the next few years are going to be alot of fun.

Lynn Sweet- -Harley Davidson 

Suddenly you have become a part of something bigger...  You feel a connection with the sun and the wind and the road. You have a view of the world that only a fellow (motorcyclist) can appreciate.

Racy Women Seminar 

Cathy Templeton - AMA Pro Hillclimber

I won my first race.  Right away, I noticed that whole boy/girl thing.  I remember there was alot of teasing going on amoungst the other boys in my class.  There was that whole you got beat by a girl thing.  It really upset me because Ive always considered myself, and still do consider myself just another rider.

 As of 1997, I am the first ever female AMA pro hillclimb racer.  Im rather excited by all the attention I am getting because of this, but Im also a little dissapointed that it has taken so long for women to step into this position.

 Why do I continue to put myself through the agonizing anguish, the mental and physical competitiveness to succeed in such a testosterone infected enviornment, when most women my age are out developing famlies or careers ?  To be honest  I dont know.  To tell you the truth, Ive never thought about those questions until I was asked to speak.  As I thought about it... I found the answers to be quite obvious.   The only reason why I stayed involved in racing for so long is because of the support and the encouragement from my family.  If  it wasnt for them, I would not be here today.  Especially my father who brought me my first motorcycle even though he could not afford it.

 Ive always wanted to race motocross.  There are alot of reasons why I never did it.  Im just gonna say right now, they are just  lame excuses.  And after talking with Debbie and Elaine of the WML this week I have to go out and try it.  I have to do it because I know I will regret it if I dont do it, and I figure it will be a great opportunity to actually race against other women.  I think that would be a unique experience for me. 

In racing, letting off on the throttle at all, can mean the difference between winning and losing.  Sometimes I think you need to be boarderline psycotic to race motorcycles.  Theres a fine line between staying in control and playing it safe, making sure you finish and hoping your ride is good enough for first place, as opposed to going so fast you are literally out of control, but knowing deep inside if you stay up, youre gonna win. 

One of the most rewarding aspects of racing has been for me when little kids come up to me and they want to talk to me at a race.  I especially like it when the little girls come up to me because it gives me an opportunity to talk to them and try and encourage them.  It doesnt matter if I win or if I lose, just the fact that they see me out there doing it is an influence in itself.  I never had any female role models when I  was growing up.  All I can think of is how lucky they are that they have that now.

 Given the equipment, the knowledge and the responsibility, I cant see why these kids should not be riding motorcycles.   And if one of those little girls goes home and she talks her mom or her dad into buying her a bike, or even racing that bike someday, then thats better than any trophy I could ever win.

 Hopefully, by the time she is my age she can just hop on a bike and not have to deal with all the blank stares and the bewildering comments.  If we continue to race and continue to be involved in events such as this, then that day is only going to come sooner.  I cant wait for that to happen because I ll know that I was a part of it and I think you will too.

Angelle Seeling - NHRA Motorcycle Drag Racer  

I started riding when I was 6 years old.  I have a brother who was racing motocross and I wanted to be just like him.  So I cried until my mom and dad bought me my first motorcycle.  It was Christmas.  It was a Suzuki JR 50, and it had a big red bow on it.  It was the most georgous thing I had ever seen in my life.

 At first my mom and dad would run along side of me when I would race.  They thought it was cute.  I would always lose.  But one day I finally won my first race, even though it was because the guy in first broke a chain...  I did bring my first trophy home and after that I was convinced and dedicated that I was going to win these races.

 As I got older, and the boys got bigger and stronger, and I wasnt growing much, I couldnt physically compete with the boys anymore.  There were not any girl races.  I wanted to compete.  I wanted to be out there and win.  My mom took me out of  it because she was afraid I would get hurt.  My dad focused more on my brother.  He wanted him to be a professional racer and they eventually made me quit.

 My mom put me into little girl things such as pagents, ballet, dance.  But everywhere I went, the only thing I talked about was motorcycles. 

When I was 19, my fiancee was called off to duty in the gulf war.  He had a street bike that he left with me to keep running while he was gone...   That was probably the biggest mistake of his life !  One weekend I took it out to the drag strip to see how fast it would go... It ended up being the funnest thing I have ever done in my life.

 Everything I always rode got slow.  I wanted something bigger and faster.  I wanted to race a top gas bike, but the chassis of this motorcycle is so big, and so heavy.  It has a car tire on the back of it and everyone told me you cant do it. Youre too little.  You have to be a man.

 Along time ago, somebody told me that I couldnt do something and I proved to them that I could.  All my life, if you want me to do something, all you have to do is tell me that I cant and I will go out  prove to you that I can!

