PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2019 AMA Board of Directors awards. The six award categories recognize outstanding contributions in the world of motorcycling and acknowledge support of the AMA mission to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.
The 2019 AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to legendary motorcyclist Malcolm Smith. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998 and declared a Hall of Fame Legend in 2012. Throughout Smith's storied racing career and subsequent business and philanthropic ventures, he has been an advocate for the AMA mission and its programs.
Other 2019 award recipients include:
- AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award: Larry Walker, Port Orchard, Wash.
- AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award: Lyon Payne, Hillsboro, Ore.
- AMA Bessie Stringfield Award: Genevieve Schmitt, Emigrant, Mont.
- AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award: North American Trials Council, Louisville, Ky.
- Friend of the AMA Award: Tom and Karen Umphress, Jordon, Minn.; Liza Miller, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Scot Harden, Menifee, Calif.; MotoVentures, Winchester, Calif.
AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award
Malcolm Smith’s name is synonymous with everything positive about motorcycling: fun, sportsmanship and excitement.
AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award winner Malcolm Smith
As a racer, Smith gained fame for his accomplishments in the Baja 1000 and for his gold-medal-winning rides in the International Six Days Enduro competitions. His notoriety reached well beyond the motorcycling community as the star of the influential 1970s motorcycle film, “On Any Sunday.” The movie helped launch an explosion in the popularity of off-road motorcycling in America.
Smith went on to become a successful businessman with his Malcolm Smith Motorsports motorcycle dealership in Riverside, Calif. He also organized numerous fundraising rides in Baja, Mexico, that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for an orphanage in Valle de la Trinidad, Baja California.
Smith has long been a supporter of the AMA and the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, which raises money for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. He has donated motorcycles—including his Husqvarna 400 Cross—riding gear and helmets to the Hall of Fame museum, and he helped promote the 2007 exhibit “Malcolm!”
Smith also has contributed thousands of dollars to support the AMHF.
"I want to thank the AMA for this award. It means a lot to me," said Smith, who is currently recovering from a non-riding accident. "Motorcycles and motorcycle people have been a big part of my life and have given so much to me, I am just glad to have had the opportunities I have had, and to give back whenever I could."
AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award
The recipient of the 2019 AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award is Larry Walker. The award is presented annually to an individual who has contributed to the promotion of the motorcycling lifestyle and the protection of on-highway motorcycling and has consistently demonstrated leadership, hard work and dedication to the AMA mission.
AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award winner "Texas" Larry Walker
Known to friends as “Texas,” Walker is a 40-plus year rider, with more than 20 years as a leader in motorcycle rights.
As the government relations specialist for the Washington Road Riders Association, a state-level motorcycle rights organization, he has been involved in efforts to preserve the rider education account as a dedicated fund, strengthen laws to punish drivers who injure or kill motorcyclists, make roadway infrastructure more “friendly” to motorcyclists, pass legislation giving motorcyclists the option to proceed through a red light when their bikes fail to trigger the traffic signal and advocate for lane splitting legislation.
"As a person who has always believed that service to the community was incumbent upon a citizen, not a path to fame or notoriety, I am deeply humbled to be considered for this award,” Walker said. “It is an honor to be included with the greats that have come before me."
AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award
The 2019 AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award, which recognizes the achievements of those who have contributed to the promotion of the motorcycle lifestyle and the protection of off-highway motorcycling, is presented to Lyon Payne.
AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award winner Lyon Payne
Since retiring as a metal fabricator seven years ago, Payne has averaged more than 650 hours a year working on trails in Oregon’s 364,000-acre Tillamook State Forest, where he has been riding dirt bikes since 1970.
With a chainsaw and grub hoe mounted to his trusty 1991 Kawasaki KDX that he calls “Kermit,” Payne has almost single-handedly developed 26 miles of trail in the forest. Thanks to Payne, other volunteers and the staff of the state Department of Forestry, the 250 miles of available trails in the forest system are fast becoming one of the preeminent off-highway riding areas in the country.
“I am very humbled and can’t say how much l appreciate this award,” Payne said. “This is something [I do] that allows me to pay it back to all the others before me who created the trail systems that I’ve ridden and raced on for years. All this would not be possible if it wasn’t for the assistance of the forest service personnel I am able to work with. The highlight of my day is hearing a rider exclaim, ‘How fun that trail was,’ and knowing I had a hand in putting it in.”
AMA Bessie Stringfield Award
The 2019 AMA Bessie Stringfield Award, which memorializes the accomplishments of AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bessie Stringfield and recognizes efforts to introduce motorcycling to new or underserved markets, is presented to Genevieve Schmitt.
AMA Bessie Stringfield Award winner Genevieve Schmitt
Schmitt has been a fixture in women’s motorcycling for many years. A longtime rider, she has been a print and television journalist since 1988, including the Speed Channel and the Outdoor Life Network.
In 2001, she started “Woman Rider” magazine to focus on the emerging women’s market. In 2006, she launched WomenRidersNow.com, providing articles, reviews and videos from a female point of view.
