All posts by Douglas Kauffman


We are half way through February and the STRA events for the year have begun.  The 2017 Championship Awards Banquet was held on February 10th in Jasper, Tennessee at the Western Sizzlin’.  There was a good turnout of approximately 75 people including STRA members, family and friends.   The banquet recognized the accomplishments of the association for 2017 as well as key people making contributions.  It was also announced that the Secretary/Treasurer has been relieved from his duties by the current STRA officers due to a history of inappropriate use of STRA funds and delinquent AMA duties that were discovered in our pursuit to evolve the STRA towards a not-for-profit organization.  Proposed rule changes pertaining to membership dues and trial time limits that were tabled at the business meeting in November were voted upon by the 40 members that were present at the banquet.   These changes are reflected in the STRA 2018 rule book posted on this site.  Championship awards donated by Randy Sharp and RSD Laser were presented to each of our eligible class finishers and champions (see the Results page for final 2017 Championship standings).  Most improved rider (Sean Parker) and best event of 2017 (Mark Moon Memorial Trial) awards were also given.   Once again we had an overabundance of raffle items provided by the Trials Training Center, Beta and Ray Peters, Trials Store USA and the Niederers, Ryan Young Products, Rod Overstreet at Gas Gas and Jim Snell at TRS.  One of greatest highlights of the evening however was the presentation of the Curt Comer Award which is given to the best rider in the STRA (i.e. winner of the Champ Class).   Curt Comer, Sr. for whom the award is named was one of the founding fathers of the STRA in 1973.  He was also President of the association in 1977, 1982 and 1983.  Sadly, Mr. Comer passed away on January 31st of this year.  We had the honor of his son, Curt Comer, Jr. attending our banquet and presenting the trophy in his father’s name to Alex Niederer.

A fun trial hosted by the Trials Training Center put together by Charlie Roberts was enjoyed by 30 riders on the Sunday after the banquet.  The torrential rains from the day before made the course so over run with water and slippery that only six of the nine prepared sections could be used.  It was a great time had by all however and a terrific way to prepare for the upcoming season which begins at Trackrock in Blairsville, GA on March 3rd and 4th.  Due to scheduling constraints we head directly to Ocala, Florida the very next week (March 10th and 11th) for Fun-in-the Sun.  See the event flyers in the Schedule section of this website for more details.

In closing, excitement should be brewing for 2018.  The schedule is posted on the website and flyers will be available along with online sign up appropriately timed for each event.  The STRA also has a National event to prepare for and host at the Trials Training Center in June. This is the perfect opportunity for STRA club members to step up and volunteer, to ensure that the event is as successful as possible.

Good luck to all in the upcoming 2018 events.  I hope we are able to award a new batch of Class Champions at next year’s awards banquet.




‘Tis the season for nostalgia and resolutions.  With that in mind, looking back, 2017 was great year for the STRA Championship series!

