Northwest Tour & Trail and Friends
By Historian, Tom Niemela, 8/4/2001
So who is NW Tour & Trail and where did they come
from, you may ask? NWT&T was created by me in an effort to continue
the promotion of dualsporting. I had started the first Black Dog
Dualsport in 1991 when the Northwest Off-road Racers Association (NORA)
was in its second year. At the time NORA was hosting the now-defunct
Lone Squirrel ISDE, and the current Monkey Butt Cross Country Race. The
Black Dog continued in NORA for a few years until around 1996. At that
time it just became too much of a hardship within NORA to have three
events so close to each other and the volunteers were nearing the
Not wanting to lose the, by then, popular Black Dog, and
still wanting to promote dualsporting, I created NWT&T and reached
out to my arsenal of close friends for assistance. Since then it has
really taken off. Along the way various friends have helped out and have
either stuck with it or had a brief involvement, but all of them have
helped to make the events what they are today. Working with these
people has kept it above all else, fun. There is NO WAY this event
could continue without their help. I owe them all dearly.
FYI, the Black Dog had its first year in '91 and got its
name from my faithful old pooch (Australian Shepherd and Black Lab mix),
"Beamer". She lived a fairly long life, was a great biscuit
burner and lived to chase Frisbees, ride in the back of the pickup (and
bark the entire time!) and ride on the motorcycle (Yes, Martha, the
motorcycle - on the tank). She suddenly and mysteriously came up ill in
about 1995 and went to the big Milk Bone in the sky. *sheds a tear*
The first few Black Dog events were held at Gary Roe's shop, Hillsboro
Motorcycles, in Hillsboro, OR, and has since then transferred to the Mt.
Hood National Forest, where it remains.
The first Rat Dog was held in '99 with the combining of
two goals: we wanted to host another event in the Tillamook Forest and
Beaverton Honda/Yamaha wanted to have their very own event. In
keeping with the "Dog" theme, the Rat Dog name came from a
friend's little rat dog named "Patch". They love their little
dog dearly, but I have to admit, under the word "ugly" in
Webster's dictionary, they have a picture of this dog.
So there's the history, but now you need to meet the
people who have been integrally involved over the years (hope I haven't
missed anyone). I plan on posting a small description, and hopefully
picture, of each person. In no particular order, they are:
NORA M/C: When NORA was formed, it was a super
club. It was created to help promote more off-road events, since
many events were declining. Over the years, many of the members have
gone on to other things, but I still have fond memories of great
rides, events, and friends, specifically Dave Cady, Stevie Ray
Branstetter, Dennis Craig, Frank Wildgrube, Tom (& the boys)
Ginsbach, Todd Heinle, Tony Hobkirk, Mark Krieger, Blake Landon, Dave
Lund, Rick McAlister, Jerry Morrell, Melissa Nourigat, Jack Parkinson,
Gary Roe, Kent Seguine, Larry Smith, Ben Steele, Vance Walker, Leroy
White, Kent Alsterberg, Dan Cunha, John Dunham, Chris Green, Steve
Salmon, Randy Beadle, Dan Hatcher, Mark Ruple, Daryl Reid, Bill Rush,
Phil Vanderlende, Marty Clough, Ken Murphy and Pat Curtis.
Truly: (Tom Niemela) Current scooter is an XR650 Honda.
Beadle: Randy started
helping out about '95 from the NORA days and has continued to this
day. We have had so much fun riding time together, whether
setting up the events or just plain riding. Randy is also quite
the accomplished rider and I can trust him to get through most
anything. He has taken the week off with me prior to the Black
Dog off the last couple years and has helped immensely! RandEye
currently rides an XR650 Honda.
John "Jobias" Hughes: Man, John Boy
and I go way back to college years. First met him in school
about '83 and we've been buds since. We've both gone through
thick and thin together! Jobe started helping me on the Dog
after he bought my old Yamaha XT550 in '91 and has been at each one
since '92. He isn't able to go riding much, in fact, I think the
majority of the time he rides is at one of the dogs, but he is always
there and always consistent, faithfully sweeping the B courses (and
giving me a ration!). He currently rides a streeted XR600
Honda after I suckered him into riding that old XT Yamaha down on a
serious Lee Riddle invitational trailride one time in Northern
California (old Rattlesnake Enduro course). He made it through
the gnarly course (incredibly!), came home and immediately bought the
Dan "Hatchetman" Hatcher: Danno
started helping out around '97 or so from the NORA days and has an
incredible knowledge of the Trask area. Quickly learning the Mt.
