Every year the Dirt Diggers North put on the huge event that lately has been the first round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The fans love it, TV covers it live and the place is steaming with energy. But behind the scenes there is a lot more going on that is very important to every person that rides a dirt bike. The AMA District 36 Legislative Action Office has a program to show our elected officials what we motorcycle riders, dirt bike riders specifically, are really all about.
Each year there is a special dignitary area set up for viewing the races. Dave Pickett is the man behind all this working tirelessly as the director of District 36’s Legislative Action Office. In the process of making sure politicians are properly informed about issues affecting off-highway vehicle use, the Hangtown event is a way to show them first hand who and what we are. Every year the VIP seating area is filled with a lot of the people who are working to keep your right to ride available and the elected officials who ultimately make a lot of decisions affecting that right.
This year the dignitary area hosted Congressman Dan Lungren who represents California’s 3rd Congressional District and State Senator Ted Gaines for California’s 1st District as well as members of their staff. County officials and high ranking California State Parks officials are known to make appearances. Also in attendance were members of California’s OHV Commission and members of the American Motorcyclist Association’s Congress. This platform shows the elected officials that we are a family sport that enjoys outdoor recreation and that we spend and bring money into communities. It shows them that a properly run state park can bring in revenue to the state and give back to the taxpayers who support it. Especially in times of huge budget deficits with OHV money being ripped off to pay for other programs, most dirt bike riders have no idea this stuff is even going on or how important it is to them next time they expect to be able to unload and go riding. We need the support of these elected officials because they make these kinds of decisions for us.
To further the cause and to help support the activities of the D36 LAO, there is an ongoing raffle (check www.ama-d36.org) for a sweet KTM 350 XC-F that has been tricked out by supporters of the cause. Many members of D36 and surrounding areas may not realize that half of the yearly district dues goes to support activities to keep riding areas open. This money allows the LAO to work with politicians to head off bad legislation and keep an eye on Forest Service and BLM policy and make sure we don’t get locked out since most OHV users are not informed or up to speed on all the issues.
So what can you do? Well stay informed and make sure you vote because as a group, we have a pretty strong voice, enough to make a difference when time comes to keep or put someone in an elected office that will be making decisions about your riding future. And if you are reading this from afar and have a big event to show off, think about inviting some of your elected officials to show them the strengths and positives of our sport.