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AMA welcomes Hall of Famer Scot Harden as grand marshal: Vietnam veterans celebrated with motorcycle honor ride:Motorcycle club to build observation deck at Rocky Top veterans memorial

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PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association welcomes AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Scot Harden as grand marshal for 2018 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Royal Enfield, July 6-8 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, America’s grandest celebration of vintage motorcycling, showcases the fun, excitement and freedom of riding bikes of all brands and eras by riders of all ages. For 2018, the event will highlight adventure motorcycling and the extreme feats men and women achieve on two wheels.

“It’s an honor being named grand marshal for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days,” Harden said. “I look forward to seeing many old friends and fellow racers at the event. This year’s celebration and focus on the adventure side of motorcycling is especially close to my heart.

“Motorcycles, simply put, are the best ‘escape’ vehicles ever made. The sense of exploration and discovery motorcycling offers is second to none,” Harden said.

Among the greatest tests of rider and machine are multi-day, long-distance rally races such as Baja and Dakar, where Harden excelled.

“I look forward to sharing some of my two-wheeled adventures from Dakar, Baja and literally from 40 years of racing all over the world with my fellow enthusiasts,” Harden added. “I also look forward to sharing my Plus 1 Rider message designed to inspire current enthusiasts to bring new riders to the sport. Thanks to the AMA for providing such a great venue to bring all of us together.”

Harden is a longtime advocate of spreading motorcycling to new generations, and he recently created the Plus 1 Rider initiative, introduced in the January 2018 issue of American Motorcyclist, the journal of the AMA. The Plus 1 Rider initiative encourages motorcyclists to invite their non-riding friends and family into the sport and lifestyle of motorcycling.

As part of his grand marshal responsibilities at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Royal Enfield, Harden will talk about his career and the future of motorcycling, sign autographs, lead the Lap for History and meet and greet attendees. Harden’s presentation will be at 1:45 p.m. on Friday in the seminar tent in the Old Bike Barn Crossroads in the infield.

From 1971 until his final professional race in 2007—at the age of 51—Harden mastered a wide range of off-road disciplines, from riding on the U.S. Trophy Team at the International Six Days Enduro to competing in Dakar.

He also has compiled an impressive resume of motorcycle industry executive management positions and is well known as a brand builder, team manager, sales professional and product planner with such companies as Husqvarna, KTM, BMW and Zero Motorcycles.

Harden, who was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2008, also is owner of Harden Offroad, a business consulting practice specializing in the power sports and electric vehicle industries.

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Royal Enfield, includes national championship vintage racing in several disciplines; bike shows; seminars; vendors; live music at the Old Bike Barn Crossroads; exhibition racing; demo rides; the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Swap Meet, brought to you by Federal Motorcycle Transport; and more.

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days tickets are on sale now. To buy your tickets, visit Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course online at www.midohio.com or by call (419) 884-4000. Children 12 and younger get in free with a ticketed adult. Free parking is also available on site.

Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which is located on the AMA campus in Pickerington, Ohio. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to tell the stories and preserve the history of motorcycling’s legends and heroes. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at www.motorcyclemuseum.org.

Keep up to date on event announcements by liking and following AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days on Facebook www.facebook.com/AMAVintageMotorcycleDays and using #AMAVMD on Instagram and Twitter.

For more information, visit www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com

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Biker and veteran Michael “Flash” Bunting is a member of the Rocky Top Defenders Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, a club focused on doing good in their community. Originally called the Cumberland Gap Defenders, it was spearheaded by the late Campbell County Detective Mike Starrett.

Bunting stood before Rocky Top city council last Thursday to ask permission to build and raise money for an observation deck at the Veterans Memorial behind the Rocky Top library. The Defenders held a wreath presentation on Memorial Day and also spent some time cleaning up the area, removing tree limbs, trimming the bushes, installing new lights and planting flowers.

“There’s hardly any grass there,” he said. “The water pools up. We want to make an observation deck. Since we’ve started doing the wreath presentation there, we’ve seen that some people are standing on uneven ground, and this year it rained and it was horrible.”

He made the comment in passing that the area needed a deck and others quickly latched onto the idea. Within a week, they had raised $400. Bunting estimates it will cost around $5,000 to build it.

“There’s just a lot of shade and no grass,” he said. “Right now it’s probably filled with water because the drainage isn’t great there.”

The goal is to have the deck built by Veterans Day.

The club has been active in the area for years.

“After Mike passed away, they were getting ready to shut [the club] down,” said Bunting.

Bunting was in another chapter at the time and was asked to come help them out between 2015-2016. He served as president of the chapter for two years and stepped down this year.

He originally joined in 2012.

“We’re a law enforcement club,” he said. “We’re comprised of law enforcement, fire, EMS and military veterans ­— and, some people that believe in the same values that we have.”

Bunting served in the military for eight years, first as field artilleryman in the U.S. Army, then with the military police. When he left, he got hired on at Y-12 in Oak Ridge and has been there 18 years.

His fellow riders gave him the nickname “Flash” because of his interest in photography.

The Defenders do rides to help raise money for charity events and hold boot drives. While their focus is mostly on Rocky Top, they have also held fundraisers for the Campbell County Children’s Center and will do so again this year.

In 2016, the Defenders were asked to help raise money for Christmas baskets for needy residents of Rocky Top. The baskets were historically funded through the Walk Through Bethlehem Christmas program, but when that was canceled, they were asked to help out.

Within four hours, they raised $2,000 through a road drive. The money was used to buy all the food and gifts that go in the baskets, and the club members helped put the baskets together and pass them out.

“Some of us even delivered the baskets to the families that couldn’t get to us,” he said.

The Defenders have members from Williamsburg, Kentucky, all the way to Maryville, Tennessee.

For more information, email Bunting at rockytop44lemc@gmail.com or visit RockyTop44.com.

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1011 Now

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nearly 50 years after the Vietnam War, a group of motorcyclists from around Nebraska gathered to make sure veterans of this war were honored for their service.

“We want to thank them, and welcome them home the way they should have been welcomed home,” said Glenn Shriner, an organizer of Saturday’s event.

The group of nearly 200 motorcyclists and two dozen veterans rode from Lincoln to Tecumseh, with their final stop Montz Motorcycle Museum.

“The start of motorcycle clubs is from the veterans,” Shriner said. “That’s the beginning of the whole era so we thought, ‘What’s a better place to take them than where they started something?'”

Veterans who attended said it meant a lot to them to have this kind of celebration.

“My family is from Lincoln,” said Jim Gordon, a veteran. “I was born and raised here, and I know that the people here care, but these are people from all over the state, many of whom I don’t know, who are coming out for me and for us. It just makes you want to hug them.”

Event organizers said they were so pleased with this year’s turnout, they plan to hold another honor ride for veterans next year.

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