Hood area too. In the last few years, Danny Boy has taken the
week prior to the Black Dog off for vacation, along with Randy and I,
and as The Three Stooges, we spend the entire week exploring, routing
and trail clearing the Mt. Hood area together. We work hard and
play hard. Along with being an accomplished rider, Danno also has some
incredibly corny jokes! Danny Boy currently rides a WR400
Jim "JD" Dukes: Jimbo has been
helping with the Dogs the last few years faithfully sweeping the B
courses with John Hughes. Together they make another great team
and have big fun together. Jim and I have become great friends
over the years, since our daughters are the same age too. We
also both have BMW R100GS bikes and do road riding together. JD
currently rides an XR400 Honda.
Richard "Gunny" Claypoole: There's a
lot to say about Gunny, and I don't know where to start, regarding his
interest in motorcycling. I'll just hit the high points that
he's been the Team USA ISDE Captain forever and knows everyone who's
anyone, plus he has years of riding behind him, whether racing or
riding in the military. Cool. Gunny started helping me
with sweep in the middle 90's and continues to this day. Why we
are continually blessed with his support, I'll never know, but
bottom line - Gunny
rocks. His current ride is a maxed-out XR650L Honda.
Joe & Julie "J&J" Barrell:
J&J have helped run checks and other assorted things since about
the middle 90's or so. They are incredibly helpful,
knowledgeable, a stone of reliability and are great fun. We go back a
Ron & Loretta Rice, Affordable Trophies:
Ron has been making our trophies for like ever. He always comes
through no matter how late I get the info to him, but he always seems
to make it. In the last few years, he's shown up with Loretta
and also helped to run checks. I think J&J kept telling them
how much fun they have and coerced Ron & Loretta to show.
It's great working with them.
Koch, Frank Noe & Jerry
Lenz of Beaverton Honda/Yamaha: Over the years, Jerry Lenz
(Manager of BHY) has ALWAYS stepped up to the plate to help out with
the Black Dog. There have been many other sponsors too, but none
like BHY. In the last couple years they have stepped up big time
with support from the shop, prizes, flyers, etc. They've also
brought along their Dualsport Team of Walt Koch and Frank Noe, who are
a great asset to the group. Fun to work/ride with too! BHY
is the primary sponsor for the Rat Dog. Walt & Frank are
currently riding XR650 Hondas.
"Dr." Phil Vanderlende: Dr. Phil got
his name from the big DR 650 Suzuki dualsport bike he owns. When
he was still living in Oregon, he was an incredible amount of help,
was super organized and a great sweep dude (another one from the NORA
days). He never quit got the hang of riding in the mountains
though (Michigan is kinda flat, hehe). He moved back to Michigan
a few years back and I sure hope he comes back.
"Dr." Darryl & Rayne Reid: Dr.
Daryl and his wifey, Rayne, have helped on and off over the years, even when
it was a NORA event. Daryl can always be counted on to follow
through and is a hoot to ride with. Pretty darned good at adjusting
suspension and welding too!
"Wild" Bill Rush: Bill is another one
who's helped on and off over the years from the NORA days, and was
essential in starting up the Rat Dog, since it was in his back yard of
the Trask area. Super rider (Multiple Team USA ISDE rider) and a
lot of fun.
Marty "The Kluge" Clough: The Kluge
has helped out on an off over the years back into the NORA days too.
This guy knows how to have fun and party!
Ken "Mad Dog" Murphy: Ken was the
one, back in NORA times, who would always assist me in preriding the
courses, run sweep, plus anything else he was asked to do. Not
many people have more enthusiasm than Kenster. He needs to get
another dualsport bike though! :-)
Sun: Chuckster and KTM have been a major sponsor since about
'95. As you may know, Chuck used to be a factory Honda national
MX champ and Motocross Des Nations winner. He's a pretty good
barbeque cook too! Recently he moved to Las Vegas, but still
makes bouts to Oregon.
