History of ABATE
 
Written by Jim "Pure Pork" Dean. Jim is webmaster of the Central Illinois Chapter and is presently Secretary of ABATE of Illinois. We appreciate your permission to use this information on the history of ABATE.
 


HISTORY OF ABATE OF ILLINOIS, DISTRICT 3, COVERING WEST OF I-55, SOUTH OF I-80, AND DOWN TO A LINE FROM SPRINGFIELD TO QUINCY.

This is how I remember the events of my involvement with the first ABATE of Illinois and District 3, of which I was Director for four years, May 1980 - April 1984. Jim "Pure Pork" Dean

LAST UPDATE TO THIS PAGE: November 12, 1999

The original ABATE of Illinois, was founded in 1975(?), by Bill Orce, Jerry Timm, and others in the Chicagoland area, (they called themselves the Archer Avenue Gang). Easyriders magazine, who coined the name A.B.A.T.E. (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) allowed the individual states to have their own separate organizations due to all the unrest. Many of the state representatives involved were untrusting of the people that wanted to run ABATE from California. After many months of arguments and accusations, Easyriders released it's claim on the name ABATE for the individual states to use in starting their own state organizations using the ABATE name.

I was a reader of Easyriders Magazine since issue number two and read the articles surrounding the formation of ABATE. But in 1976 and 1977, there was talk of outlawing extended front ends as being unsafe and I had a 12 over springer that I really liked and saw the ad in Easyriders for ABATE of Illinois with the Prospect Heights, IL, address and sent my money in. I received my membership card in September of 1977.

1977-first Flyer received- ABATE of Illinois 2nd Annual Octoberfest, Oct 1 & 2; Putnam County Fairgrounds; Featuring the drawing for the 1977 Superglide; Come support your rights on the road; Cost: $5 Person/$8 Couple; Everyone Welcome; Camping; Live Music; Contests; Raffle; Questions: call 312-639-4982; Food on sale; Tattoo Booth; Beer on sale; Vendors must have advance permission; Raffle tickets- $1; Special Benefits for ABATE Members; Place: Marshall-Putnam County Fair Grounds, Approx 1/4 Mile North of Henry on 29- follow signs!

1977-First newletter-November-it told of the 2nd Annual Octoberfest held at the Fairgrounds in Henry, IL in October. ABATE had to pay for rebuilding some wood fence that some had used for firewood to keep warm.

1978-ABATE of IL 2nd Annual Swap Meet, Rosemont Convention Center, Rosemont, IL, February, which was closed early in the afternoon due to some "Club" fighting, or so the police told everyone. At this Swap Meet, we had the chance to meet Ed Armstrong, who had written articles for Easyriders Magazine and was involved in ABATE of Illinois.

Between 1978 and 1980, I had made several complaints about not receiving regular newsletters, to Bill Orce, the State Director. We traded letters back and forth and eventually had a phone conversation, where Bill explained that this was a volunteer organization and ABATE was only an idea and that to make the idea possible, people had to volunteer to make changes to how things are working. He asked me if I was willing to help ABATE of Illinois grow in my section of the state, since I was evidently the one complaining the most in West Central Illinois. I was appointed District 3 Director by Bill in May of 1980, and other ABATE members in the area at that time were Gary "Swede" Johnson, Tom "Bird" Cecil, Bruce "Boomer" Needham, Gene "Newt" Newland, Larry "Frenchie" Brooks, and Bernie "Bruno" Damm.

