First Meeting November 1981
First Meeting November 1981
Chapter H February 1984
Chapter H Directors
John Curtis 1981 - 1985
Tom Roach 1985
Ray Wolford 1985 - 1987
John Merrett 1987
Jim Kenny 1987 - 1988
Armando Ynostrosa 1988 - 1991
Glen Bontly 1993 - ?
Marshall Schreve 1997 - 2000
Steve Horne 2000 - 2001
John Simonick 2001 - 2002
Rick Elizondo 2002 - 2003
Patrick West 2003 - 2004
Charles Fleming 2005 - 2006
Bruce MacMaster 2007 - 2015
Sam "Brick" Reagle 2015 - 2016
Carl "Stoney" Batts 2017 - ?
The Birth Of Chapter H
In 1979 John Curtis joined the Gold Wing Road Riders, a motorcycle association that started in Arizona two years earlier. He received membership #923 and attended his first Wing Ding in Phoenix, an enjoyable experience that prodded him to consider starting a local chapter in San Antonio. In 1981 he discussed the idea with friends and made his first call for information. Local chapters, John discovered, were led by Area Representatives (ARs), Assistant Area Reps, and other officers. Ready to make the commitment, he enlisted John Meade to serve as the Assistant, but there was still work to do. A meeting place, Wyatts Cafeteria at Babcock and Loop 410, was selected and the date, November 6, 1981, was set. Flyers were posted at bike shops to announce the meeting and invitations were sent to Gold Wing owners, the list compiled from the Bexar County Motorcycle Registration Report and the Gold Wing Area List provided by GWRRA. Surely there were other owners who liked to stand around and kick tires, show off their machines, and ride for pure pleasure.
When the day arrived for the first meeting, John Curtis and John Meade had no idea how many people would attend. They wore identical tan vests with GWRRA patches, a style they had chosen, and Judy Curtis, then Witter, manned the registration table. Before long, interested Gold Wing owners poured into the North Room and extra tables and chairs were needed. Wow! What a surprise.
The Alamo Area Gold Wing Road Riders Association, Chapter H, was born. Not only was the room filled with motorcycle enthusiasts, many were ready to join GWRRA and several volunteered to fill officer positions. Tom Roach became the Tour Director and Tim Gressler took on the Safety Director position. Paul Walker took care of Ways & Means and Wayne Stanek volunteered to do the newsletter. On the same night, the 50/50 drawing was introduced and a regular meeting place for Sunday rides was established, the Boots at North Star Mall which, at that time, was surrounded by a large parking lot. The new group also decided to discuss and choose Chapter H colors.
John Curtis kept the first four years worth of newsletters for Chapter H, and they provide a pleasurable trip down memory lane, giving glimpses of fun and crazy rides, growth pains of the chapter, and enduring relationships. There were 59 members and 20 associates by the time Chapter H was one year old. Original chapter colors included a tan vest, brown pants and a red shirt, but two years later the members switched to a blue jean vest with blue jeans and a red shirt. In the summer of 1984, Chapter H members gathered their bikes in front of John Mahaffey’s Cycle World for a panoramic picture that is truly impressive. A copy hangs in John’s study.
Activities were always numerous. Sunday rides were a given, as well as Friday night dinner runs. Chapter H members also attended the GWRRA regional rallies held in Eufaula, OK and Hot Springs, AK, and Wing Dings held in Phoenix, AZ and Steamboat Springs, CO, as well as Texas Motorcycle Riders Association activities, such as the Texas 300, the Hillcountry Tour, the Lost Alaskan, the Seagull Run and the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. As always, Aspencade in Ruidoso was fun. At the same time, service to the community was also a given. Members delivered gifts for Elf Louise, worked as ushers for the Spurs games, and worked as road guards for the Wildflower bicycle trials. To earn money for the chapter, they manned a 4th of JULY fireworks stand and sponsored a yearly Carnival Run. Friendships grew, and many members opened their homes for water volleyball parties, hot tub parties, Super Bowl parties, or a relaxing day at the lake.
