Meet the Board

deb2 Deborah Butitta
Board Chair
In 1990 I attended an ABATE of AZ Yavapai Chapter meeting in downtown Prescott, AZ and I was hooked on the train to express my passion for riding and freedom for a life style.

Over the last 25 years I became a member of various organizations such as MMA of Arizona (MMA), ABATE of Colorado, Freedom of the Road Riders in Missouri, American Motorcycle Association (AMA) and Motorcycle Rider Foundation (MRF); remaining a member of my home Chapter of ABATE of AZ. In ABATE of AZ I held various positions at chapter and state level such as Chapter PAC Officer for 14 years, Chapter Coordinator and a seat on the ABATE of AZ Board of Directors. An ABATE of AZ event called “Too Broke for Sturgis” was in Prescott in 1994-98 which I set up the location and permits for the event each year.

In 2001 I served as the first Designated Lobbyist for Arizona Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (AZCMC).

In 1994 I joined MRF as a member but before I knew it I was the AZ MRF State Representative for 14 years which led my journey to the MRF Board of Directors seat in 1997 where I held 3 different position including Corporate Secretary for 8 years thru my tenure with MRF Board of Directors.

Currently I site the MRF Board of Directors, the founding Chairperson for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation Awareness & Education (MRFA&E) Board of Directors and ABATE of AZ Board of Director Member. I still belong to various State Organizations. I serve as a volunteer still with passion for freedom and riding. My job to make money to support my passion is a Commercial Real Estate Broker in the business since 1983. I bring some of my professional skills to the table with the board of directors I’m serving wherever I can to help all motorcycle riders globally.

In 1998 my brother Chuck and I opened an aftermarket motorcycle shop that helped educate me in the world of the aftermarket business owners.

Like all of us I have owned a few motorcycles over time. Currently my garage houses my 2005 VRSCA and my 2009 XL1200N.

My passion is still strong and my extended family is all of you who go down the road with the wind in your face.

lane Lane Triplett

Vice Chairman

Lane Triplett is from Boise, Idaho. He has been the Vice-Chairman of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation Awareness and Education Corporation since the office was created in 2014. He has been a member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation for 14 years and the American Motorcyclist Association for 20 years. He has presented seminars at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s annual “Meeting of the Minds”. He has also presented at the State Motorcycle Safety Administrators annual conference.

At home in Idaho, Lane has been a member of the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety for 22 years. He has held various positions on that organization’s board of directors, serving as the chairman of the board for the past 10 years and the organization’s government relations officer for the last 3 years. He is also a member of other state motorcyclist rights organizations in Idaho. Since its inception in 2010, Lane has served on the motorcycle committee of the Idaho Transportation Department’s “Towards Zero Deaths” crash reduction program. He also serves on the advisory board of Idaho’s “STAR” rider education department.

Lane is a pipefitter by trade. He has served on his union’s executive board, been a part of the local’s contract negotiation team and held other various offices. He has been an apprentice instructor for nearly 20 years.

carol Carol Downs
I have been riding for over 25 years. I started riding when I was 14 on the dirt. For my 18th birthday I bought myself my first street bike, a Honda 350. It was a big bike in those days. I was the only woman I knew who rode solo. After a few years I quit riding. The usual excuses, men were threatened by me; I had a family to raise, etc. In 1997 I decided I wanted to ride again. I found a Motorcycle Safety Course and learned how to ride properly this time. And I haven’t been able to stay off the bike since.

When I started my second riding life, I also determined that I needed to do more than just ride. I loved riding and all of the freedoms associated with riding. I knew if I wanted to continue to enjoy these freedoms I needed to work to preserve them. So I joined ABATE of Colorado. While living in Durango, CO., I served as Recording Secretary and Public Relations Officer for my district. I was Co-Chairman of our Toy Run for several years. I put together our first Spring Poker Run. I then sat on the ABATE of CO State Board as the Southwest Regional Coordinator until 2002. I volunteered at the Four Corners Iron Horse Motorcycle Rally from its inception through 2001. I have been active in various riding groups throughout Colorado.

In early 2001, I decided to do more than just talk rights. The rights movement is based on Rider Education being the key to personal freedom. I decided to directly affect Rider Education by becoming a Certified Motorcycle Safety Instructor. In order to be able to teach motorcycle classes full time, I moved to the Denver area in 2002. (It didn’t hurt that I married a man I met during my Instructor Prep classes.) For several years I taught exclusively of any other job. I was one of those very lucky people who get to make a living (sort of) doing something I absolutely LOVE. While times have changed somewhat and I now work a regular job, I still teach as many classes as I can each year.

I sat on the Board for Directors for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation for 14 years as their Director of Events and Conferences. I scheduled and planned up to three major Conferences every year. The intent: to gather all parties interested in protecting motorcyclist’s rights, conduct seminars and network so all can work together to achieve our common goals. These Conferences are held throughout the United Sates. Meeting of the Minds, our annual Conference, is held each September. You can get more information about the MRF and our Conferences by checking out their website at

I have been the Treasurer for the MRF Awareness & Education since the organization was founded. I have a BA in Business Administration from Fort Lewis College. I owned my own accounting business for many years prior to moving to the Denver, CO area.