  • We started the year in Ocala, Florida with the “Fun in the Sun” Alex Niederer, Maddie Hoover, Kris Gilreath and Sean Parker all were on the top step that weekend, demonstrating why they would eventually become the 2017 Champions for their respective riding classes.
  • Trackrock in Blairsville, Georgia followed the very next weekend. Frank Alexander always puts on a great event.  This year there was no snow or rain but you could sure see your breath Sunday morning because of the chill.  Frank’s spaghetti dinner for all the riders after Saturday’s event is something that always makes memories.
  • The Hickory Hills event in Lenoir City, Tennessee hosted by Papa Joe Terry at the end of April, sticks in the mind because of the rain. Boy, did it rain, and boy, was it fun! Eric Mattson’s section design was perfect for the weather conditions.  Champ Class Sunday morning was highlighted by Laura Peters teaching Women’s Novice rider Kelly Vermeulen how to do a wheelie.
  • The next week Robbie Hawkins offered a Ryan Young Trials School on his property in Cookeville, Tennessee. As a fund raiser, Robbie generously donated a riding slot to a STRA rider.  Raffle tickets were sold online and at the Hickory Hills event and Doug Raney was the winner.  He was a good student because in his first year in trials he placed fourth in the intermediate class, achieving two first place finishes and two seconds during the year.
  • The Spring Splash in Sequatchie at the Trials Training Center was aptly named this year and had the largest turnout of any of the events for the 2017 season. Charlie Roberts always knows how to put on a good show!
  • Another fundraiser was held a week after: organized by Alan Shirley in Ringgold, Georgia to raise money to assist  STRA riders who participated the FIM World Trails Round in Kingman, Arizona July 29th and 30th.  A big thank you for all of Alan’s efforts and all those who participated, helping to support Alex and Andreas Niederer, Maddie Hoover and Laura Peters – all of whom were bold enough to ride with the big dogs of the sport.
  • After a long summer break we resumed riding at Cornelia, Georgia the first weekend in October. Henry Hills is always a fun ride put together by Jamie Gourley and this time assisted by Sean Parker, who laid out the sections for the rainy Sunday event.  Jamie’s loop is always one to be remembered and the weekend also celebrated Alex Niederer and Gary Hoover’s birthdays.
  • The 58K at Trials Training Center was a 25th anniversary celebration along with Ray Peters’ birthday (however, not his 25th). Charlie and Catherine organized an excellent dinner after Saturday’s awards ceremony to commemorate the event.
  • The memorial ride in Ringgold, Georgia, remembering Mark Moon, our friend and STRA president who passed much too early in life, was a great way to conclude the riding season in early November. Randy Sharp made his first appearance at a trials event for the year after stepping down from a five year reign as club president at the end of 2016.  Randy has done great things for the STRA and serving as Trials Master for the Ringgold event is now one of them.  He organized two days of terrific rides, over obstacles that only Griff Shirley could put together with his construction equipment.
  • The night after Saturday’s Mark Moon trial, the STRA business meeting was held.  Dawn and Griff Shirley allowed us to use their workshop and organized an incredible feast of food for this affair.  The schedule for the business meeting was changed this year to enable more people to attend and be involved with the direction of the STRA.  The conclusion of the meeting saw an update of the official STRA rules, namely to objectify and clarify previous sections with proposals on how to structure the time limit of riding. This point generated the greatest debate and was tabled until alternative wording could be proposed.  This change will be voted upon at the 2017 awards banquet, which will be held February 10th.  The current STRA officers were voted back into the same positions for 2018 with the exception of Tripp Almon as Youth Director.   We are sad to convey that Tripp is leaving the southeast, moving to Colorado early this spring.  To date the Youth Director position remains vacant.
  • The next scheduled STRA event is the 2017 awards banquet (February 10th) which will be followed by a fun ride to rekindle our skills, fulfill our resolutions and most importantly, reconnect with the great people involved with our organization as we enter the 2018 season. Please see the Event Schedule portion of this website for more details as they become available on both the banquet and the 2018 STRA season.

My best wishes to all.  Make a trials resolution and let STRA help you keep it.  Keep riding and keep making it fun!





In an effort to involve more club members in determining the direction of the association, the annual club business meeting will take place after Round 13 (The Mark Moon Memorial Trial on November 11, 2017 in Ringgold, GA).  Dinner will be provided by the Shirleys but donations will be appreciated.   This is in lieu of the usual meeting date in January which made attendance a challenge for many.   This meeting is not to be confused with the Awards Banquet, which will be held on February 10, 2018.

The meeting agenda is posted below.  Each member is encouraged to submit items for discussion and vote by 11/8/17 via email to me at STRAMAIL@CHARTER.NET.  If you wish to submit a proposed rule or operational change, please be as specific as possible.    To that end, please note that the rules are available on this website under Riding Rules.   Here’s an example of a submission:

Rule Section 7.0, Item 5.

