It was in July of 2005 when Robert “Trip” Hilliard purchased a brand new Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad. Having access to support groups online for past motorcycle brands, Trip noticed there wasn’t much in the way of Nomad support online. After receiving numerous emails from other Nomad owners, Trip created KawaNOW - Kawasaki Nomad Owners Worldwide in June of 2007. Trip’s goal and mission for KawaNOW was to provide a place for all Nomad/Vaquero/Voyager owners to get answers to their Vulcan-related questions and to provide "Vulcanraderie", an opportunity for like motorcycle riders to get-together for rides and fellowship. Trip named his friend Jeff Platz "Socwbiker" Vice President. Now armed with a website and a forum, KawaNOW grew from just a few members to over 2,300 members within a five year period.
KawaNOW was successful, and as it grew, so did the management. Regional zones for KawaNOW were made and regional leaders assigned as well as assistants. The USA was split up into 3 major zones. It was decided that each region would hold Rallies in 2008. Later the U.S. was divided into six regions and Canada into two. Plans for the first National Rally to be held in 2009 began. It was decided to hold regional rallies in even numbered years and a National Rally in odd numbered years. In addition to the U.S. and Canada, Australia was also active, linking up Nomad owners and hosting rallies and rides in local areas.
KawaNOW's first National Rally took place in June, 2009 at Custer, South Dakota and although an odd numbered year, three more regional rallies were also held. The locations were Helen, Georgia, Eureka Springs, Arkansas and Bath, New York.
In October of 2010, Kawasaki Corporation debuted it's new bagger called the Vaquero.
Vulcan Bagger Association or VBA so that not only the Vaquero, but also the Voyager could be better represented. 2011 also saw the second National Rally held in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Located in the Smoky Mountains and close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the famous Tail of the Dragon.
Todd Frasier and Amy Neal did the heavy lifting getting the rally planned. Both Trip's choice of leadership and the location proved to be excellent. Kawasaki Corporation brought their demo bikes to test ride and rally goers enjoyed 3 days of riding in the Smokys. West coast members also had a rally, dubbed the "Rally in the Redwoods" it was held in Cresent City, California.
In September of 2011 the forum moved from ProBoards to Vbulletin.
2012 was a busy year in the VBA. Six more regional rallies were held, including one in Canada. CanadaWest hosted the NorthWest U.S. in Canmore, Alberta. The SouthWest went to Kanab, Utah, the SouthEast to Townsend, Tennessee. The NorthCentral went back to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin after a one night stay in Savanna, Illinois. The SouthCentral returned to Arkansas, this time in Van Buren. The NorthEast and CanadaEast combined for a rally in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. There was a change in management as well, in June of 2012, Jeff decided to step down as the VP of Global Operations and Trip named Jim Hardin "Oldbikers" the new Vice President. Jim would be the only VP as the titles of Todd Frasier "Todd" and Steve Dzuryk "Rindadingh" would change from VP of U.S and Canada Operations to National leader.
Todd would be the U.S. National Leader and Steve the Canadian National Leader.
A lot more changes were coming in 2013. After six years at the helm Trip decided to step down as President. He asked Jared Gant, who at the time was the SouthWest Regions Assistant Leader to take over as President and after some time to think about it Jared agreed.
On May 1st he became the VBA's second President. Jim also stepped down as VP and Jared named Jay Stephens the NorthCentral Regions Assistant Leader as the VBA's third Vice President. In addition to Trip and Jim, other big changes happened. Todd the U.S. National leader,
Amy "Kawgirl Neal and Larry "LW" Sellers, both long time staff members decided it was time for someone else to take over. And Kris "Netnorske" Olsen gave up his leadership role in the NorthWest. Bill "USranger" Blake took over for Todd while Cliff "VulcanE" Evans and Don "DMyers" Myers replaced Amy and Larry. Bud "Idaho" Smalley took over the Region Leader position in The NorthWest, while Amin "Rasta" Bakri became the NorthCentral's Assistant Leader replacing Jay and Jared's replacement as SouthWest Assistant was "Sin City Stan".
2013 was also a National Rally year and Trip chose Estes Park, Colorado to be the location for the VBA's third National Rally. Trip along with Joel "Waterman" Schneekloth and Rod "Proghorn" Yeager were in charge of the rally planning. Located Just east of Rocky Mountain National Park it's home to some of the best riding and scenery found anywhere. Estes Park also has a great downtown area with plenty of shops and restaurants. It proved to have something for everyone.
Jared and Jay worked hard to create bylaws for the VBA, create a new website and expand the groups FaceBook presence.
By the end of 2013 membership had risen to over 2500.
The VBA started 2014 off with a new logo. A contest was held with members submitting their ideas.
When the voting was over the work of Joe "id-man" Rees was selected as the VBA's new logo.
Combined rallies were the theme in 2014, with the North and South Central Regions meeting in the Ozarks in
for a Bash in the Bitteroots. By the end of 2014 membership had risen to just under 3000.
to hold a huge Vulcan rally. Well over 250 riders from all over the U.S. and Canada attended. Once again Kawasaki brought their truck full of demo bikes to ride. The Ozarks are a great place to ride and the weather cooperated. The combined rally was a blast and over $3000 was raised for a local charity.
In July, after the rally Jared decided it was time to step down as President. Jay planned to take over the position but a growing family made
him decide against accepting the job. He would also step down as VP. Two others were asked to take over the duties and in November Dave "BudMan" Jesse went from being the SouthCentral Region Leader to being the VBA's third President.
Amin "Rasta" Bakri who was the NorthCentral Regions Assistant Leader became the groups fourth Vice President. David "Framer" Marang
took over as the SouthCentral's new Region Leader and Noel "Badger" Burke became the NorthCentral's Assistant Leader.
By the end of 2015 the VBA had grown to have 3288 regestered members and over 7000 forum users.
There were four more regional rallies in 2016. The SouthCentral met in Salem, Missouri to ride the northern Ozarks.
The following week the NorthCentral's rally was in held in Hillsboro, Wisconsin and the SouthEast went back to Helen, Georgia.
In August the CanadaEast and Northeast U.S. had a combined rally in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.
In November plans for the 5th VBA National Rally were announced. The NorthEast U.S. and CanadaEast will be hosting in Lake George, New York. This location was also the site of a rally in 2010.
The SouthCentrals long time assistant leader Victor "Nightmare" Gulbowski sold his one of a kind turbo Nomad.
Framer then ask Heath "Talon" Cady to take Vic's place.
The VBA continues to grow and by the end of 2016 had 3527 members and over 8100 registered forum users.
Even though 2017 was a National Rally year the SouthCentral region got things underway in May at a gathering in Eureka Springs, AR.
The following month would be special for the VBA. In June, what started as KawaNOW and
became the VBA celebrated a birthday. The group was now 10 years old.
Plenty had happened in those 10 years. Many rallies and rides, but most importantly, for a lot of us, many friendships had been made. Wanting a design to mark the event Trip was asked to try and come up with something and he didn't hesitate. The logo is the founders work.
The 5th National Rally and 10th birthday party took place July 18-19-20 in Lake George, New York. The folks from the NorthEast and CanadaEast regions were great host.
Their choice of Lake George and the Adirondacks was perfect for riding, dining and relaxing.
© 2017 by Vulcan Bagger Association