Bob Schwarz: Bob is the one who got me into
setting up organized dualsport rides. I'd been dualsporting for
years and years, but he is the one who was my inspiration for events.
Smart, methodical, talkative, and an all around great guy. I
attribute him as being the father of dualsporting to Oregon.
Billy Toman: Billy T and I go way back to my
early days of racing and visiting with him on his legendary China Hat
ISDE. He and Bob Schwarz are like two peas in a pod. Billy &
Bob have stepped up to help in times of need, even laid out a course
one year for me when I was on crutches and couldn't ride - thanx guys!
Pat "Hockey Puck" Curtis: The
Puckster has helped on and off over the years from the NORA days.
Very organized, lotsa fun, kinda flighty (hehe), and often times a
schmuck, but a great friend.
Steve Doane of Husqvarna/KTM of Gresham: Steve
has been very helpful over the years and even cleared out a few
obnoxious logs off the trails that I was unaware of until later.
Steve is another incredible resource for our sport and fun to ride
Roe of Hillsboro Motorcycles: Gary helped me out from the
onset by using his shop as a staging area. Over the years we've
gradually moved away from the store (due to too much highway mileage
to the trails), but Gary still helps out occasionally.
Mark "Ruplee" Ruple: Murk is another
old NORA holdout that used to help a lot, and primary Team Butthook
member. Another epitome of reliability when needed. Mark
is a great rider (another Team USA ISDE member), and tons o' fun. He's
been out of action the last couple years and needs to get another
bike, so we can go riding again!
"Rocket" Rick Higgins: "The
Rick" has been integral for many trails out of the Hood River
area. Couldn't have made an enjoyable ride for the A riders
without his help. Great fun to go rat racing with to, but
watchout - he'll hometown ya on the trails! Rick's current scoot
is a WR426 Yamaha.
Joe Lawry: Joe is another integral trail miser
in the Hood River area. I want to be like him when I grow up!
& Jim Thornton of USFS: Dennis has been supportive of the
Black Dog from its first time in the Mt. Hood area. Absolutely
could not have done it without his support! In the last few
years, he has delegated some of the USFS duties to Jim Thornton, who
is another great help, and very knowledgeable of the opportunities up
on the mountain.
Zeller & Ian Caldwell of ODF: I've worked a lot with
both of these guys over the years in the Tillamook Forest. Gotta
love guys that actually ride, instead of many landowners who don't
understand our sport. These two have continued to promote
positive OHV use in the Tillamook Forest. A tip of the helmet to
Tami Buedefeldt: Great backup and support, plus a
good organizer. Her and her boys have helped out many times.
Steahly/Steahly Off-Road Products: Chuck has helped out off and on
over the years too and is always there as a sponsor. We've raced
against each other many times too! Now if I can only convince
him into getting another dualsport bike!
Bill Johnston: Bill has helped out off and on
over the years. He's also an old racing buddy, in fact we go
back to about '83. Great guy and I wish I could ride with him
Ken "Warmonger" Dobson: Kenster is
the one who took the time and patience to teach me HTML. This
site could NOT have been the quality that it is without his help.
Thanx, Ken, you rock!
Scott and his wifey, Francis, helped out for the first time in 2001 at
the Rat Dog. Scott brought a wealth of skills with him such as
ham radio support (along with a team of fellow "Hamsters"),
first aid support, organizational skills, great chili, plus he likes
to ride - both road and dualsport! Guess that makes up for the
fact that he's an attorney. :-)
Lisa Bierlmeier: Lisa has been riding our
events for some time, and in 2001, she opted to help run B&C sweep
at the Rat Dog, plus brought games down from Vancouver, BC for the
checkpoints, PLUS brought some home-baked cookies for everyone, PLUS
offered her EMT skills. All this AND she rides her
DR650 Suzuki down and back to Canada. A true trooper with plenty
of heart, skill and enthusiasm! Lisa recently got married and moved to
Kansas and that's a long way to ride her DR650, so we're not sure if
she'll be back. We miss you Lisa!