“Each section shall be adequately marked throughout to show the required path and boundaries for each class. The sections shall progress through gates of an appropriate width marked by 2 gate markers. Sub sections shall be ridden in preceding  ANY order unless noted by numbered gate markers. Ribbons should be firmly placed 4” to 12” above the ground where possible.  Any color ribbon may be used. Once the event has begun, the sections must be ridden as is and as they develop, changes to a gate cannot be made after having been ridden by a single competitor.”

Change the word preceding to any.  The goal of the proposed change is to clarify what order gates should be ridden in each section.

Please note that to keep the meeting on schedule, only items pre-submitted will be guaranteed for discussion.  Also, the topic of changing the STRA’s 50/50 peer scoring system will not be entertained unless the proposal guarantees checkers for the promoter at each event.

STRA Club Business Meeting Agenda 2017

  1. President’s Report                                                                                                        Year to Date (What we have accomplished)
  2. Treasurer’s Report (Where we are now)
  3. Plans for 2018 (Where we want to go)                                                          Rule Changes                                                                                                    Operational Changes                                                                                     Change Club Status to Not-for-Profit Club                                        2018 Schedule                                                                                                 Officer Elections
  4. Items from the Floor

In closing, 2017 has flown by and I appreciate the opportunity to have served as President.  It has been a steep learning curve and everyone’s support and suggestions has been much appreciated.  I am excited about what 2018 can bring.  Remember, this club is yours and it is only as strong as your participation and involvement.  Thanks in advance for your submissions and attendance to the meeting.




This letter’s lead in was going to be “here we go!”.  The month of October is upon us and the summer trials break is over.  But I am slow in getting this to print, so now the lead is, “What a fun start!”  Jamie Gourley and Sean Parker put on a great event at Cornelia on October 7th and 8th.  It was Sean’s maiden venture as a trials master for the Henry Hills event, setting up the sections for Sunday’s riding.  I don’t know if he planned for hurricane Nate to add running water through most of his sections or not, but he did a great job.  It was a fun weekend and memories made for the 64 riders.  We also used the weekend to recognize Gary Hoover’s 65th and Alex Niederer’s 24th birthdays.

Sunday morning we took advantage of the group to judge interest in changing the timing of the the STRA business meeting where rule changes are proposed, state of affairs is presented and officers voted in. The idea is to hold the meeting after the Saturday Mark Moon Ride event in Ringgold, Georgia on November 11th.  The thought is that this would allow more people to attend rather than holding it just before the annual January banquet .  The group was in favor of this proposal so mark your calendars and we will work out the location and post details.  The 2017 awards banquet will still be held early next year to coincide with a Chattanooga Trials Club event at the TTC.

The group also deliberated interest in hosting a NATC/AMA National Event at the TTC in May of next year.  Again, the group was in favor of this proposal.   Lastly, a preliminary 2018 schedule was finalized and is now posted on the website.    We tried to structure it so we did not have any back-to-back event weekends, but couldn’t overcome the hurdle between Trackrock and Fun in the Sun events being back-to-back as the availability of their venues dictates dates.  This year consideration was made for Trials Training Days at the TTC in March as well as Vintage Days at Barber Motorsports Park the first weekend in October.   Breezy Hill Farm will host another event early in the year because of the loss of the Spring Splash at the TTC due to the national event being held there.  If another promotor speaks up and offers a venue in North Carolina or Alabama (hint, hint), we would love to add it the schedule.

In closing, I would like to publicly thank Francois Saint Laurent for tenaciously working through computer language to institute another update to the website.  He was able to eliminate the pop up menus and newsletter solicitation.  Both advertised an obligation that was not being and could not be fulfilled.   He also added a link to the old STRA website in the History tab.  This link makes some great history available such as 2011 rider rankings where Alan Shirley won Sportsman and Maddie Hoover was second best in the Intermediate class.  Boy, have things changed!  The website update was done to further our commitment to the members of the STRA for better communication, consistency and comradery.