While John served as the Area Representative for Chapter H, many members stepped up to fill the officer positions. Other Assistant Area Reps after John "Also" Meade included Marvin Bland, Wayne Hoffman and Rodger Glenn. Besides Tom Roach, Howard Kahmann and Owen Lancaster served as Tour Directors. The Safety Director position that Tim Gressler held changed to a Program position. Those who served as Program Chairpersons included Gene Fisher, Paul Walker, Byron Smith, Pat Loomis and Jim Kenney. Paul Walker turned over Ways & Means to Guy Cox and Sandy Blackmon. Liz Lautner started as Treasurer until Lonnie Laird found his niche and filled that roll. Georgia Lursen served a stint as Secretary, Trisha Woodworth as Publicity Chairperson, and Ken Robinson as Sergeant at Arms. After Wayne Stanek moved, the position of newsletter editor was filled by Gene Fischer, Judy Witter (now Curtis), Donna Young, Mary Rutan and Will Ford. And what group could survive without a telephone committee in those days. John Merritt, Michael Lucero, Melba Bartay and Anita Carlock served in that capacity.
After reviewing all the newletters, John Curtis felt it was impossible to name all the people whose contributions and very presence helped to make Chapter H successful. There were so many. After four years of service to Chapter H, John decided to retire with many good memories of shared times. He turned the AR position over to Tom Roach, with John Merritt and Ray Wolford as Assistants. In October 1985, John wrote in the newsletter, "…I encourage your continued support of Chapter H, and let’s all work to keep it the biggest and best chapter in Texas."
The Way We Were
Second in a series of articles on the past years of Chapter "H".
I first joined GWRRA, Chapter "H" in about 1981. I was the Assistant Director (we called it the Area Representative and Assistant AR then) in 1984-85. The chapter went through some growing pains because we had some very fine and active Goldwingers that were unfamiliar with the "Chapter of an International Organization" versus the local "Motorcycle Club" concept. They were much more familiar with membership in local Clubs. The CD, when I was the Assistant, did not satisfy the State Director in leading us toward the Chapter concept, and also in the direction of Motorcycle Safety and Education.
I was asked to replace the CD and, at first, I refused because I felt he was a popular and charismatic leader and even if I disagreed with his direction, to change CD's when he was still wanting to remain the CD would, at the very least, cause strife in the Chapter.
Well, I was finally convinced and I became the CD for 1985-87. And, all hell broke loose between the ones that wanted us to operate more like a "Club" and those that wanted to keep the "Chapter" concept.
We survived that crisis and kept most of our 200 or so active Goldwingers and remained a Chapter.
We were very active and had, actually, a large amount in our treasury during those days. We had been running Fireworks Stands and the Chapter participants volunteered the labor. The work was mighty, and the hours were long, but we had lots of profit. We also did the "50/50" and it made good monthly income.
We also did a Chapter Rally. It was the Carnival Run Rally. We did it much like a Poker Run, except we had Carnival Games at each stop. Fish the floating duck from the water and see the number on the bottom; Dart throwing for points; Ring Toss, etc. The Chapter participants worked the stops and dressed like Carnival people; Clowns, Trapeze artists, etc. The people with the highest points at the end won some small donated item. That made us some money too.
Now this was before Personal Computers, so we did the Monthly Newsletter by "Cut & Paste" using a typewriter and borrowed photo copy machines.
Here is what the front page of the April 1987 Newsletter looked like. The Chapter Patch was hand drawn. We used 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper but folded it in half to make a 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 sized Newsletter booklet. We had several Honda dealerships competing to be our major sponsor and we had their advertising dollars to more than pay for the Newsletter. We had it real good in those days.
We also developed a new concept of offering Motorcycle Training to our participants. The GWRRA did not have any training programs of their own yet, so we used the Texas Department of Transportation Motorcycle Training Program. Many of us went through it and people like Jim Kenney and myself even became State Certified Safety Instructors. We offered to reimburse the cost of the training programs to anyone that successfully completed it. The Chapter later backed off of that. I guess we were just ahead of our time.
