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Dana Bell receives award for motorcycling advocacy

The American Motorcyclist Association's Motorcycling Advocate Award recognizes leaders in the fight for the rights of motorcyclists. Bell is only the third person to be honored.

From the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Coalition

"The AMA Board recognizes Dana Bell as one of the key voices for motorcyclist's rights."

American Motorcyclist Association Vice Chairman Dal Smilie (left) surprised NOHVCC Project Coordinator Dana Bell with a prestigious Motorcycling Advocate Award while Bell was in Montana for a NOHVCC OHV Management Workshop. Also on hand was Bell's good friend Nic Harris (right) who is the AMA Western Representative.

The American Motorcyclist Association Board of Directors created the Motorcycling Advocate Award to recognize those who have been the leaders in fighting for the rights of motorcyclists. It is one of the very highest awards the AMA can give. Only two awards have been previously presented.

Photo: Dana Bell
Dana Bell

When AMA Vice Chairman Dal Smilie showed up for the welcoming night BBQ at the Montana NOHVCC OHV Management Workshop recently, most folks figured he was just there to check out the happenings. However, when he popped up in front of the crowd with a shiny new plaque and invited NOHVCC Project Coordinator Dana Bell to come forward one could sense there were other motives involved.

"At first when I saw Dal and Nic calling me up to the front, I thought it was to play some kind of joke on me," laughed Dana later. What she got was the third-ever Motorcycling Advocate Award along with a heartfelt speech from Dal.

"The AMA Motorcycling Advocate Award is a huge honor - the plaque is already on the wall above my desk," reports Bell from her Long Beach, California home. "But I feel sort of guilty accepting an award for something I get so much satisfaction doing. And, no matter the work it's always worth it if I still get to throw my leg over my little dual-sport bike and go riding."

Following is transcript of Dal's speech:

"Dana Bell has been a leader in the fight for the rights of motorcyclists. Soon after she was married she found that the recreation she and her husband Sam enjoyed, sailing, made her seasick. They needed something else that they could do together. Riding dirt bikes was the choice.

"Naturally athletic Dana became a nationally ranked enduro competitor. She and her husband Sam currently enjoy riding trail and dual-sport motorcycles recreationally and doing volunteer trail maintenance.

"I first met Dana when she was an AMA District 37 volunteer helping with the Barstow to Vegas dual-sport and race. She became more and more involved with rights issues and went to work for the AMA from 1992 to '99 as its Western States GRD Representative. While working for the AMA Dana gained experience working on on-road issues. She now works with NOHVCC.

"She has served seven years as the recreation representative on the BLM California District Advisory Council and is currently an appointed member to the California Roundtable on Recreation, Parks and Tourism as well as an Executive Board member for American Trails. In 2002 Dana was one of eight team members on the American Frontiers Public Lands Journey, a sixty-day, 3000 mile journey from border to border in the West to raise awareness for public lands. I'm sure I have missed much of what Dana has done for us all.

"Motorcycling will exist as a free sport when AMA members like Dana arise to volunteer and organize our forces to keep us riding. The AMA Board recognizes Dana Bell as one of the key voices for motorcyclist's rights and have chosen to present her with this Motorcycling Advocate Award to recognize her for her ongoing efforts."

September 2004

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Updated March 15, 2007

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