On June 27, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota (AASP-MN) gave away a 2012 Custom Fat Bagger Razorback motorcycle and bike trailer in a special statewide raffle held to raise funds for the Minnesota Careers in Automotive Repair and Service (MNCARS) workforce initiative.
Dan Gilley, director of RLO Training, was the lucky winner of the bike, which was awarded during a lunchtime reception at the Veit Automotive Foundation Museum in Buffalo, MN. The event, which also provided an exciting tour of collectible cars and automotive memorabilia, was open to anyone who purchased a ticket. Valued at $30,000, the motorcycle and trailer were generously donated by honorary AASP-MN member Roger Bonn (recently retired from Peter’s Body Shop, St. Cloud) and his wife, Jill. The one-owner, original custom-built bike boasts a one-of-a-kind custom paint scheme and only 18,000 miles.
Dan, who is from Seattle, purchased tickets earlier this year while in Minnesota to conduct training at the AASP-MN Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference. Now, he and his wife, Paula, will soon have an exciting new addition back home. Not surprisingly, he is thrilled that the prize also comes with a trailer.
“I told my wife, 'If we win it, I can tow it home. It’s a long way from Seattle!’ I don’t think the first ride should be 2,000 miles; I think we should work up to that!” he said.
Launched in January and concluded in mid-June, the fundraiser sold over 2,300 tickets and raised more than $42,000 for MNCARS. Tickets were $20 each or six for $100.
“The number-one challenge facing the industry is the availability of a future workforce. MNCARS is all about trying to address that issue and attract young people into our college programs and ultimately into industry jobs,” said AASP-MN Executive Director Judell Anderson. “We had an army of volunteers selling these tickets for the motorcycle raffle. Many active AASP-MN committee members were out on the street selling them to industry vendors and customers. It was really a group effort.”
After deciding they were no longer going to ride, the Bonns chose to give one of their three bikes to AASP-MN to use as the Board saw fit to benefit the state's automotive community.
“The association has been so good to us,” Roger said. “I thought this would be a great way to give back and have some fun doing it.”
In addition to donating the motorcycle, Bonn brought attention to the fundraiser by spending months towing the bike around to numerous association and industry events, including the Race for Automotive Education event at the ProKART raceway, the AASP-MN Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference, the 2018 AASP-MN Golf Outing, World of Wheels and the “Accelerate the Future” Car & Motorcycle Show at Hennepin Technical College.
Founded in 2016, MNCARS was created to ensure a future workforce for Minnesota’s automotive service industry by raising awareness and recruiting people into technical college automotive service and collision repair programs and industry careers. MNCARS helps parents, influencers and students overcome misperceptions of the industry and attract the qualified employees the profession needs. Thanks to industry fundraisers and a significant investment from AASP-MN, more than $250,000 has been raised to support the initiative in the last two years.
More information on MNCARS is available at carcareers.org.