Submitted by Ray Wolford GWRRA Member 17221
Ramblings of Former Chapter H Area Representative Jim Kenney
People came by the Area Representative (Chapter Director) position in different ways. Mine was circuitous. I first served, as Texas State Education Director, then a stint as Assistant State Director, until I returned my state patches to the then State Director who I thought was a fool.
The first Wing Ding I attended was with my wife, Nancy, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where a goodly number of chapter folks were in attendance. Being cheap, we were able to sneak into things by borrowing one entrance pass. This was before the use of armbands. Nancy melted the soles off her boots by sticking them too close to a bonfire around the campground we all stayed at. It was at this Wing Ding Nancy "convinced" me to buy a Bushtec trailer and order a new, not yet produced 1984 Gold Wing. I remember calling John Mahaffey at Cycle World from Steamboat Springs and ordering one. To my knowledge I had either the first or second GL1200 delivered in San Antonio, Texas. Two came in at the same time, one red and one blue and I had my choice. I chose the Pearl Blue and enjoyed being the talk of various bike gatherings with my "new" bike! The next Wing Ding Nancy made with me was to Lake of the Ozarks when she was eight months pregnant with our second son. That was a different camping experience!
John Merritt approached me one day and asked me to consider taking the Area Representative position for Chapter H. As with most organizations, there are up’s and down’s and the Chapter was in a down position. The chapter had gotten too rich! We had too much money earned from various projects and clicks were formed that were not mutually productive. Membership dropped so much that we no longer could get a private room at the Wyatt’s Cafeteria where we met, but had to hold our meetings with the general cafeteria population. I reluctantly agreed and don’t even recall the year I served. Part of the bargain was that John and Georgie Merritt would be newsletter editors, which they agreed to. I have always believed the single most important position in a chapter is the newsletter editor as that is the central point for generating interest and participation. The Merritt’s were singly responsible for the rebirth of the chapter.
My approach was somewhat different and not always popular. I disbanded all officer positions except for a minimum few. I discontinued meeting at Wyatt’s and took the show on the road and held informal meetings on weekend rides, until some members approached me stating that while they could not make most rides they looked forward to the meetings as a principle social event. Reluctantly I agreed to again hold meetings if there was support for meetings, and, to my surprise, attendance jumped. There were no formal rides; each weekend a different member "volunteered" to lead a ride and it seemed to work well. My belief was that the members had become too used to having things done for them and then nit picked events scheduled for their benefit.
As much as I personally dislike group riding I agreed and lived up to my end by riding with the group for the year I served as Area Representative, although it scared the hell out of me each time I did it. Representative of this basic fear was on one ride when a member got a flat rear tire while riding two up. We stopped as a group, plugged the tire and recommended he return to town to get a new tire. His response was that he already had 12 plugs in the tire and it seemed to be fine! That gave me cold chills!
Once we began holding official meetings more officer positions were filled and I required that each officer personally meet and shake hands with anyone that came in the door. I was of the opinion that too many new people were turned away when chapter members would look at them, but did not welcome them. The Assistant Area Representative and myself took turns running the meetings and it was a mobile type of thing with a lot of moving around, not the traditional static set-type meeting.
I did everything I could to break the bank and run the chapter out of money so that would not be an issue. If someone wanted to do something we had to decide what to do and how we could afford it. Kinda like back to basics.
I’ve never been much of a patch person and never wore a vest with patches. Chapter colors at the time were unimportant I thought. I agreed to wear a vest with my patches at one meeting, which I did. None were sewn on; they were attached with safety pins. I still have the vest hanging in my closet with the patches safety-pinned on, however, I doubt it would still fit me.
We instituted a money back offer for any member who took a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course and successfully completed it. We didn’t arrange this training for members; they had to seek it out. We certainly gave away a lot of money refunding course costs and it was wonderful. We really worked hard to put "safety" back into the GWRRA motto.
