Las Vegas Motorcycle Hall of Fame Inductee – Genevieve Schmitt!
Can you even imagine the surprise and honor in receiving word that you are being inducted in the Las Vegas Motorcycle Hall of Fame? To top that off, how about adding to the fact that the other inductees are Arlen Ness, Dave Nichols, and Peter Fonda? Well, Genevieve Schmitt had that honor and was able to take some time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about that day – and her amazing history in the world of motorcycling!
Susan: You’ve been a very strong advocate for women in the sport of motorcycling for many, many years. When did you get involved in motorcycling and why?
Genevieve: I started riding in 1990. I was a producer, working for “Good Morning America” at the time. I was asked to do a story on women’s involvement in motorcycling. I did the photo shoot, saw all these women that rode in, and noticed that they all had a special energy and independence that I was seeking! I was 26 at the time, living in California, so I ended up taking the MSF class and became a rider after that!
Susan: You left the tv aspect to do your own thing? How did that all morph into what you’re doing today?
Genevieve: I was working as a producer for the first 10-15 years of my professional career. Living in Los Angeles, enjoying all the benefits of working in the media in Hollywood, but I’d only been riding for a short time. I started writing articles for magazines. Thunder Press was the magazine that I was writing for at the time. I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I was getting pretty disenchanted by the way the state of television media and entertainment news was stepping over the lines with invasion of privacy. It was pretty big then with celebrities and other important folks. There were no boundaries. So, I made the decision in 1997 to leave television broadcasting and work as a reporter in the motorcycling industry on a motorcycle show that aired on Speedvision cable network. Speedvision was bought out and later became Speed Channel, and then Fox Sports Net. That was my start in 1997. I was very careful about this career path; If I made my passion my job, there was that potential that there would be a burn out. Eventually, that did happen but not for many, many years later. I did enjoy the career that let me merge my love of media and love of motorcycling together.
I had an opportunity to turn around a fledgling women’s motorcycle magazine called Asphalt Angels. I did see an opportunity as a business person where more women were coming into motorcycling. There were no media outlets speaking to them. Women come to motorcycling with a different set of mental exercises. So, I felt that the normal ‘main street publications’ were lacking a female voice. I took that opportunity to turn that magazine around and launched and renamed it: Woman Riders Magazine. This ran for four years under a publishing company. Unfortunately, they discontinued the publication, being very short-sighted by not seeing the momentum in the women’s motorcycling movement.
I saw the momentum in 2004 and decided to take all the content that I owned and launched the first version of “WomenRidersNow.com. This happened when the Internet was very young!
Susan: I know that you have done so much for the women motorcyclists out there. Today, are you still involved in WRN?
Genevieve: Yes, I still am. But, recently some creative folks have bought into the magazine. I am now able to do more riding and writing and step back to the day to day operations. There’s a real blessing that comes from creating something that has life beyond me and doing it myself. There are now other people that see this vision and are taking it to another level. It’s been wonderful to have more people working with me!
Susan: Let’s talk about the induction! This isn’t the first time you’ve been inducted into a motorcycle hall of fame, is it?
Genevieve: No, it wasn’t. No, it wasn’t. I was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame in 2001. This was early in my motorcycling journalism career so I was not only being honored for bringing women riders to the forefront in motorcycle magazines, but I was also being recognized for the work I’d done spotlighting motorcyclists in mainstream television. All during my TV news magazine producing career—first with Good Morning America, then E! Entertainment Television, EXTRA, and local news stations—I’d always find a way to get a motorcycle story on the air.
Susan: When you were asked to be a part of the 2001 Sturgis Class, what were your emotions when you received that invitation?
Genevieve: I was very humbled by it. I am a woman of Faith and I always believe that God always directs my life. Nothing is ever by chance. In my earthly eyes I would say to myself, ‘why am I getting this?’ I haven’t done that much. But it was the Lord’s way of saying, ‘you’re being recognized because there is so much more for you to do.’ So, I took it as a challenge, but Spiritually, there were women and a community of people that are craving or searching types of information to get into motorcycling. This honor was a stamp to say ‘Ok, here is your assignment, go ahead and do it.’ I took it with humility. I’m one of those people that knows that it is God’s work through me that I’ve been able to bring people to that kindness and love through the WRN website. We have certain standards that we set; what we write, and making sure there is a community in our work showing love and high standards.
Susan: Then you got the call for Las Vegas!
Genevieve: It’s a newer Hall of Fame. There is a huge biker rally in Las Vegas. There isn’t a building, per se. This will all be on the Internet. We were able to share the enthusiasm with the crowds when we were being inducted. I couldn’t ask to be in a better group of inductees: Arlen Ness, Peter Fonda, and David Nichols from Easy Rider Magazine. I’ll be the first woman inducted in this Hall of Fame! It’s humbling. I’ll use the opportunity to put the light on to the Lord. I know that I may stumble through life, but God has a greater plan; for me to bring the spotlight on women and motorcycling the way that I have for over 27 years.
Susan: Thank you, Genevieve, for spending time with Born To Ride in sharing the story of your induction to the Las Vegas Motorcycle Hall of Fame! All of us are so proud of you and this amazing accomplishment!