We can’t wait to see you at the next event at the Trials Training Center on October 28 and 29.  It is to be a big celebration weekend due to the 58K’s 25th anniversary.  As part of the celebration a free meal is being provided Saturday night, but you really need to sign up before noon Central on Wednesday the 25th if you would like to be there for the meal!  We have to be able to tell the cook how much food to get!  Help us out and register early.

Please see the flyer posted on Facebook and on the website for more information.

Keep riding and we will see you at the 25th Anniversary of the 58K!



STRA trials was  quiet in the month of July other than our four representatives competing in the FIM World Round in Kingsman, Arizona:  Maddie Hoover, Laura Peters, Alex Niederer and Andreas Niederer.  Please see for their impressive results.

The dog days of summer are on us for August and September as well.  We hope you have been able to ride a trials bike more than a mower these past few months to keep your skills tuned for our return to the Championship series in October.

As noted on the STRA Facebook page, the 2017 STRA competition schedule changed due to the unfortunate cancellation of the Alabama event in September.  Also, due to a schedule conflict with the AMA/NATC annual meeting, the 58K at the Trials Training Center has been pushed back a week until October 28th and 29th (Halloween weekend).  Riders are encouraged to refer to this website’s Schedule section to view the remainder of this year’s events.

Our goal for next year is to have the events scheduled soon and secured so it does not change.  We will secure dates around the TTC non-trials events and the final AMA/ NATC Mototrials national championship series (Eastern rounds 1 and 2, tentatively scheduled for May 26-27, 2018).  While the official role of the STRA in that event is not yet clear, volunteers for setup and operation will definitively be needed.  We also hope that we can get the Alabama crew more involved in hosting an event since we have a good many riders from that region.  We will also strive not to have such a long break in the schedule over the summer.

Until the schedule is completed and we resume our STRA Championship Series for rounds 9 and 10 in Cornelia, GA, Greg Hales, one of our current STRA officers has made concessions for STRA riders at his event in Sanford, NC September 10th.  The trial is an official Carolina Virginia Observed Trials Club event, but Greg worked out a reduced rate ($10) for STRA members to cover the required CVOTC membership that is mandated for insurance.  Please see the flyer on the STRA Facebook page for more details.   Our thanks to Greg for helping STRA riders get back into a competitive mode before our series resumes.

With that in mind, we are looking to see a strong showing of riders on October 7th and 8th.  Jamie Gourley has been putting in a lot of work at the Henry Hills site and I am sure it will be his best event to date.  Until then, keep riding trials!



June was not a month for STRA competition, but it was a month for STRA riders competing.  Not in our club series, but at the national level.

In June, the AMA/NATC Mototrial USA National Championship concluded with the eastern portion of the series taking place in Cleveland, Ohio and Exeter, Rhode Island.

The STRA had a showing of thirteen riders participating in at least one of the events.  For national ranking, Alex Niederer completed the series maintaining his 5th place ranking in the Pro division.  Alex displayed a lot of poise with the ranking being challenged to the very last event.   Andreas Niederer took a hard won second place in the Expert division.  Aaron Thistle finished seventh and Alan Shirley eighth in the Expert division.   Maddie Hoover handily won the number one ranking in the inaugural Women’s Pro Division.

The east coast series saw Ray Peters dominate the Senior Expert Sportsman class. Laura Peters took forth in the Women’s Sportsman class.  Keith Spudic placed eleventh competing in only the Ohio events in the Senior 40 Sportsman class.  Mark Sturtevant finished fourth in the Senior 50 Sportsman class and our part time STRA rider from North Carolina, Joe Palrang, finished fifth.  Steve Glinski, believe it or not, rode the first part of the Ohio series on a modern bike!   He did not complete the event, relating to me he was “not used to power, suspension and brakes” as his beloved vintage trials bike does not possess such.   We will all look forward to seeing Steve at our next STRA event on his new ride!  Finally, Larry Holbert was by far the top rider in the Twin Shock class, earning the champion number one plate for the east coast.

