For many, the Northwest Motorcycle Association has always been around and gotten things done. The organization, as we know it today, has existed since 1973. The NMA’s purpose is to represent the interests of off-highway motorcyclists to government, land owners, other recreation user groups, and the general public.
The Northwest Motorcycle Association was started in 1937. By the early 1970s the NMA had become strictly a competition organization hosting motocross, flat track, hillclimbs, scrambles and enduros.
1973 – Ron Morgenthaler was quite concerned that the NMA was no longer involved in legislative efforts or working with land managers while simultaneously there were riding opportunities disappearing in Washington state; he decided to spearhead a different kind of organization to address these shortcomings. Ron and ElRae hosted a group of concerned riders at a meeting in the basement of their home to discuss the need for off-road motorcycle representation at the state level; consequently, the NMA Trail Division was born in 1973. Present at that first meeting were Ron, ElRae & Kathryn Morgenthaler (Bell’s Angels M/C), Tommy Thomson (Bremerton Cruisers M/C), Jerry Gullickson (Stumpjumpers M/C), Howard Lason (Stumpjumpers M/C), Don Rhodes (Seafair City M/C), Gwen Rhodes (Bell’s Angels M/C) and Joe Wernex (Olympia Two-Wheelers). Ron became the first president, Kathryn took on membership and Gwen was the treasurer. Clubs who signed on in the early days included: Stumpjumpers M/C, Bremerton Cruisers M/C, Bell’s Angels M/C, Tacoma Trail Cruisers, Skagit M/C, Olympia Two-Wheelers and Mt. Baker M/C.
1973 – Cascade Family Motorcycle Club was formed. CFMC is one of the charter clubs who require all of its members to be NMA members.
1970s – The NMA Trail Division focused on legislative and land use issues and initially did not promote any events. The original NMA folded about a year after the Trail Division was formed.
1976 – Tommy Thomson, Bremerton Cruisers M/C member, is NMA President
1981 – The Puget Sound Enduro Riders club was established. PSER is one of the charter clubs who require all of its members to be NMA members.
Early 1980s – The NMA Trail Division became known simply as the NMA. A new logo was created featuring the Washington State Capitol Building and a dirt bike.
1984 – Michael Sacha is NMA President
1985 – Rick Dahl was introduced to the NMA by Don Rhodes. He would visit Don’s Northwest Husqvarna shop in Auburn. Those visits led to Rick getting interested in and eventually trying NMA enduros, where he met Dutch Van Elk. Dutch’s influence led to Rick attending monthly NMA meetings. Rick went on to hold the positions of NMA secretary, followed by vice president and then president. 1987 – Earliest known NMA Articles of Incorporation filed with the state.
1988 – Northwest Trailriders Association was formed. They promoted the famed and fabulous Mt. St. Helens 100 Trailride in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest starting that first year.
1989 – A contest was held where members could submit suggestions for a new NMA motto. Mike Koenig (Skagit M/C) was the winner with “Working to the Betterment of Off-road Motorcycling”.
1990 – The NMA event calendar included the enduro series with 9 events and the off-road series with 8 events. There were 3 NMA benefit poker run dates: a 2-day in Tahuya and a 1-day hosted by the Mudslingers M/C in Centralia.
1991 – The annual individual membership fee raised from $10 to $15.
1991 – Black Hills Motorcycle Club was formed. Spearheaded by the Dahl brothers and Marty Jewell. They promoted the Deep Creek Enduro and Red Hawk Hare Scrambles for about 3 years in the early/mid 1990s before the club folded.
1992 – The NMA Calendar Book was the “source of truth” for all things NMA for many years. In addition to being a calendar of events, it included a list of officers, contact info for all NMA charter clubs, contact info for all land managers in the state, a record of the previous year’s competition series award winners and advertising from our supporters.
1990s – Seattle Cycle Center and Aurora Suzuki offered a 10% discount to all NMA members.
1993 – NMA membership hit a record of 1883 members. 1995 – Dave Nicholson, Skagit M/C member, is NMA President
1995 – Total NMA membership was 1282.
1996 – After 23 years of service, Gwen Rhodes stepped down and Mike Koenig assumed the duties of NMA Treasurer
Late 1990s – Northwest Trailriders Association folded. All of their assets were given to a small group of riders who had formed Southwest Washington Offroad Riders Association back in 1990.
1998 – Tory Briggs, Team Crutch member, is NMA President
2006 – After a 25 year hiatus from dirt biking, Marc Toenyan became aware of the NMA by a trifold displayed at Lake City Powersports. He joined to help support dirt bike access on public lands. He soon began creating and distributing informational flyers within the dirt bike community. Since then, Marc has served the NMA on many levels as a courier, artist, fiction writer, IT manager, webmaster, policy advisor/writer, grant writer/manager, webmaster, hiring manager, process engineer, trail designer/builder/trainer, and HMC operator and operator trainer. He began serving as president in November 2017, and continues to volunteer in the above roles as well.
2008 – Iris Rhodes and Tory Briggs at the NMA Awards Banquet. Iris served multiple years as NMA Membership Coordinator. Tory served multiple years as NMA President.
2010 – Article in the NMA Off-Roader about the life of Ron Morgenthaler
2011 – April issue of the Off-Roader. This newsletter was published in various formats and frequencies over a couple of decades.
2011 – Annual individual membership fee dropped from $35 to $30
2014 – Rick Dahl is NMA President
2020 – All NMA events were canceled due to the COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease of 2019) pandemic. Events returned in the spring of 2021 as restrictions were lifted across the country and State of Washington.