We held the Christmas party at our house and had 27 members in attendance. It was a no-booze affair. Nancy told me I was crazy to think adults would come, or enjoy themselves if they did come, without some sort of booze, or at least some spiked punch. No! No booze! It seemed to go over well as everyone seemed to have a good time and everyone brought something for the party.
Participation was what I strove for. Active participation! There was too much passitivity in the membership when I began and I wanted to change that and refocus our direction. Selfishly, I think that was accomplished.
My first concern when deciding whether or not to accept the Area Representative position, for I don’t think anyone else was willing to do so at the time, was whether or not I would have the time to dedicate to the position. My job left uncertain time demands on me and I did not want to accept a responsibility and then not properly discharge that responsibility. The more involved I got the better I enjoyed the position. It takes time, but is a wonderful learning experience and something I would strongly recommend to anyone. There are always people with personal agenda’s in any organization, but you quickly learn not to place too much importance on what they say as they rarely do anything constructively.
The Area Representative position was a form of GWRRA rebirth for me that began when I attended a Wing Ding in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with Armando Ynostrosa. I had such a great time with "Bumper" that it rekindled a hunger for participation that I have not lost since. Often times it only takes the positive influence of one person to rekindle lost interest and "Bumper" was that person for me. And, talking of "Bumper", he also served as a Chapter H Area Representative and his recollections will take their proper place in the chronology and evolution of Chapter H.
Ride Safe and with a smile on your face!
Thoughts of a Former Chapter H Area Representative
Armando Ynostrosa January 1988 - 1991
I joined GWRRA in 1979 after stopping by Bill and Mary Rutan’s house one day to talk to them about their motorcycle in the driveway. I was on Police Patrol and had moved into area. I was invited and here I still am. I attended my first WingDing that year.
My tour as an officer with this Chapter started with the need for a Newsletter Editor, 1986. Our AR, John Merritt and Gorgie, his wife asked me to take over the Newsletter from Lonnie Laird and Gene, his wife. Lonnie had been Treasurer and Newsletter Editor for about two years. Lonnie remained as Treasurer. He had under taken a huge job at work, Ft. Sam Houston, and wanted to see it finished before he retired from Civil Service. By the way, The Vehicle Maintenance Depot was Dedicated in his Name at a later date.
At the time our Newsletter was mailed out and it was a Cut and Paste type job. The Chapter was well funded because of several fundraisers we had during the year. At that time 5K was the balance in our treasury, not a Running Event. I learned to use Xerox machine and designed a fold down the middle, turn the page, back to back newsletter. After a couple of months I became daring and added pictures and Classified Ad’s.
In January 1988, I was asked to be Area Rep. Hane Searcy was our State Representative. I took the job and with the help of John and ours in the Chapter, I started off. Matt Howe was my Asst Area Rep., Lonnie Laird was my Treasurer, Bill Barkay was my Road Captain.
The Chapter met at Wyatt’s Cafeteria, first Friday of the month, 700 PM. I never liked that day and was constantly bring up it up for discussion. The location was at 410 & Babcock. First Friday on the month were usually pay days, traffic was grid locked and I felt it was unsafe. The Chapter members felt this was the time and date most people would come and so it remained in place.
Our members at the time were Meeting Members. They did a lot of riding but did it at there own time. We had a standard meeting place for Sunday rides and that was the BOOTS at North Star Mall, 0900 AM. Some days a lot of people would be there and other times a couple. We would decide at that time which way to go and took off. We never seemed to have a problem finding where to go.
Our Chapter was heavy into supporting other local Clubs in our area when they had a Motorcycle Rally. I don’t see that any more. I still attend the Gypsey Rallys, TMRA, Austin Road Riders, Texas Republic, and Blue Knights to name a few of them. They were always there to support us when we had ours. At that time we called our Rally “ The Carnival Run “. I try to attend as many of the local Rally’s that I can but I see fewer Chapter members. I’m glad to see a lot more GWRRA Chapters having there own Rally’s. I go to see old friends that I have known for years.
