By Lori Doliber #145898
November 15th, 1969 was the first meeting of the BMW Riders of Toledo. In going through club records to put this piece together I came across a document written by Don Smith, MOA #131, who is one of our original founding members and is currently the clubs Treasurer. The following was written five years ago:
Back in the mid-sixties there were a few young men running around on old men's machines, namely, "Slash 2's", in the Toledo area. Somehow these young men, Don Arquette, Bob Klear, Dale Foster, Earl Schwartz, Phil Baum, Greg Kuyoth and Don Smith found each other and began hanging out and riding together. We were doing poker runs, field meets and once a year we went to Columbus for the half mile race (Charity Newsies) at the fairgrounds. During the winter months we would play poker (nickel & dime) at each other's homes on the weekends.
In the summer of 1969 we were discussing the forming of a club. The first meeting of the BMW Riders of Toledo was held on November 15th, 1969 at Phil Baum's home with 17 members in attendance. Don Smith was appointed first President of the club. Bob Klear was first club Secretary and Kitten Klear was our first club Treasurer. The first order of business was the purpose of forming the club. All members agreed that it should be a family and group riding club and wives be encouraged to attend meetings and join in all club activities. The meetings would be on the second Tuesday of each month and members took turns hosting the meetings. Some things never change. The club started out riding poker runs and camping. We joined the Northwestern Ohio Motorcycle Association and obtained an AMA Charter and hosted poker runs out at the Travelers Motorcycle Club on Dorr St.
In the early 70s BMW Clubs started forming and hosting rallies in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Detroit. The Toledo Club hosted the Midwest rally for a number of years. We began supporting these regional rallies and got away from poker runs and the AMA. The BMW Motorcycle Owners Association came on the scene in the early seventies and we obtained Charter Number 16 and we were in touch with the entire country. National rallies were now on and I and other members attended a number of these over the years. The Detroit and Toledo Clubs used to compete for high attendance at different rallies and the Toledo club held its own.
The club will start its 35th year of existence this November (when written in 2004). The young men on old men's machines who started the club are now old men on young men's machines. Dale has an ST1100, Don a K100 RS and Bob Klear has a Goldwing.
Many names have come and gone on our membership list over these 34 years. These past members got us to where we are today. They deserve as much credit as I do for being a part of our club and contributing something - If only their name and $12 dues.
Bob Klear ended the first newsletter in November 1969 with these words:
"Without your support - We're nothing!"
Three of our founding members were also involved in the founding of the BMWMOA. Don Smith was a Director; Dale Foster was Technical Advisor and Bob Klear took care of the Flea Market.
In the March 6th, 1972 club newsletter was a reminder that: "during the past summer at one of the meetings it was voted on and passed that our club join the National BMW club, which we need 10 individual members to belong and as of the present time do not have the 10 members." Membership applications were distributed.
An excerpt from the newsletter of August 30th, 1972 read: "The following weekend, a few of us attended the Four Winds Rally, sponsored by the Pittsburg BMW club in Carrollton, Ohio. We were able to meet the newly elected officers of the National club (BMWMOA). Those of you that did not attend, our club is well represented in the National as Don is one of the newly elected directors."
April 1, 1973 in the listing of coming events included the second annual 49'er rally and a tour of the 1st BMWMOA National Rally site.
Of our early and original club members, Earl and Carol Schwartz, Carol is an honorary "Lifetime Member." Two of Carol's sons, Delbert and John Schwab, and daughter Sue Schwartz are also current members in good standing. An early memory of Gary Haydel is of a young Carol riding a wheelie on her /5 down the street where she lived.
Also among our ranks are two BMWMOA Ambassadors. Merle and Nancy Cunningham, #18334 and #18335, have been MOA members for 31 years and were appointed as Ambassadors in 1982.
Yes Don, some things never change. We are currently 37 members strong, hosting two club events in our spring and summer campouts and group rides. We still hold our meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at various local restaurants. However, due to the busy lifestyles of today and the diverse geographic locations of our members we also try to hold a weekend breakfast meeting instead of an occasional Tuesday night meeting. While you do not have to own a BMW to become a member one does have to own a Beemer if they wish to become a club officer. We don't strive to be the biggest or earn various awards at rallies. We meet, eat, ride, hang-out and most importantly have fun with the family we have become.
Unlike 1969, we can be found at http://www.bmwridersoftoledo.org; where you'll find newsletters and club event information.
Share the history, fellowship and spirit of your Chartered Club by e-mailing Mandy Langston at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her number is 636-779-0135. It's a great way to get the word out about your rallies, meetings and other activities.