 If you want to do something, you should never let anyone tell you you cant do it .  You should always have a goal no matter what you do in life.  If its to ride motorcycles,  to compete, or for a promotion at your job, you should write down your goals, believe in yourself, and dont ever give up, dont ever give in !

 Author Elinore Smith writes; It has long since come to my attention that people of accomplish ment rarely set back and let things happen to them.  They went  out and happened to things. 

Setting your goals lets you know where you are going, and allows you to determine how far you have already come.  The difference between where you are now and where your goal is tells you how much further you have to go.  A lack of opportunity is nothing more than a lack of purpose or direction.  If you dont know where you are going, how are you going to know when you get there.

Kelly Friend - Endurance Roadracer 

 One day I was at the race and I saw a woman racing.  She was at the back of the pack.  I watched her and thought... Oh man, I can kick your -----.  So we got serious, found a bike in a dumpster and re-built it, and I started racing.

 Some of my early influences were King Kenny Roberts, Evel Knieval and Janis Joplin.  King Kenny was amazing.  How can anybody lay a bike over like that and defy physics and gravity and win?   Evel Knieval was cool, he rode a motorcycle and he wore a cape!  Janis Joplin was cool because she rode a motorcycle and she was a woman.

 Im a racer, Im a rider, Im a person.  I kinda like to say that the only difference between me and the guys is that I have breasts.  I refer to them as breasticalls. 

In racing you are out there and you are so pumped.  You just gotta go.  You got to get that out of your system.  That part of that living experience, that very first adrennaline rush has to die, because you are dangerous when you are fast and you are not very good.  Then you are re-born into a new way of life of calming down and you usually go faster.

 Although... what we may do may be considered death defying, it is in reality, life giving.  It is that edge.  One of our favorite sayings is if youre not living life on the edge, youre taking up too much space.

 I encourage women to come up and talk to us.  We are approachable.  We are human.  One of the reasons I continue to race is that I am a public figure and I represent women... Roadracers, all of these types of disaplines, and motorcycling in general.  We have alot of responsibility on our backs.

 Eventually there will be an all womens roadrace team.  It may not be me, but I hope to at least to have shed some light to people about women.  We can do it.  We are good, we are seroius and we have alot of fun. 

Debbie Matthews - Formerly of the WML, current CEO of DM Sports-WSMX, Inc. 

Never in my mind did I envision the cost of this dream... The obstacles, struggle and pain I would encounter as I embarked on this journey... Never, did I realise how high I would soar as I experienced the joy, thrill and accomplishment this sport has given me in pursuit of this dream. 

In racing, I have encountered a few obstacles.  Bruised egos, threats, laughter, intimidation, anger and become a target of the very people who should have understood my passion for motorcycling, my motorcyling peers.

 I have experienced first hand the struggle for recognition, comprable programs and events.  I have lived the desire, dedication, commitment and passion women of motorcycling possess. 

Women riders currently are only listed as Amateur riders with the AMA in Motocross.  There is no provision currently in the AMA rules to advance to an A expert class status.  This pits experienced rides against beginning riders in the same competition.  It is not only dangerous but kills the motivation for the new rider knowing full well that she has no chance for recognition of her achievements against riders who possess her same skill levels.  Also having only one recognized championship event a year the incentive remained limited.  (note-Following this conference I was invited to meet with the AMA congress, where by unamious vote they added a womens A class effective 1998 and commited to growing womens programs, specifically the Outdoor National program and recognizing our Champion during the AMA Pro Awards banquet).

 We have been told by promoters that there is not enough time in the program to run a womens class.  And that it is at the promoters discression... How can this industry expect to grow female participation in the sport, if a bright red target is painted on the backs of women riders?

 Women need the opportunity to compete on a equal playing field.  Would tennis pit Andre Aggassi against Monica Seles, or Basketball, Lisa Leslie against Michael Jordan ?  Or would the World Boxing Federation pit Mohammed Ali against Sugar Ray Leonard?  Both are great fighters, but one out weighs the other by 60 pounds !  Just because they dont compete against eachother does not make them any less of a champion... 

We need to unite together in our common goal to change the rules, to challenge the status quo, to extend opportunity to all !  We have a passion and a legacy that will not be denied !  We possess the desire to achieve what others only dream or hope for... to reach inside ourselves and with an act of sheer will... create a legacy for others to follow. 

Dreams need encouragement to grow.  Ultimately it is perserverance will turn dreams to reality.

  We are true pioneers... forged in the heat of battle.  Determined, to make our mark in a sport that has been slow to embrace us.  We are here today to forge that path for other women  to follow, so if they invest the passion, deisre, commitment and dedication they will be recognised for their contributions to the sport. 

We are here today to re-write the book.  To open a new chapter for women in motorcycling.  You, like the women who have gone before you... Like the racers speaking before you today, are pioneers, driven by a common goal.  You are here, because you have refused to let others choose your path... You are here, because you have vision.  You are here, for your  passion and dedication to the sport. 

