The Michigan Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inducts members annually for contributions to Michigan Mountain Biking in the categories of: Advocacy, Trail building and Design, Racing, and Promotions.
Advocacy- Jeff Buermann
Currently president of the Michigan Mountain Bike Association, Jeff’s name can be seen on the very early and formative MMBA meeting minutes as the MMBA sought to influence protections for mountain biking on state lands in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Jeff continues his advocacy with YouthCycling, which awards scholarships and seeks to encourage more youth to participate in this great sport.
Trail-building & Design- Gordie Allen
Cathy Bagi of the SWMMBA picking up award for Gordie who was on holiday travel. If you have ridden Fort Custer’s extensive mountain bike trail loops you are riding much of the work of Gordie Allen who devoted years to the trail system in the Fort Custer Recreation Area making it one of Michigan’s destination trail networks.
Racing- Mike Simonson
Mike Simonson is a fixture in the Michigan mountain bike racing scene, dominating for years to garner the nickname “Simonster.” Mike started racing BMX in Waterford and made the leap to dirt jumping. As a engineering student, he begain mountain biking and did his first race at Addison Oaks finishing 4th in Expert category. He moved up to Elite by the end of that season.
Quoting Mike: “I’ve always lived in Michigan and got my start here and continue to enjoy racing as a Michigander. Later in my mid 20’s I managed to accomplish one of my career goals which was to win the Iceman and I believe I’m still the last Michigander to win it. I also managed to win the Ore to Shore 3 yrs in a row in 06, 07, and 08 while racing for the legendary Bells MTB team. From my late 20’s and early 30’s I switched to focusing more on the long distance MTB racing. I believe my best finish in the NUE series was 3rd overall in 2011 and I also placed on the podium several times all over the country. Now into my mid 30’s I still love racing in my home state of Michigan but focusing more on the gravel road races where I was able to win the American Ultra Cross series 2yrs in a row in 2013-14. I think out of al the types of racing, the gravel racing is my favorite mainly because where I live in Northern Oakland County, we have 100’s of miles of beautiful gravel roads which is where I do most of my training.
I was born and raised in Michigan and will always love racing and riding my bike here. The cycling community in Michigan has always been so friendly and welcoming and in that respect I think it’s a very unique place. We might not have the mountains or roads, but we make up for it with a solid community and it’s thatcamaraderie that makes the Michigan scene so special. ”
Promotions- Steve Brown
Anyone in Michigan knows the event Iceman. It has become a must-do event for thousands of mountain bike enthusiasts whether they consider themselves racers or not. Steve Brown built that event up over decades to make it one of the nation’s premiere mountain bike races.
Steve begain cycling as a youth in Vermont and New Hampshire
Quoting Steve: “I discovered the freedom cycling in 9th grade as a friend I & I rode bikes to/from our respective homes instead of relying on our parents to transport us back & forth. The summer between 9th & 10th grades we rode from Tarrytown, NY to Stowe, VT and then from Hanover, NH to Point Judith, RI. We did it completely on our own in cut-offs & sneakers full panniers. No set itinerary…just an overall plan to be in Stowe in time to meet my parents. In high school (grades 10-12) I rode on a cycling team and discovered racing. From there I went to the University of Colorado in Boulder as I knew cycling was a big thing out there. I rode in the 1977 Red Zinger Classic (with Gary Fisher, though I didn’t know him at the time). While at school in Boulder I organized a few road races (very low-key) for my local club. In the summer of ’79 I rode on the track at Kenosha & Northbrook. I followed that with a summer racing in Belgium as an amateur in 1980. I went over on my own & ended up living with a bunch of Aussies.
Connie & I moved to TC in ’85 & I worked as a financial planner. Iceman started as concept to create a point to point mountain bike race after I rode in one organized by the Vasa guys. Their event only lasted one year so friends & I were looking to replace it with another event. I spent a summer riding in the State Forest exploring & connecting the trails. Around the same time, I organized the Kiwanis Club’s Ski School at Mt. Holiday & also volunteered on the first Tour de Trump road race (where I first met Jamie Smith). After those experiences I decided to work on events and started working for the Vasa Nordic ski race and helped with the Sleeping Bear National Championship events. Ultimately, Iceman required more & more of my time so I began to focus Iceman. I did also create the Glacier Gorge, International Ice, and Tour de Leelanau events but those were all short lived as I didn’t have the formula for an event with a smaller number of participants. ”
2014 Inaugural INDUCTEES
Dwain Abramowski was a co-founder of the MMBA in 1990 and volunteered in its development from 1990 to 2001. In addition to his volunteer activities, he was the Executive Director from 1995-2000 and helped in trail development, coordinate creation of the nine regional chapters in the state, the statewide Volunteer Awards Program, and the Championshiop Point Series. He also served on committees and many regional, midwest and national advocacy committees and/or organizations. He also served as publication director for the printed MMBA publication the Bent Rim Bugle (1990 to 2000).
