The Third Annual
BLITZ TO BRANSON  
April 11th, 1998


FROM: Voni Glaves
DATE: April 12th, 1998

For your edification, fellow presidents, I submit the following report:

A grand total of 73 Presidents gathered in Branson, Missouri April 11, 1998 for the third running of the Blitz. First to sign in were Herb and Wilma Stark from the blueberry ranch in Texas. Jim and Sherryl Hair - co founders and on site coordinators of the Blitz - had found an even bigger hospitality room than last year, almost half of the ground floor in the center front of the building. Couldn't miss it or the bikes when I rolled in at dusk Friday night. The party had had no trouble starting without me. Sherryl had provided her now famous Blitz Brownies and wine, and a spirit store was within easy walking distance. When I wandered off at midnight, the party was still going strong.

Saturday's weather was the kind we all dream of, and mother nature had touched everything with a brand new coat of green decorated with pinks, purples and white blooms. The REDbuds were magnificent! BMWMOA Mileage forms were signed to start the 6 month contest.

After months of study and many trial rides, Jim Hair had selected just the right route and place for lunch, Rockbridge. Too bad the two state troopers got there first. I did my best to make friends with them, taking a picture of them with the assembled presidents, another of a trooper sitting on my bike and one of me in his car with the bubble gum machine, but to no avail. Not an hour later, they had a discussion with Jim Shaw about a possible driving award. "84 in a 55 might have been excusable if you were going downhill instead of up, Mr. Shaw." But other than that one stretch of Highway 5 we were without police protection for the balance of the day.

Our free on site mechanic Paul Glaves was kept busy much of the morning, went into training for the Iron Butt '99 by practicing his power nap technique in the afternoon, and then worked into the night on a consultative basis over barley therapy.

Awards followed the buffet dinner which featured trout, chicken, pork chops and roast beef. Door prizes were the first item on the agenda. Then happy birthdays to Greg Ostwinkle, Armand Ciabattari, Bullit Buttars and Lee Freedman. Bob Gaines solicited money for Sue Huff - that is money for the Pony Express Ride - which she will be riding again this year. Lee Freedman gave an update about the fight on the Fontana front. Sam Lepore who had a direct link to the internet gave the rest of us e-mail deprived presidents a report from the world. Then it was on to the at times hotly contested awards. Unlike other places, the awards at the Blitz are decided by Presidential decree. The final results are listed below in random order of importance:

  • Solitary camper - Roger Deal at Table Rock Lake State Park
  • Oldest rider - Lee Freedman who at 69 has the room with the hot tub reserved for next year
  • Long Distance Gentleman East - Larry Miller from Vermont on his brand new K12
  • Long Distance Gentleman West - Sam Lepore from that other planet, California
  • Biggest Promoter: by a landslide, Steve Aikens
  • Lowest Odometer: Chris Noe on a very new F650 - 2,100 miles
  • Highest Odometer - Bill Huelsdonk with over 251,000 miles
  • Long Distance Lady Rider - North - Sue Rihn-Manke - Wisconsin
  • Long Distance Lady Rider - South - Cissie Myrick - Texas
  • Most Colorful Rider - Bob Smith - on the yellow peril
  • Highest Tech Bike - Mike Cornett - no contest on this one!
  • Oldest BMW - Mike Mundel - 1977
  • Youngest Rider - Derek Bland - 18
  • Long Distance Two up Riders - Gene and Joyce Ribas

Robert Munday closed the show with a commercial - and then a surprise.

Through his special brand of magic, each of the assembled presidents became Rob Lentini. I won't mention his bunny ears, but it was Easter weekend. The banner picture is being submitted to Gately who declared the banner at the Branson Towers a rat site just in time for the Blitz. Each of the presidents on the picture will be granted one site - or does that mean Rob Lentini will have 73 sites and be leading the race for Top Rat? Only Gately knows for sure.

Sunday morning some headed out at daylight, some lingered over the continental breakfast, and some may still be there for all I know. A beautiful ride home - except for the Kansas wind - and a fitting close to the best Blitz III ever!

The roll of Presidents included:

Steve Aikens and "The Woman" Becky Nufer
Ted  Anderson 
Jim Bessette 
Tony Black
Milt and Derek Bland
Skipper Brown's RED shirt
Pat Burch
Tom "Bullit" Buttars
Armand Ciabattari
Mike Cornett fresh from Disney World
Roger Deal
Jon Diaz on the most naked bike
Darrin & Valarie Earhart
Lee Freedman
Bob Gaines 
Frank Glamser     
Paul & Voni Glaves
Jim & Sherryl Hair
Mike Hankinson 
Bill Huelsdonk
Sue Huff 
Ken Klein 
Chris Kleponis
Rick Landi
Pete Lavengood
Chris Lawson 
Rob Lentini
Sam Lepore 
Bill Lewis and Liz Vekony
Larry Miller from VT 
Mike Millsap 
Jeff Mohl
Robert Munday
Mike & Cindy Mundel
Cissie Myrick
Christopher Noe
Roger  Norem
Greg & Vicki Ostwinkle
Gene & Joyce Ribas
Ken and Shirley Richardson
Sue Rihn-Manke
Ralph Robertson  
Jim Robinson 
Keith Schauer
Ian Schmeisser 
Howard Schultz
Jim Shaw
Al  Smith
Bob Smith
David E.B. Smith
Gary and Karen Smith
Stacey Smith
David Soine
Wilma & Herb Stark 
Rod and Margie Stark
Keith Stowers
Cal Swallow
Sam and Inez Thornton
Stan & Jan Walker
Dick Wildauer
James Williams
John Wilson

And from afar virtually on a RED RS: Ingemar Luttu

Spiritual Attendees :

  • Mark Rooney and Brian Lolly wearing their RED! IBMWR caps
  • Mike and Cathy Merrick
  • And Steve Huber and his dad

Imaginary attendee cause it sure is hard to type with only one hand

  • Geoff Adams

Voni

sMiling and remembering the great people and the great roads - wish you had been there

FROM: Ian Schmeisser
DATE: April 13th, 1998

Thank you Paul & Voni & Jim Hair for such a wonderful time. It was fun to meet so many virtual friend for the first time, and the roads were great. This is one not to miss next year.

Ian Schmeisser
Atlanta, GA USA

FROM: Bob Smith
DATE: April 12th, 1998

Hi all.

As I sat watching out the window at the many people stopping to look at the fine German Motorcycles all parked like Great Iron Stallions, awaiting their mounts, I notices that most of the young looked upon them with the thoughts of what it would be like to hold the power of the beast and command it on the highway, and the older men looking with a gleam of past times when they did command the beast and new of it's power. On the next morning the beast roared to life and formed it's line like a giant snake headed down the highway in the morning light. As it winded through the hills and curves it's many colors sparkling in the light it began to break into smaller segments, each winding it's way along the ribbon of road. The sight was enough to make ones heart beat faster. The great beast reassembled itself at the Rockbridge for it's noon feast and after taking it's fill it began to move out into the afternoon sun. It took it's time returning to the den as the day was warm and the sun high, at it was enjoying the path of return.

Once back this giant beast of BMW Motorcycles with their coats of many colors were again assembled for the evening feast and great times spent visiting with each of it's parts. A good time was had by all. I enjoyed my trip and was proud to accept my honor as the most colorful rider, but I must give credit to my beautiful Flame Yellow Pearl K, for without it's presents I would have not won. Thanks to all the voted for my award. Looking forward to next year.

Bob Smith
Tyler. Tx

FROM: Ralph Robertson
DATE: April 12th, 1998

Jim Hares count was 73 BMW Internet folks present in Branson for the Blitz. While speaking for myself, I feel like I speak for all when I say a good time was had all round. Special Thanks go to Paul and Voni "Smiling" Glaves. Paul for showing me the intricacies to me of changing oil and filter properly and for bringing a rotor and the tools to repair Bill Lewises bike. Voni for her warm hugs and wonderful job at the awards ceremony. Thank you Mrs Stark for the brownies and the wine. Talking about guts. Bill's R80/100's alternator went bad in Tennessee and he re-charged the battery enough times with Gene Ribas help to get to the Blitz and then Paul and the rest of us helped repair it. I hope you made it home Bill I haven't heard from you. I got as far as Bristol, Virginia last night at 8:45 and 896 miles for the day (2,526 total miles). Had I documented my departure from Branson, I would have gone for the Iron Butt, I had until 5:13 this morning.

Prizes were awarded to numerous folks. Sam Lepore got long distance for the Blitz, 2,500 plus miles from San Fran by way of Austin. Vernon Miller won from the east coast with over 1,300 miles. Bob Smith won the most colorful, until you see his P--- Yellow new paint job, you really won't understand. Let's just say it STANDS OUT. Special attention was also given to his new addition a tattoo of the BMW MC strategically located on his derriere as mention in the latest BMW MOA. Tasteful, but not ostentatious as they say. Finally his being banned from future demo rides at his local dealer as a result of his being clocked by sheriffs at 149 on the K12 on a demo run and good taste attire for the event got him the "most colorful."

A very hearty thank you to everyone for making my Blitz to Branson a pleasure. I have ordered better weather and a shorter route for next years trip. Hope to see you all at the North East Prezzes breakfast or the Ga Mtn Rally.

Best

Ralph Robertson
Note: As a result of trip and stops along the way back, I now have 20 Rat Hole points and my request is in to the Great Rat for said recognition.


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