I’m glad to see more members going on long out state trips, WingDing, Honda Hoot, etc. I remember my first out of town trip to Hot Springs, Ark., Aspencade ’78. I took two days to get there. I stayed at the Holiday Inn on Lake Hamilton. Something happened to me because it took me five days to get home. I fell in love with tour riding. My bike was a GW 1000cc with Kalfia saddlebags and Vetter fairing, it even had a Radio (auto type). This was top of the line at that time. After that ride, I took more trips and traveled alone. Not to many people in the Chapter took out of town trips.
Since the age of 15 yrs I have always had a motorcycle. I have ridden Allstate Scooters, Yamaha’s, and Harley’s. In 1976 I bought my first Honda. In 1983 I walked into Harrison M/C and fell in love with a 1983 Wineberry Aspencade fully loaded. Well since then I’ve had an ’85, ’89, ’95, and now a 2000. Since the age of 15 yrs. I have always had a motorcycle. There have been weeks when I sold my bike and waited For my new one to be delivered. It’s funny, but every time I walked into the empty garage I would suddenly stop and stare at the empty space. During Bad weather days I clean it, check it and then I sit on and read a map. My wife, Terry, comes in and always says “ You wish you could just leave, I see it in your face”.
Around ‘89 got to know Jim Kenney. I knew him from the Chapter but really didn’t know him. We both got know each other’s habits. I think I can say Jim’s riding style and maintenance of his equipment is the same as mine. It has to be right and ready to go when we go on a trip. I think that’s why we have been able to ride thousands of miles together and not killed each other. We travel at whatever pace we want and stop when we want to stop. We get to point B or C whenever we get there. We have driven 8 hours a day and only 2 hours for the day.
Jim and I have taken every driving course that is offered and can show you the patch that goes along with it, including First Aid and CPR. I really am not into filling out the form and sending it in so National knows what I have taken. I take the courses to give me peace of mind. The sport, which we have chosen to participate in, has its dangers. I want to know that I have everything possible to ride safe. Jim’s story, last month newsletter, about the members plugged up tire is for real. I sort of stay away from large group riding.
I had a great time as Area Rep. I got to meet other people from other parts of the State of Texas and beyond. Some are still around and I’m always glad to see them.
That’s all folks, Keep the wheels on the road and shiny side up.
The Big Dog and Pepe Story
AKA: John and Bonnie Simonick 2000 - 2002
Around August of 2000, Bonnie and I were appointed Chapter Directors for Chapter H. The late Tommy Thomsen was Texas District Director at the time. Chapter U was still meeting at the Hungry Farmers restaurant on Pat Booker Road outside of Loop 1604. We had been ACDs for Chapter U for a period of time prior to rejoining Chapter H and becoming ACDs in late 1999.When we assumed the leadership role for the chapter, we brought in some new staff. Greg Lundin became our Educator, and Phyllis became our Treasurer. We had a few other staff changes, and retained a couple of the previous staff. These changes were met with mixed emotions, yet our intentions were to bring some new ideas into the Chapter. We believe we were successful in that aspect.
At that time, Chapter H was having its monthly gatherings at Grady’s Barbecue restaurant on Bandera Road, about a mile outside Loop 410. We heard how far Grady’s was for some people to travel. We heard how it was located perfectly for others. Wanting to serve the membership based on facts and not hearsay, we took the Greenbar, and on Microsoft Trips and Maps software, placed a “pushpin” at the address of each of the GWRRA members. Then looking at the map and the location of the pushpins, the center of the “mass” was around US 281 and just south of Loop 1604. After Bonnie had looked at many restaurants in the area, she found Clear Springs restaurant that could accommodate our chapter, and was located near the “center of mass.” Sometime around the middle of 2000, we had moved the meeting location to Clear Springs, where it has remained since. It is March 2005 at the time of this writing.
