Rose City Motorcycle Club

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Rose City Motorcycle Club

As the oldest AMA chartered club in Oregon, Rose City Motorcycle Club (RCMC) can trace it's roots all the way back to 1911, but the modern version of the club really started in the early 70s when Bob and Susan Wood from Tigard, Oregon, got together the required 10 members and embarked on a motorcycle journey that continues today. In those early years, club membership hovered around 20 with an agenda that included some sort of riding or event almost every weekend. Campouts were commonplace and Bob and Susan easily racked up 20,000 miles or more per year.

Things began to change for the club in 1975 when Bob attended Aspencade and met hundreds of riders and came away with the vision of what Bob called the emerging "motorcycle movement." With this new vision, the club began to promote events that would appeal to the new riders of this "motorcycle movement." The first major event was the Rose City Oregon 500 ; it attracted 74 riders. After 36 years, this event brings out nearly 500 riders every year. The 500 was followed closely by the Rose City Grand Tour. Now, 33 years later, the Grand Tour , visiting 19 checkpoints from April 1 to September 30, consistently has 600+ participants. Next came the Western States 1000, now in it's 22 nd year, and the Rose City Oregon 250, in its 17 th year. According to Bob, "These quality events and the leadership of the club are the keys to success."

As with any organization, there have been bumps in the road. In the early 80s as club membership began to increase, many of the new members came in with their own agenda and many attempts were made to change the club. Movements were made to make the club more exclusive, directly opposing the vision of Bob and Susan that made all of the events open to the public. During this era, fresh leadership for the club emerged. John Goff and Char Messinger of Portland, Oregon, became Road Captain and President, respectively. In 1988, with an aging and dwindling membership, RCMC re-invented itself with a brand new organizational structure that (among many other things) embraced the idea of an on-going, full-time, year-round membership drive program. Annual RCMC membership averages 200 to 250, with a core group of about 100 active riders.

$$$ High Gross Revenues for Rose City MC

After taking a few minutes to review the club's website, it becomes apparent that Rose City MC is one of the highest- grossing, long-established clubs currently operating in the Northwest. 2008 gross revenues were between $25,000 and $30,000 based on event registrations and club membership dues. Much of the money goes back into event costs and a significant amount goes to select charities.

By long standing tradition, RCMC Club members are ineligible to compete for any trophies or prizes during events owned by RCMC. To do otherwise, they believe, is a conflict of interest. Another unique feature of RCMC at events hosted for the general public is the Course Ambassador Program. Club member volunteers ride the event course as good will ambassadors ready to lend a helping hand to any who may need it and try to make sure everyone has the best day possible and makes it all the way home. "Most other clubs are a strict democracy, which means every meeting is an argument," John said. RCMC is governed by a long- serving board and the business of running the club is left up to them. General meetings are more of a social thing with most of the focus on riding. "Board members basically serve until they find their own replacement," according to John.

With a firm grip on the vision created by Bob and Susan, John and Char continue to lead the club to success today when most other road clubs have failed. "So many clubs from the past have failed over the years that Rose City now basically stands alone," Bob says.

As to the future of Rose City? With an eye on their vision and continued strong leadership, Rose City should thrive well into the future. For more information about the club, including how to join or participate in any of the events, visit .

Steve Folkestad/Winter 2009

Steve Folkestad is the founder of the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally and the Dam Tour.

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