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** In honor of GWRRA’s 35th Anniversary, each month in 2012 this page will either contain a Member-written article from
someone who has been instrumental in our Association or an article relaying some of the history of GWRRA. **

This month’s article is submitted by Dennis Ammons, AZ-A Assistant Chapter Director.

Chapter “A” is the first Charter Chapter of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association.
It was founded in January of 1978 and has been going strong ever since.

The Beginnings
Back in 1977, Tucson resident Darrel Shaeffer attended a meeting in Phoenix with the original group of seven people destined to start GWRRA. He then decided to get something started in Tucson, a city of just over a quarter-million residents back then, located about two hours south of Phoenix. The GWRRA Home Office, though still just a fledgling itself, called Darrel’s start-up Chapter A.

Arizona’s Chapter A began its meetings in 1978, with Darrel and Kathy Shaeffer as the first Chapter Directors; however, back then they were called Area Representatives. A logo of a covered wagon was created for the Chapter since, after all, the Chapter was GWRRA’s “pioneer Chapter”.

The Chapter colors were begun by Bill and Rita Hensley. Originally, Chapter A wore white shirts, then Dusty Rose/Mauve shirts (which are no longer available) and, a couple of years ago, added Burgundy shirts. When worn together, the colors then complement each other.

Over the Years
Education has always been a priority in Chapter A, with 78 percent of its Members at Level 4 Masters—and most of the remaining Members in the Master’s Program! In fact, there’s a lot of talent and education in Chapter A and, on a yearly basis, the Chapter puts on a First Aid and CPR class. Plus, it is currently getting Parking Lot Practice scheduled regularly.

In addition, for years Chapter A has been active in the Couple of the Year Program. In all, Joe and Kathy Long, Jim and Sabra Borst, John and Neomia Stewart, Dave and Dee Gormley, Lumpy and Diane Lumpkin, Dick and Linda Powell and Dave and Sandy Novitt have gone on to represent the Arizona District as District Couple of the Year. Additionally, three of these couples have represented Region F as the Region Couple of the Year. Most recently, that honor has gone to Dave and Dee Gormley.

Chapter A also participates in the Individual of the Year Program, with four of its Members having gone on to become Region Individual of the Year.

Over the years, there’s also been a lot of leadership springing from the Chapter, including two Assistant Region Directors, one Region Educator, one Region Motorist Awareness Coordinator, one Region Couple of the Year Coordinator, four District Directors and four District Treasurers all coming from Chapter A.

And one fun note is that, in Arizona, the Chapter mascots are symbolized with the alphabet series, so Chapter A’s mascot is “Alphie the Ape”. Among the Chapters, stealing another Chapter’s mascot has become popular fun and been a big success. Alphie is well-dressed in his Dusty Rose shirt, black vest, gloves and helmet and has made many trips with our own Chapter A—plus, of course, with other Chapters when he’s been stolen!

Summing It Up
When all is said and done, we’re happy to be GWRRA’s original Charter Chapter. Not only have we had great fun as part of the organization all these years, but Arizona has also been a great scenic state in which to ride. And there’s no better way than GWRRA to have gained all the knowledge needed in order to become safe riders who can enjoy those open roads!

Chapter A has had a great variety of Chapter Directors, including:

1978 — 1979 Darrel and Kathy Shaeffer
1979 — 1980 Tom Riley
1980 -— 1981 Jack Kent
1981 — 1982 Archie Coxgrove
1982 — 1984 Don and Joanne Calhoun
1984 — 1985 Carol and Emerson Dayton
1985 — 1987 Ivan Glover
8/1987 — 3/1990 Roger and Corrinne Van Etten
4/1990 — 11/1990 Bob Duff
12/1990 — 12/1992 Bill and Rita Hensley
1993 — 1994 Dave and Dee Gormley
1994 — 9/1995 Joe and Kathy Long
10/1995 — 9/1996 Jon and Penny Haxton
10/1996 — 1998 Dave and Mary Fields
1998 — 4/1999 Lumpy and Diane Lumpkin
5/1999 — 2000 Cliff and Diana Sias
1 - 12/2001 Jim and Judy Collins
2002 — 10/2003 Dick and Linda Powell
11/2003 — 2006 Carl and Joyce Jackson
2006 — 10/2007 Pablo Alonzo
11/2007 — 1/2009 Garry and Kerry Woo
2/2009 — 7/2010 Dean and Jeannine Jernigan
8/2010 — 12/2011 Mike and Susan Heritage
1 - 12/2012 Ron Penner


35 fun facts

  1. 1977, GWRRA was created with 7 members at the first meeting.
  2. 1977, the cost of a new Goldwing was $2,938.
  3. 1977, the cost of a gallon of gas was $.65 cents.
  4. 1977, the average cost of a gallon of milk was $1.50.
  5. 1977. The cost of a loaf of bread was $.36 cents.
  6. 1977, the average cost of a new home was $49K.
  7. 1977, the average yearly income was $15K.
  8. 1977, “Margaretville” by Jimmy Buffett was one of the billboard #1 songs.
  9. 1977, “Star Wars” opens
  10. 1977, Snow falls in Miami, FL for the only time in history.
  11. 1977, Jimmy Carter becomes 39th President of USA.
  12. 1977, the Oakland Raiders won Super Bowl XI.
  13. 1977, the Portland Trailblazers won the NBA championship.
  14. 1977, the New York Yankees won the World Series.
  15. 1977, the Montreal Canadians won the Stanley Cup.
  16. 1977, Tom Watson won the Master’s golf tournament.
  17. 1977, Rock n Roll legend Elvis Presley passed away.
  18. 1977, Apple Computers was incorporated.
  19. 1977, “The Fonz” jumped a motorcycle over a shark on TV’s “Happy Days”
  20. 1977, the “World Trade Center” is completed in New York.
  21. 2011, 35th Anniversary of GWRRA, currently with over 70,000 members.
  22. 2011, the average cost of a new Goldwing is $26K.
  23. 2011, the average cost of a gallon of gas is $3.42.
  24. 2011, the average cost of a gallon of milk is $3.
  25. 2011, the cost of a loaf of bread is $2.50.
  26. 2011, the average cost of a new home is $200K.
  27. 2011, the average yearly income is 47K.
  28. 2011, “If I Die Young” by Perry is one of the Billboard most played songs.
  29. 2011, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” tops the film box office.
  30. 2011, terrorist Osama Bin Laden is killed.
  31. 2011, co-founder of Apple Computers Steve Jobs passed away.
  32. 2011, Scotty McCreery wins TV’s American Idol.
  33. 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series.
  34. 2011, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup.
  35. its 35 years as an association, GWRRA has grown from 7 members meeting at a Denny’s restaurant to over 72,000 members, with 800 chapters in over 53 countries. Here’s to another great 35 years with GWRRA!


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