By Heather Wilson
Bryan Much earned his AMA EAGLES certification and has been named state coordinator for AMA of Wisconsin, a volunteer position.
AMA EAGLES (Education, Activism, Growth, Leadership, Expertise, Skills) is an advocacy and leadership program that empowers members with knowledge, tools and resources tailored to their interests. Through it, members learn about the AMA and become better grassroots activists, public relations representatives and membership advocates.
Much has been riding for 40 years, off- and on-road, and currently rides a KTM 500 EXC and a Yamaha Super Ténéré. He logs many miles on his bikes and provides GPS routes for others to go on their own adventures at www.cannonshot.net.
Much is serious about riding, but he is just as serious about protecting motorcyclists’ rights. He creates trails, serves as the off-highway-motorcycle representative on the Governor’s State Trails Council, is on the Governor’s Off-Road Vehicle Council and communicates with other motorized trail user groups.
But he says it’s not enough for AMA members to just be active and effective advocates. They also should be helping others join the fight.
“We also need to be consciously developing additional skilled advocates to expand our representation and influence,” Much says. “We need to be training our replacements. This requires structured training and a mentoring program.”
Much shared his riding background with us and what he enjoyed about the AMA Eagles program, which provides graduates with a firm foundation in the promotion of the motorcycle lifestyle and the protection of the future of motorcycling.
American Motorcyclist: What kind of riding do you do?
Bryan Much: My primary interests are with dual-sport, adventure and trail riding, but I really enjoy touring and entertaining day rides on the highways.
AM: Where do you like to ride?
BM: It is hard to beat the back country in the western mountain states. The terrain and scenery are fabulous and entertaining. I also enjoy riding dual-sport and trails in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. And I enjoy road rides that explore history with points of interest to visit along the way.
AM: What interested you in the AMA EAGLES program?
BM: Many of us had to learn to be advocates the hard way. The EAGLES program is appealing because it is a uniform and structured opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in those whom we want to represent our interests.
The tried and true tactics and techniques in the program can quickly elevate the potential of those we are trying to develop. I wanted to complete the program and then incorporate it into getting more potential advocates up to speed on advocating for us.
AM: What did you find most helpful in the AMA EAGLES program?
BM: The program addresses a broad array of skills needed to be effective as an advocate. I really valued the written guidance about how to deal with government officials at all levels.
I also like that people come to understand the position statements of the AMA, as it is important for us to maintain a uniform message on the issues.
If I had to say what I liked most, I guess it would be that the program was thorough and well-developed and that it offered a structured approach to bringing people along as advocates.
AM: What do you hope to do in the future as an off-road advocate?
BM: I want to develop advocates to represent our recreational interests. We operate in what is often a complex environment.
Becoming an effective advocate, and avoiding harmful errors, requires the potential advocate to develop the wisdom and skill required to do the job.
AM: What is the biggest problem off-road riders face today?
BM: One of the biggest problems is access to land. Most other recreational interests can be accommodated in parks and on other public and private lands close to home. Riders usually don’t have these convenient opportunities to enjoy their recreational interest proximate to where they live. We compete with much larger recreation groups that often oppose our initiatives to get opportunities to ride. We need to keep our needs visible and be well represented as a group.
Interested in AMA EAGLES training? Contact Marie Wuelleh at (614) 856-1900, ext. 1224, or firstname.lastname@example.org.