Clearly, the national event had a great showing of STRA riders.  For myself, I must say it was a great experience to take part in the Ohio event and it created a wonderful memory.  I would encourage all who have not participated in an AMA/NATC National event to considerate it for the upcoming year (especially since the STRA will be hosting one of the eastern series events).

The next level of competition for a select few of our STRA riders, namely Alex and Andreas Niederer, Maddie Hoover and Laura Peters, is a FIM World Trials Championship round in Kingman, Arizona on July 29 and 30.  We wish them the best in this endeavor.   I would like to recognize Alan Shirley who organized a fundraiser ride June 3rd at the “Chert Pit” in Ringgold, Georgia, raising $200 for each rider to support this endeavor.  Way to go, Alan!

While the STRA Championship Series is on its traditional summer break and Nationals are complete and a world level is only for a select few of our riders, there are still a number of organized trials events in the area.   Just look in the Schedule section of this website and browse through the links for regional clubs and venues in the South East that support the STRA.

To conclude this June president’s message, I would like to congratulate all the participants who competed in the AMA/NATC National Series.  You represented yourselves and the association well, helping to make the STRA “One of the Premier Trials Clubs in the USA.”

Keep riding and check out those other club venues until we meet again on September 16th in Prattville, Alabama for rounds 9 and 10 of the STRA Championship Series.



March gave us good traction to have a great trials month in April.  We only had one STRA event but a growing number of STRA riders took part in the AMA/NATC West Coast National events.

It was a rainy weekend at Hickory Hills, in Lenoir City, on April 22nd and 23rd for rounds 5 and 6 of the STRA Championship.  Raining in the morning and clearing in the afternoon, we had 51 riders participate Saturday on sections primarily created by Eric Mattson, Ross Walls and, of course, Papa Joe himself.  Sunday was pretty much a downpour all day.  In spite of the wet, the 33 riders that did ride had a great time!  Even in the downpour we had five new riders turn out to give trials a test for the first time.  On both days the sections were challenging (especially in the wet), safe and fun.  There was one section each day that became the nemeses section because of the slop.

Dawn Shirley worked with a new computer registration format at check-in, in hopes to make sign up quicker and more efficient for both riders and administrators.   The test will be if it passes Ashley Jacksons’ (who was unable to attend the Hickory Hills rounds) expectations at the next event.

Thank you for all that participated in the Ryan Young Clinic STRA fund raising raffle.  The winner, announced at the Hickory Hills event was Doug Raney.  Doug rode his first event at Hickory Hills, winning the Novice class on Saturday and the Intermediate class on Sunday.  Robbie Hawkins generously covered the costs for the STRA for the participation fee for the clinic that he held on his property on April 27th and 28th.

As previously mentioned, we had a good showing of riders that participate in STRA events compete at the National level in the month of April.  Maddie Hoover was the brightest star, winning four events out of four in the inaugural Women’s Pro Division.  Alex Niederer, Andres Niederer, Aaron Thistle, Ray Peters, Laura Peters, Tim Cone, Karl Davis Sr. and Scott Jordan also displayed their skills in their respective divisions.  Go to for more information regarding how each one of these riders scored and to get information about the East Coast Nationals that begin June 17 and 18 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Spring Splash at the Trials Training Center is just around the corner.  May 27th and 28th will be the last STRA Championship event until the summer break.   Go to the Schedule section of this page or the STRA Facebook page to view the flyer for the event.

A week after the Spring Splash, June 3rd, Alan Shirley his holding a fund raising “team trial” in Ringgold, GA.  Alan is creating this fundraising event to support our STRA riders (Maddie Hoover, Alex and Andres Niederer)  who will be participating in the World Round in Arizona in July.  This should be a really fun event fostering camaraderie and skill development for all.

The year is going by fast! Enjoy each event as you can and keep riding,