I have attended many ABATE of Wisconsin state meetings over the years, but this year's event is one for the record books. I remember cold, dreary rides to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin Rapids and Neenah. I can recall a sunny but brisk ride to Cable, requiring lots of layers of clothing to keep the chill out. Although enjoyable weekends, none were as exceptional as this year's gathering, held on October 9-11, at the Best Western Maritime in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
ABATE regions 2A and 2D collaborated to ensure that everyone attending had a great time. From the Friday night Walkabout, which is actually a poker walk, to the Saturday bus and bike tour of statewide poker stops, the weather couldn’t have been more cooperative. Temperatures in the 70s during the day only dropped to the low 60s at night. That is not usual for October in Wisconsin, but nobody was complaining.
Friday was a social gathering of members, starting with a Wisconsin tradition–a fabulous brat fest, compliments of Johnsonville Sausage and the culinary art of District 2 chefs. The walkabout followed with the juxtaposition of healthy exercise and excessive libation.
Saturday’s schedule included scenic rides, by bus or motorcycle, stopping at several of the ABATE statewide poker stops. The evening festivities included a spaghetti dinner, once more crafted by the skilled chefs of the local ABATE regions, and an awards program. The key note speaker for the evening was Assemblyman Paul Tittl, who represents Manitowoc and Calumet counties. During the evening’s program, it was learned that ABATE of Wisconsin earned several awards at the recent MRF Meeting of the Minds. The award that seemed to garner the largest applause was for beating Illinois in the MRF membership totals.
Attorney Michael Hupy presents his personal check for $5,000 to Dave "Chubby" Charlebois, Executive Director of ABATE of Wisconsin, for the ABATE Acres Dan Franz Fund. Tony "Pan" Sanfelipo holds Hupy and Abraham, S.C. firm check for $5,000.
Another highlight of the evening was the announcement that ABATE’s land, ABATE Acres, will be paid off by November 1, 2016, according to Finance Committee Chair Paul Vita. This is entirely due to the fact that Hupy and Abraham, S.C. and Attorney Michael Hupy personally, have donated thousands of dollars to that cause. Contributions alone would not have made it possible to close on the land by 2016. Attorney Hupy challenged the membership to participate in contributing by offering a matching grant program. This program has been in effect three years and has generated enough money to pay off the land next year. This year’s challenge was $10,000. The membership came through by raising a total of $11,583.94. Because the $10,000 challenge was met, Hupy and Abraham, S.C. presented a check for $5,000 and Attorney Hupy presented his personal check for $5,000 to ABATE of Wisconsin. In total, ABATE raised $21,583.94 this year toward the mortgage.
ABATE of Wisconsin founder Tony "Pan" Sanfelipo presents the Founder's Award to Executive Director Dave "Chubby" Charlebois.
The awards program ended the evening’s celebrations with members and officers being recognized for outstanding achievements in product sales, fund raising, activism, and volunteerism. For me, the highlight was presenting the Founder’s Award. This year’s recipient is Dave “Chubby” Charlebois, our Executive Director. In my opinion, he’s the hardest working person in ABATE of Wisconsin. Besides his usual executive duties, you might find him leading a discussion at an area meeting, speaking to other motorcycle groups, or working in a membership booth at some event. His light is shining brightly and we all hope he continues to lead ABATE of Wisconsin and eventually enter the national spotlight to help preserve our right to ride free and safe.