May,1980- Letter of introduction from Bill Orce for new District Reps: This is the Introduction of what you are expected to do (Enclosure).
First, let me say that you have taken on a big job and that if you feel you can't handle it for any reason, okay, we can appreciate that position. If at any time you want to quit, please feel free to do so; however, we would like to have a little time to replace you, no questions asked.
Second, please understand that ABATE of Illinois is not a great financial institution and that your position is a volunteer position. No one in ABATE of Illinois is paid; this is not to say that in the future it won't change or that people aren't reimbursed for some expenditures. We will be glad to reimburse you for some of the "required business expenditures"; this would be done only by a prior "ok" from the main office. At this time ABATE of Illinois is totally self sufficient - however, from time to time (mainly during winter months)our funds are depleted. We would ask of you any time you can absorb your expenses to do so.
Again, we are just beginning to grow. As we become able to pay our way you will receive expense monies. Hopefully, with your cooperation and drive we will at some point in time be able to afford to pay modest salaries to all workers in the organization. (Salaries- could more appropiately be described as an expense account and a few bucks for the trouble). With these things in plain sight, should you want to help, we say thanks and welcome aboard. Be prepared for little help or gratitude from anyone outside the officers of the organization. Be ready to hear hundreds of snivels about nothing important - but be reassured there is self satisfaction in what you are endeavoring to do here. Thank you for your concern, Bill Orce, State Director, ABATE of Illinois

GUIDELINES FOR DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVES-
1. First objective is to get an area (County) representative.
a. Get someone that you can get in touch with easily - this is important - we don't usually get a lot of lead time when legislation is introduced.
b. Get someone who will donate his or her services and is willing to spend some dough - not a lot - but we can't afford to pay every phone bill and buy every stamp. When it is necessary, and funds are available, money will be given to area people. P.S.-I've spent dough myself and wouldn't ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't.
c. Ask them to do the same- find helpers with similar qualifications. Accomplish this and the rest is yours.
2. Meetings
a. Start out simple- once every other month is good.
b. Try to hold meetings before the 3rd Wednesday of the month - the Directors meet on the 3rd Wednesday. We would like to hear from you on a regular basis. (By Mail)
c. Try local churches and town halls first as they seldom charge for rooms to meet in. Again, we cannot afford to put out any dough yet. Explain that ABATE is a safety oriented as well as legislative group!. Most "straight" people think it's just a club (or gang)and this is the farthest thing from the truth. Try to get a free meeting place.
(to be continued later)

July 4, 1980- We had our first get-together as District 3 at Lake Argyle near Macomb on July 4th Weekend with a potluck. In the fall of 1980, Bill allowed me to have presigned membership cards and patches to hand to members as we signed them up. There was some distrust of the local guys claiming to represent ABATE of Illinois. Membership at that time was $10 for new and $6 for renewals. One of the other problems was the National ABATE advertised in Easyriders that people had sent money in to and not received anything back from. This did not make winning new members any easier.

Bill had a State Party in Tovey, IL,and a campout at Sanchris Lake, in July, 1981, and we had a good time, even though Boomer's Panhead motor locked up and Newt got a flat tire on the rear of his Sporty. That was a sight we wouldn't soon forget- two Harleys in the back of a Datsun pickup.

There was a big membership growth in the West side of Southern Illinois, District 6, where "Toes" Tomazoli was the Director. He claimed a membership of around 600 although I don't know if that is true. We were running in the 80 to 90 range in District 3 in 1981 -1982 We had a meeting with Bill Orce, in February, 1982, at the Hilton, in Springfield, on the future of ABATE of IL, as the common member had no voice in the direction of the organization and with the District 3 and District 6 membership up around 700, some thought they should have the ability to help define the direction ABATE took. The outcome of that meeting was that we finally got a copy of the bylaws and found that we were listed as non-voting members and all decisions were made by the Board of Directors who were appointed and vacancies were filled by the remaining Board Members, and all were from the Chicago area. Bill Orce did offer to sell the corporation of ABATE of Illinois to us, though, but no one at that time had the ability to raise $10K.

The last State event held was the The Great Illinois Hawg Rally dragraces at the Havana, IL, dragstrip, on July 23, 1983. After that, no statewide functions were held. Newsletters were sporadic, as Bill put it, "If I have the money, I'll send one out". We had put out our own newsletter, starting in 1982, "The Poop Sheet" to the members we had signed up to fill the gap left by the lack of a State newsletter.

We had poker runs, parties, and rides to develop interest in belonging to ABATE. There were at that time, no groups having activities for bikers to participate in, outside of the "Clubs".