Since we loved to spend time on our Wing, we thought about what might peak the interest of other folks to participate with us more often on Chapter rides. We had created a total of about 14 rides throughout the upcoming year (2001), and called them “Riders Rides.” There were point values assigned to the different rides, and there would be “awards” given at the end of the year based on points. The non-Riders Rides were intended to generate more interest as well. We tried adding overnight rides to the chapter ride schedule. We had gone to DFW for Texas Ranger games, on a 3-day Forts tour, and several rallies (V2, X, O, District & Wing Ding). We thought about adding “Scenic” rides such as 337 – 335 - 336, “Historic” rides such as Gonzales County Jail and the Texas Rangers Museum, and other theme rides such as Crystal City to see the statue of Popeye, Dilley to see the monument of a watermelon, and Pearsall to see a huge peanut. The object was to plan rides other than just to a restaurant. Those rides met with some success.
As the Riders Rides progressed, we contemplate how to communicate the point standings. To make the point standing available for view to the chapter in general, we realized the value of creating a website. We bought Microsoft Front Page and learned enough to create a website. To feed the website, we took (over time) pictures of all chapter participants with the Texas flag as a background. We created a member page with name, nickname, and picture. Oh, we also encouraged nicknames for all participants. If they didn’t have one (or want one), Bonnie saw to it that one was created. We, of course, were Big Dog and Pepe’ and many other folks had admitted or had otherwise obtained nicknames in this time period (Streak & Strut, Cotton Top & J.J., Waterboy, Kicks, Kermit & Miss Piggy, Duke, Switchback, Hoot & Cheesecake, Drug Dealer, Rag Man & Double Trouble, Doublecake, Red Ryder & Little Beaver, Long Horn & Sweet Thang, Pork Chop & T-Bone, Hokey Pokey, Bumper, Chief, and several others) The website was honed over time, and at the District Rally in Wichita Falls (2001), Chapter H won 1st place in the District website competition, out of about 35 websites.
From the “operations” aspect of a chapter, we realized that the greatest expense the chapter incurs is printing and mailing newsletters. We took the leap to creating an electronic version of the newsletter, to be distributed via e-mail. We surveyed the chapter to see who would be willing to accept the newsletter electronically, and to our delight, almost everyone with e-mail capability agreed to accept the e-newsletter. Over the next several months, the chapter treasury grew, and we began to consider ways to give the surplus back to the chapter.
At the end of 2001, with the 1st year of “Riders Rides” completed, we totaled Riders Ride Points and awarded “Dairy Queen bucks” to the members that rode with the chapter. We issues over $200 of DQ bucks. These were redeemable to any staff member when stopping at a DQ on a Chapter Ride. Also, the folks with the top point values received a CD ROM full of the year’s pictures from various rides, electronic copies of the year’s newsletters, and other interesting content.
In our support for Rider Education, we authorized the chapter to pay for the “Levels Program.” Everyone was enrolled in level 1, and several progressed to levels 2 and 3. There was only a handful of Level 4, which the chapter did not cover. Not covering Level 4 was probably a mistake. Regardless, Chapter H received an award for 100% Rider Education enrollment that year at the District Staff Meeting.
A few other unique things that occurred during these years were the creation and sale of Chapter H flags, and also for a short period of time, special flags were created representing “Road Captains.” These flags were provided at no cost to anyone completing the Road Captains Course. Chapter hats and chapter polo shirts were also obtained and sold to the interested chapter participants. We (Chapter H) participated in the Chapter Shirt competition at the District Rally, but didn’t place. We did have the largest group in the competition, however.
In our last year as CDs, we were finally learning how to lead a chapter. By then, Breeze, who had succeeded Tommy as District Director, began recruiting us for a District Staff position. At the 2-year point, we stepped down, and were awarded by the chapter H staff, a pair of authentic skunk hats. We believe there was a hidden message there… We have worn these hats at every Wing Ding since (Greenville, South Carolina, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Madison Wisconsin). We missed wearing them at Grapevine, because Pepe’ forgot to pack them. Not sure if that was accidental or planned.
After stepping down, we were appointed to the District Staff where we thought we could help a broader group of members. Our final accomplishment in Chapter H is being the first CDs in a while that stepped down from Chapter H and did not vanish for one reason or another.
Thanks for letting us serve you. We hope that we made a difference.
John & Bonnie Simonick