Dwain is a graduate of Central Michigan University. He is a published writer and photographer including two books on mountain biking. He also has had articles and pictures published in a wide variety of magazines, newspapers, business journals, educational journals, newsletters and nonprofit literature. Credits include: Bicycling Magazine, Michigan Cyclist Magazine, Mountain Bike Magazine, Bike Magazine, WindSurf magazine and others celebrating the great outdoors. Recently, Dwain has worked at Revolution Bike in Charlevoix, Michigan and now works at the Charlevoix Public Library involved in many different library and music programs that serve the local community.
Trail building and Design
Dan Harrison has held numerous positions within the MMBA in his many years of membership including president and IMBA representative. With Dan’s involvement, the MMBA regularly received grants-in-aid to supply the chapters with tools and materials for trail building and maintenance—”an explicit acknowledgement of our responsible role as stakeholders,” to quote Dan. He had also attended IMBA summits in Moab and Washington DC. In 2006, Dan received recognized by REI which garnered the MMBA with the REI “Stewards of the Environment” grant of $20,000.
Perhaps no more important impact was made as when Dan created the MMBA Trail School and served as the first director. The MMBA Trail School was the driving mechanism of instilling sustainable trail building and design as the standard paradigm for MMBA chapter trail building activities. Using sustainable design in presentations to land managers greatly increased the likelihood of getting new trail activity approved. During this period, approximately 125 Trail Builders were certified, 98 Crew Chiefs trained, and 32 Trail Coordinators trained. During this time Dan still found time to do trail work himself!
Brent Walk started promoting mountain biking in the spring of 1987 by doing a half time show MTB race @ the Pontiac silverdome with the AMA Supercross Races. Over 20,000 people each day were treated to a show of early MTB racers doing battle (1 lap) around the motorcycle supercross course. Soft dirt, big jumps, dirt and motorcycle exhaust greeted the riders. The riders also had to get off their bikes to run and push them through the course in some places- to a chorus of spectator boos. The next event was the Pando Challenge MTB race with 167 riders in June 1987. Brent still hosts mountain bike races at Pando making it the oldest and longest continuous mountain bike race location in the country! Brent has since then staging hundreds of races at dozens of venues all over Michigan. His race promotions company, Fun Promotions, has held Observed Trials, Time Trials, Dual Slalom, Downhill’s, Roller races, Night races, Cross country, Cross, Endurance events & now Fat Bike events.
Brent’s personal riding history includes 5 years racing BMX professionally both regionally & national events before making the transition into mountain biking. He raced the early MTB races doing many national events and working with a local manufacturer for a few seasons. Starting as a racer, then team manager and then a promoter, he have been heavily involved in cycling most of his life and still has a passion for cycling.
Art Fleming has a long history of mountain bike racing dating back to 1991. He continues to race! Some Art’s accomplishments as a Michigan mountain bike racer span the globe and the country and include:
1996 Masters World Champion: Men 50-59 in Cairns, Australia. At other Masters World Championships between 1998 and 2004 he placed 2nd twice, 3rd, 5th, and 10th
1997 National Champion: Expert Men 50-59….Park City, UT, 1999 National Champion: Expert Men 50-59 at Mt. Snow, VT and 2000 National Champion: Expert Men 50-59 at Mammoth Mountain, CA
Regional Masters Expert Age-Group Champion or multi-time podium medalist at Red Wing, MN, Snowshoe, WV, Helen, GA, Sugarloaf Resort, MI, Bryson City, NC, Seven Springs, PA, Schuss Mountain, MI, Birmingham, AL, Paoli, IN, and Bellaire, MI.
Art was also Masters National Mountain Bike team member for 6 years, Nationally Ranked Mountain Bike Expert Veteran/Master rider for 8 years and many-times champion and podium holder over the years in the MMBA Championship Point Series, the Fun Promotions Michigan Cup, the USAC/Norba Michigan Series, and the Tailwind Time Trial Series.
Art has also raced and finished the Iceman Cometh race at least sixteen times and is a 4-time age group winner with multiple appearances on the podium. Art is also an Individual Age-Group winner at Chequamegon 40 and Ore-2-Shore. He finished the Leadville 100 mountain bike race ten times and was a four time age group winner and current record holder for the Men 70+ category!