I served as District 3 Director until April of 1984, when we held an election, and Gary "Swede" Johnson was elected to take my place. However, Bill refused to recognize Swede because he hadn't appointed him to be District Director. We had a set of bylaws that we ran by and held monthly membership meetings and continued on, just sending in dues money to Bill. Swede continued in that capacity until we decided to form our own ABATE organization in the spring of 1985, because we had not been able to contact Bill. He was in the process of producing "Biker Parties" magazine, of which two issues were made before it went toes up. ABATE of Illinois was allowed to become defunct (by the charter holders) due to non-filing of the yearly report to the Secretary of State in March of 1985.

Central IL ABATE, chartered as a not for profit corporation by the State of Illinois on July 29, 1985, is what used to be District 3 of ABATE of IL.
 

We decided to form our own ABATE organization in the spring of 1985, because we had not been able to contact Bill Orce. ABATE of Illinois was allowed to become defunct (by the charter holders) due to non-filing of the yearly report to the Secretary of State in March of 1985.

Central IL ABATE, chartered as a not for profit corporation by the State of Illinois on July 29, 1985, is what used to be District 3 of ABATE of IL. The first President of Central IL ABATE was Willie Lagerstrom (who later became the first State Coordinator of the 2nd ABATE of Illinois). Willie passed away in March, 1998, from a long battle with complications from his double lung transplant. Pauli Lagerstrom, Willie's wife, was our first Treasurer and she became and continues to be the Office Manager of ABATE of Illinois.

At a meeting in Aurora, IL, in November of 1986, the name of ABATE of IL was turned over to a group of independent ABATE Chapter representatives by a person who had filed paperwork with the Secretary of State on the name ABATE of Illinois, because he discovered that it was no longer in use, and wanted to safeguard the rights to the name. The second ABATE of IL was restarted by the independent existing chapters using the name- A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education.

After the 2nd ABATE of IL was organized with officers, in Jan of 1987, and Willie became State Coordinator, Vice President Fritz Ewalt became President of Central IL ABATE until the election in April 1987, when Bernie Damm was elected as President and served for 4 years, followed by Gary "Swede" Johnson (who has also been Central Region Coordinator, 2 years, for ABATE of IL) for 2 years; next was Keith Robbins for 2 years; and Rose Rule, for 4 years.

Our current Officers are: John Hovey- President; Gary Rule- Vice President; Jim Dean- Secretary; Julie Bacon- Treasurer; Eve Pierson- Membership; Mark Barton- Products; Bob Kemper & Bob Lamb- Activities Coordinators; Ed Brush & Rose Rule- State Board Delegates; Stan "Sky" King- Legislative; John Hovey- Safety & Education; Jaye Hedgespeth- Public Relations; Jan Asbury- News Reporter; Greg "Chops" Bacon- Charity Event Coordinator; Doug Williams- Sgt at Arms.

The chapter sponsors a "Charity Bash every year at the Knox County Fairgrounds, Knoxville, IL, I-74, Exit 51. We started out supporting MDA, but in 1988, we changed our support to local area Charities so the money would stay here: Western IL Special Olympics, Central IL Dream Factory, and D.I.G.I.T. (Disabled Individuals Getting In Touch) located in Galesburg. When the Dream Factory, in 1994, didn't send someone to the Charity Bash to speak about what they were doing with the money that we donated, they were dropped and replaced by Galesburg Youth Athletic Club. The current recipients are Western IL Special Olympics, DIGIT, and GYAC. We open on Friday evening at 7 PM and wrap it up on Sunday with the drawing for the new 1200 Sportster that we raffle off every year that we purchase from G&W Harley-Davidson in Galesburg. We have been buying our raffle bikes from them since 1985, when we gave the first one away, a new 883. We thank them for their support. We have live bands, food and other biker type vendors, field events on Saturday, and a Bike Show on Sunday with 16 classes including touring, cruiser, custom, and classic for import brands and sportbike for all brands. We support a person's right to ride the type and brand of motorcycle of their choice.