We need to encourage broader particiation by enlarging the opportunities available to women riders.  Educated the media and the promoters to the value of supporting womens programs.  Create incentive and recognition by growing womens programs and offering advancement.

 What will a recognized AMA pro program provide?  A reason for women to attend events, increasing spectators.  Provide entertainment, quality racing.  Increase sales... Women are loyal to companies that support them.  Encourage greater participation at all levels.

 Through the efforts of the AMA, factories, a womens national motorcycle coalition comprised of the leaders of most womens motorcycle organizations and this conference, things are changing.  By creating new opportunities, opening new markets, and expanding the vision that motorcycling is for everyone, we re-inforce the freedoms and values we all enjoy.

 In numbers we have great strength, commitment and passion.  Let us go forth with conviction...  By suppporting the athletes we support eachother.  Utilizing the media female athletes can enter into the hearts and homes of men and women across the world !  Opening their eyes and ears... altering and shaping their views and perceptions about motorcycling.

 Together as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers and partners we can forge a brighter future for all !

Women in retail

Kelly Appleton - Sloans Honda

 A couple of girls walked into the sales showroom one day.  I noticed them right away.  I watched them as they kneeled around the bike, and I waited for a sales person to come up and greet them.  I waited and waited.  It never happened.  So I thought our sales people must be busy.  So I looked over the showroom and they were sitting right over there.  One guy was sitting there just staring at them.  I thought, What is his deal, so I thought Ill look for the other sales guy.  I found him, leaned back in his chair tappin his pencil on the desk.. What is their problem?  My blood pressure just about went out the roof...  I finally became angry, and I thought well fine, Im just gonna take care of them.  I left the parts department and walked out onto the floor, greeted them, started a conversation with them, and it turns out they bought two brand new motorcycles that day.  They paid cash ! We learned two very important lessons from that experience.  For me, it taught me that women are not often treated the same as men when it comes to buying a motorcycle.  Ive worked in a dealership all my life.  I thought the way they treated me, was the way they treated everyone.   It turns out its not like that.   The salesmen learned something very important.  They learned you cant make commission on something you dont sell... and the most important thing is that women do buy motorcycles! 

I began to take a look at how female friendly our store was.  To be honest, I didnt like what I saw especially after this experience.  I made a commitment that day to better serve our female customers.  Because of that experience our dealership is now a better place and our staff are better people. 

Please dont assume just because the customers are women that they will not buy.  Whether the staff knew it or not, women are the decision makers in the household when it comes to a major purchase. 

We have had a chance to get to know some of the greatest people... our women customers.

 Julie Munson - Motorcycle Industry Magazine

 My work has allowed me to hear quite a few comments about how far our industry has come in creating more products for women.  Ive also heard from women and men both about how far this industry needs to go before it can honestly say that it is doing all it can to bring more women into the riding public.

 Women are racing at levels in Motocross, Roadracing and Superbike, that many may have dreamed impossible just a few years ago.

 Most of you no doubt know of more women in your own area or in youtr own local racing circuits who have acheived things of accomplishment.  Or do you?  Are these women pictured on the walls of your local dealers with splashy colorful posters that we all see depicting say, Jeremy McGrath?  My point is,  I bet that if more young women who are already interested in motorsports, girls who go to races with their boyfriends, family or by themselves.... If these women realized that there are women out there right now taking on this male dominated sport..., then they too might race. They would realize that it is possible and decide to follow these womens lead.

 Women riders need to really think seriously about working in this industry, because thats one way you are an influence and power over industry trends concerning product for women can grow.  By increased involvement all all levels of the sport... racing, riding, the dealerships, even the corporate level, women are working to make the business  of motorcycling a truly equal opportunity experience.

  If we have more women divising the marketing stratedgy for manufactures, maybe well see more ads with women riding bikes by themselves, not just in the back as a passenger.

 Work with the dealers in your area to create posters showing women featured in racing... Have them display them in the front window of the store.  This would bring alot of women into their shops. 

We need to demand better service.  It is our money, that is the bottom line.  Women are major purchasers, with purchasing power.  You must make your dealer realize that.

Debbie Coziahr - Coziahr Harley Davidson

 The independance, pride and spirit that our women riders show us has had such a positive effect on our dealership.  These very qualities have also brought new challenges for me as a owner,  such as a new and improved training for our male employees.  I have to admit that not that long ago, male chauvenisim ran rampant within our store.I found out the hard way that just because our male employees treated me with respect, that didnt necessarily mean that they would respect a female customer or even their female workers.  We now have training in what it means to be professional... 

Thank you all for bringing your spirit, pride and lots of fun into the motorcycle industry.

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