Sturgis, S.D., June 5— In keeping with the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum’s mission to Honor the Rider, the special “Freedom Fighter” award recognizing an individual who has fought to protect the rights of motorcyclists was instituted in 2001. The Freedom Fighter for 2017 is posthumous recognition of Michael “Balls” Farabaugh lifetime of protecting motorcyclist’s right.
“Michael is the original freedom fighter,” says Tigra Tsujikawa, Marketing & Development Director for the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall Of Fame. “He co-founded ABATE of Indiana, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) and launched the annual Meeting Of The Minds conference. As the long-time Executive Director of ABATE, Balls was respected for his honesty and integrity by the biker community—as a 30-year member of the American Motorcycle Association’s Board of Directors, Mr. Farabaugh was able to bring the OEMs and the politicians to the table,” says Tsujikawa.
As passionate as Farabaugh was when it came to motorcycle rights organizations, he was equally committed to rider safety. “He successfully lobbied many state legislatures into giving publicly funded rider training parity with drivers ed. Michael graduated from the first Motorcycle Safety Foundation Chief Instructor Program in 1980 and he and his wife Debby, also an MSF instructor, taught survival skills to literally thousands of riders and instructor trainees over the years.”
In his spare time, he organized motorcycle-related charity events. “In typical fashion, Balls became chairman of the Miracle Ride Foundation and coordinated events that generated more than $2.5 million to the Paraplegic Foundation and Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, as well as MDA.”
“My goal was to make motorcycling better for the next generation,” Farabaugh once told the AMA. “Let’s make it safe and easier to learn to ride. If we as motorcyclists are doing it ourselves, we have a hand in the direction motorcycling takes.” Before his untimely passing earlier this year, the long-time motorcycle safety, education and rider rights advocate had most recently been appointed the first director of Lucas Oil’s newly formed Motorcycle Division.
“All of our honorees – past and present- are deserving, but Michael Farabaugh is the ultimate Freedom Fighter,” declares Tsujikawa. Initiated in 2001, The Freedom Fighter award recognizes those individuals who have made sacrifices to protect the rights of those who ride. These men and women serve diligently, humbly and quietly so that we may enjoy the liberties that many of us take for granted.
“Join us in honoring Michael’s memory as well the Class Of 2017 Hall of Fame inductees,” says Tsujikawa. The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall Of Fame Induction ceremony presented by Strider is being held August 9th at the Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, South Dakota. Details here.