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BMW MOA's Dynamic Rally Team: Brian Hinton, Lee Harrelson & Deb Gasque

Wednesday, January 17, 2018   (1 Comments)
Posted by: BMW MOA Staff

Rally Registration is Now Open! Register two people for $99 during the month of February (or one person for $55).

What happens when you bring together a superbly talented musician, a world-class photographer and an "Iron Butt Fashionista?" No, it's not the newest reality show in the making, but these three dynamos comprise your 2018 BMW MOA Rally Team!

Rally Chair Brian Hinton and his Co-Chairs, Lee Harrelson and Deb Gasque, are hard at work planning and creating the biggest MOA family gathering of the year and promise your time spent in Des Moines, Iowa, July 12-15, 2018, will be remarkable.

With a fairground scene that's absolutely pristine but surrounded by a city that's worthy of a super shout-out for its high marks in the "good vibes" department, you won't want to discount Des Moines as simply a "Rally in the Cornfield." Much to the contrary. Brian, Lee and Deb have some grand things in the making and look forward to seeing returning rally-goers, as well as an extraordinary amount of first-timers who have never attended.

Spoiler Alert! This is the year you will want to participate as the volume of "epic" will be turned up beyond full-blast to 12! So who are the characters in this grand plot?

2018 Rally Chair Brian Hinton is a rockstar and nothing less. Don't be fooled by his nonchalant demeanor as he's a fiercely talented guitarist who rocks the music circuit on a regular basis and also owns a guitar shop, Elite Music, in Montgomery, Alabama.

An Alabama native, Brian has been involved with motorcycles since his teenage years, and in 2004, Brian had his first experience with a BMW motorcycle. Back then he had a couple of friends' motorcycles that he could borrow and his first "loaner" was a 1993 R 100 R.

"I ended up keeping that bike for almost nine months and knew then I was a Beemer guy all the way." He found an R 1200 C on a local bulletin board and bought it, then rode it thousands of miles and to his very first rally.

Brian was also introduced to the MOA during this time when he was given a stack of Owners News magazines. "I really started getting to know this new lifestyle as well as the MOA culture," he said. That experience also led Brian to seek out local BMW motorcycle clubs, and this is when he found the BMW MOA "Alabeemers" chapter. He is now the club's Travel Director where he actively encourages club rides, including their monthly "Second Saturday" ride.

The BMW MOA has become very important to Brian, and he also serves as a Regional Coordinator with aspirations of joining the BMW MOA Board of Directors. "What attracts me to the MOA is the sense of fellowship and common goodwill of everyone who I have met that is involved with the MOA. They offer great information and insight into the world of riding and safety, as well as bridging the gap between dealers and end users," he said.

Brian is absolutely thrilled to be the 2018 Rally Chair and is working hard to bring a harmony of fresh, vibrant and creative tones to our gathering in Des Moines, Iowa, July 12-15. His passion is deep and will certainly enhance efforts to organize one of the best rallies on record.

Lee Harrelson, Deb Gasque and Brian Hinton.

With all of that, Brian remains basic with his belief of what makes a great event. "In my opinion, a great event is created by the gathering of people with a common passion. We are one big family who love to ride, socialize and have a good time together," he said.

Rally Co-Chair Lee Harrelson is a Birmingham, Alabama, native and the youngest of five brothers. Lee credits his career as a professional photographer, amongst a couple of other things, to his siblings, specifically his brother Keith. Through his example and encouragement when Lee was an impressionable and slightly troubled teenager, he found his life's passion behind the camera. Following a stint at a local camera shop and then later as a fashion photographer's assistant, Lee made the bold decision to take a leap of faith and move to Florida where he began shooting fashion, commercial advertising and tourism images.

Although Lee was rocking the photography world and truly living his dream, he pined for his sweet home Alabama. Two years later, he packed it back up and moved home, where he landed a job as a fashion photographer at a Birmingham-based department store and spent nine years traveling across the country living the dream.

As Lee's career evolved and he once again yearned to be back home in Birmingham, Lee began photographing food for grocery stores, restaurants and cookbook publishers. Along with the influence of siblings in launching his career path, Lee also received his passion for motorcycling from two other brothers, Vance and Rob. He picked up his first BMW after "borrowing" one of his brother Vance's F 650 GSs and really digging it. Eventually, Lee purchased his own BMW, a 2004 R 1150 R, which remains his two-wheeled main squeeze today. It was at this time that he also joined the MOA.

Due to the influence of yet another brother, Mark, Lee gained his deep passion of music. This passion, which rounds out a perfect trio of fervor, has landed Lee the title of Entertainment Chair for our BMW MOA Rallies for nine years. Lee has truly enjoyed his work within the MOA and has made lifelong friends. In 2018, Lee will not only be sure we have absolutely outstanding music every evening, but will also be working on the "big picture" of our annual gathering as a Co-Chair with the same passion and fervor he's given throughout his life.

Rally Co-Chair Deb Gasque's moto-spark began with the August 2015 issue of our BMW MOA Owners News magazine. In that issue was a brand new column titled "Long Distance Style," and upon seeing her first story published in a motorcycling magazine, "The Iron Butt Fashionistas" screams of delight could be heard echoing throughout the fairgrounds in Billings, Montana.

Deb's longtime career in the journalism/communications field had taken an unconventional shift when she submitted her story in June of that year. Deb, a Utah native and longtime South Carolina resident with a history in conventional journalism, was introduced to motorcycling in 2005 and rode pillion for a few years. In 2009, she received her motorcycle endorsement, and her passion for fashion-blended storytelling grew right along with her passion for two-wheeled adventures.

Deb acquired her first BMW, an '05 F 650 GS, in 2010, on which she logged thousands of miles. In 2014 she moved up to a 1994 R 1100 RSL on which she completed her first Iron Butt Saddle Sore by riding 1,000 miles in 24 hours that July. The following July, on the way to the BMW MOA Rally in Billings, Montana, Deb completed another Iron Butt ride, The Bun Burner, by riding 1,500 miles in 36 hours. Last October, Deb completed an Iron Butt 50 CC by riding Coast-to-Coast in 50 hours along with two other MOA members. Deb describes the feat as "definitely my biggest two-wheeled accomplishment thus far."

Deb sees herself as a huge MOA cheerleader, constantly recruiting new members during her travels, and is excited to serve as a Rally Co-Chair. She is working hard with the rally team and has the goal of putting a true "festival" vibe into our gathering in Des Moines.

A dynamic rally team, a gorgeous location and an epic lineup of fun, festival and friends—what are you waiting for? Mark your calendars now for July 12-15, 2018, to "Experience the Journey" to Des Moines, Iowa, for the BMW MOA Rally 2018! Registration begins next month.


Thomas Casey says...
Posted Monday, January 22, 2018
How does one contact the chairs

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