Schmitt also served in an advisory capacity for the 2009 and 2012 AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conferences. As a subject-matter expert, she has been quoted in numerous articles, radio shows and television documentaries, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, BBC and Fox News.
"This recognition is a nice validation from the motorcycle community that the work I’ve been focused on, that is putting the spotlight on the influence of women in motorcycling, has had an impact and made a difference,” said Schmitt, who has inspired thousands of women to ride their own motorcycles. “For that, I am extremely humbled and grateful."
AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award
The North American Trials Council is the recipient of the 2019 AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award, which honors the memory of ambassador and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Hazel Kolb.
AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award winner the North America Trials Council staged this event in Arizona.
Introducing youngsters to riding is arguably the most important activity to sustain the motorcycling lifestyle, and the North American Trials Council does this with great success through its many club and national events for youth. The advent of small electric trials motorcycles has allowed younger and younger children to learn the joy of riding. As a result, the NATC has steadily grown into a major force, creating a powerful and positive image for motorcycling.
“On behalf of the entire North American Trials Council, I would like to thank the AMA Board of Directors for this wonderful honor,” said NATC CEO Brad Baumert. “This award recognizes of all the hard work, enthusiasm and passion that has been put into our National MotoTrials series for the past 46 years. The family atmosphere that is generated at our events promotes what the AMA is all about—maintaining the motorcycling lifestyle. Many of the champions and participants in our series have become successful professionals, and have remained lifelong advocates, enthusiasts and promoters of motorcycling.”
Friend of the AMA Award
The Friend of the AMA award is presented to one or more in the motorcycling community, including clubs, companies, sponsors and/or partners that have strongly supported the AMA mission and programs.
Friend of the AMA Award winners Tom and Karen Umphress
AMA members Tom and Karen Umphress have been active riders and advocates for the riding community in Minnesota since the late 1990s, working with other on-road motorcycle organizations, such as ABATE of Minnesota and the Christian Motorcycle Association. Karen also worked for the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council from 2008 to 2017. The couple became AMA State Chapter Coordinators for Minnesota in 2018, volunteering to support AMA recreational riding activity and promote the fun of motorcycling.
“We are amazed and grateful to be recipients of the Friends of the AMA Award,” Karen Umphress said. “The AMA is an important organization to both of us. We have been able to work with the organization and a lot of wonderful people to further on- and off-road riding opportunities for a number of years.”
Tom Umphress added: “The motorcycle community is one of the best groups of people out there. It has been our pleasure to work toward a great present and future of motorcycle riding in Minnesota and the nation.”
Friend of the AMA Award winner Liza Miller
Liza Miller founded the Re-Cycle Garage in Santa Cruz, Calif., in 2009, one of the nation’s first “do it yourself” community motorcycle repair and restoration cooperatives. She also started the weekly podcast, “Motorcycles & Misfits,” about all things motorcycling. Miller and her crew have been enthusiastic AMA supporters, have attended and promoted AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days and provide the AMA with a monthly 60-second PSA slot on “Motorcycles & Misfits.”
"I'm so honored to be receiving the Friend of the AMA Award,” Miller said. “I know how important the work is that the AMA is doing for the motorcycling community, and I do what I can to give my support back."
Friend of the AMA Award winner Scot Harden
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Scot Harden’s multi-decade career includes off-road racing championships, numerous motorcycle industry executive positions and service as an industry consultant.
In the January 2018 issue of “American Motorcyclist,” Harden launched the Plus 1 campaign to bring more people into motorcycling, have a positive impact on the sport and drive the next generation of enthusiasts forward. Harden also featured prominently in the 2018 appeal for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the AMA, but, honestly, I am no different than millions of other of motorcyclists around the country who are passionate about their sport and like to share that passion with others,” said Harden, who also was the recipient of the 2014 AMA Bessie Stringfield Award. “Thank you to everyone at the AMA for considering me for this award. I accept it with pride and as motivation to continue to do my best to bring more new riders to the sport.”
Gary LaPlante, who launched Friend of the AMA Award winner MotoVentures
MotoVentures was founded in 1998 in Southern California by motorcycle industry veteran and AMA Life Member Gary LaPlante with the goal of sharing his passion for riding and providing expert knowledge about how to ride.
MotoVentures’ programs reach individuals of all ages, ranging from beginners to experts, and deliver training for trials, motocross, dual sport and adventure riders.
“The staff at MotoVentures Inc. is thrilled that the AMA has chosen our company for the Friend of the AMA Award for our hard work over the past 19 years, teaching a wide variety of motorcycle riders, especially beginners, how to ride proficiently and safely,” LaPlante said. “This award confirms that our services are good and valuable and we are achieving our goals of creating life-long motorcyclists.”
For more information about the AMA Board of Directors Awards Program, to see past recipients and learn how to submit individual's names for future consideration, please visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com/For-Members/AMA-Awards/Board-Of-Directors-Awards/board-of-directors-awards.