My husband and I have ridden together though 45 states. We do ride to almost all of our MRF and ABATE functions throughout the United States. I currently ride a Honda VT1100 ACE Tourer. In my life, I have owned and ridden Hondas, Kawasakis, BMWs and Suzukis as well as several Harleys. To my way of thinking, it isn’t what you ride, just that you ride.

Corporate Secretary position vacant taking applications, please contact Deborah Butitta 928-308-1117
Board Assistant – Education/Communications position vacant taking applications, please contact Deborah Butitta 928-308-1117
ax Stacey “Ax” Axmaker
Board Assistant – Safety
Stacey “Ax” Axmaker is an assistant to the MRF A&E Board. Ax has been in the motorcycle safety field since 1991 when he became an Instructor. Since then he has worked as a Mentor, Instructor Trainer, local Program Manager, state Operations Manager, state Training Manager and state Program Director. He is currently the Director of the Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program. In addition to training students and Instructors, he has also trained Instructor Trainers and has participated in police motor officer training. His experience includes curriculum development at the novice, experienced, and advanced levels of rider training, customized training for Instructors and RiderCoaches, as well as the development of numerous seminars, trainings, and presentations for riders and the general public. Ax is Chair of Idaho’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan Motorcycle Safety Committee, serves on the Idaho Highway Safety Commission, serves on the Executive Committee for the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA), and in 2013 was presented with the “Outstanding Contribution Award” by the SMSA.

Ax is the founder of Motorcycle Safety Systems, LLC – a small consulting company that provides training, advising, and support to rider training providers and motorcycle safety programs as well as expert witness services for attorneys . He also is the creator of “Ride More Crash Less” – a website and blog aimed at reaching motorcyclists around the country (and around the world) to help us all ride more and crash less.

Ax’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (Thesis on Educational Methods), a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (marketing, management, consumer behavior, etc.) a college certificate in “Management of the Training Function,” and graduate level coursework in Instructional and Performance Technology.

Ax and his wife Brenda live in Boise, Idaho and enjoy spending time outdoors camping, hiking and bicycling. Their other favorite hobby is watching Zane (their toddler) grow and explore the world. Ax currently rides a 1997 Honda Valkyrie Tourer (and no, Zane doesn’t ride with him…yet).

mike Mike Berger
Board Assistant – Media Relations/PR
I’d love to say that I was brought up with motorcycles, but that just wouldn’t be true. My parents were none too fond of the machines, and it wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I got my first motorcycle—a 1975 Suzuki T500 two-stroke twin. Since then I’ve owned nine different machines, and in my twenty-five years of riding I can honestly say I’ve loved them all.

I’m an award-winning national writer and editor by trade. I’ve authored three of my own books, been editor for over two hundred other book titles, and have written for more than two dozen magazines and content sites. As a two-wheeled enthusiast, I’ve been privileged to be able to combine my professional talents with my love of motorcycling. I’m the former Executive Director of the 80,000-plus-member Motorcycle Riders Club of America, have written for numerous motorcycling publications including Rider Magazine, served as Associate Editor for Classic Bike Rider (CBR) Magazine, and I worked as Art Director for DomiRacer Distributors, then the largest supplier of parts and accessories for antique and vintage British and European motorcycles.

I served for many years as a member and as chairman of the State of Minnesota’s Motorcycle Safety Advisory Committee. I’m a Sustaining Member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), one of its Asst. State Reps in Minnesota, and an assistant to the MRF board of directors. Last but not least, I’m an active member of American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education (A.B.A.T.E.) of Minnesota, and a member of A.B.A.T.E. of Oklahoma and A.B.A.T.E. of Iowa.

My main ride is my 2001 Harley-Davidson FXST Softail Standard, although I’ve also been spotted on my Stage-3 converted 1993 Harley Sportster 1200 (and on my wife’s 1998 BMW R1200C when I can steal it from her).

Grant Writer position vacant taking applications, please contact Deborah Butitta 928-308-1117
ron-1-220x250 Ron Braaksma
Assistant to the Board
I got my first motorcycle in 1968. For a few years in the nineties, I didn’t have a car, but I always had my bike. I became an over-the-road truck driver in 1977. These days I drive about 150,000 miles a year, so you can say I live on the highway.

I joined ABATE of Iowa about 1990 and became a life member about 1993. I joined the MRF about that same time. I started coaching motorcycle rider classes in 2007, and became a Share the Road presenter about 2009. When I learned about MRF A&E I wanted to be a part of it.

Highway safety, and specifically, motorcycle safety has always been a priority. My only regret is that I didn’t get involved earlier.

Ride Safe

eric Eric Hampton
I have been active in motorcycle rights since 2004 and in that time, I have served as a chapter and state officer in ABATE of Arizona and have served as Chairman of the Board as well. I served a five year stint as the MRF’s Director of Communications. I was the editor of the MRF Reports for nine years, ABATE of Arizona’s Masterlink newsletter, ABATE of South Carolina’s newsletter, MMA of Arizona’s newsletter and the ACMC’s Arizona Spokesman. I ride a Kawasaki Vulcan and a Yamaha Royal Star Venture.
The MRFA&E is a 501(c)3 Corporation and all donations are tax-deductible