Jan 25, 2015

Old Iron Grant Recipient Named

Andee NestavalSince 2012, the AMCA and its sister organization, the Antique Motorcycle Foundation (AMF), have worked together on the Old Iron Grant Program, designed to promote the ownership, preservation and restoration of antique motorcycles. This program has offered a grant of up to $5,000 to be awarded by the AMF to a worthy recipient involved in educational projects related to old bikes.

After a joint effort by the AMCA and the AMF, both Boards are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2015 Old Iron Grant is Andee Nestaval of Bloomington, Minnesota. She will receive a grant of $1,250 per semester (for a total of $5,000) toward her enrollment in the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Phoenix, AZ.

“Ms. Nestaval's application caught the eye of the Grants Committee for several reasons,” said Keith Kizer, AMCA Executive Director. “First, at the time of her application, she had just graduated from Kennedy High School in Bloomington, Minnesota. As part of her curriculum there, she was registered in a program known as ‘Chopper Class’—a hands-on course in motorcycle building.

Andee on Antique Harley“In a world where schools have moved away from shop classes that teach a student a trade,” Kizer added, “this program shows there are educators who embrace the need for skilled tradespeople.”

What had started out as an after-school club at the high school organized by teacher (and AMCA member) Kevin Baas turned into a credit course. And when Andee graduated in June 2014, the Chopper Class helped her set her sights not on college, but on a career in motorcycling.

While that high-school program was an important influence, Andee's passion for motorcycling can be traced back to her parents and her grandparents, who are longtime motorcyclists. But her greatest inspiration has been her late aunt, Alyn Shannon, the author of “Women of the Road,” a book about her trips to Sturgis on her Harley Softail.

Like many young people, Andee’s interest in  motorcycles began when she spent hours in the garage helping her dad, Bob Nestaval, work on mechanical projects. She started out handing him tools and putting them back as he finished.

“I remember getting upset that my hands were never dirty enough compared to his,” she said.
Once in the Chopper Class, Andee and her fellow students spent two weeks in a classroom studying the history of motorcycles before passing a safety test that allowed them to work in the shop. Andee says she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do until the class got into welding.

Andee Welding in Chopper Shop“My dad had taught me how to weld,” she says, “and I did so much of it that he bought me my own welding helmet.”  
Baas soon had Andee doing advanced TIG welding, and she found her new passion. After he had her weld up some exhaust pipes, she knew building motorcycles was what she wanted to for a living.

In addition to welding, Andee learned to work on the school’s mill, lathe, CNC plasma cutter and freehand plasma cutter. Baas also taught the class entry-level motorcycle mechanics, and during her junior year, Jeremy Gilbert of S&S Cycle came to the school with the basics for a custom build that would become a class project. Andee earned the right to become the bike’s lead designer.

JFK High School Chopper ShopMeanwhile, Andee’s dad, Bob, who had been working on a job in Arizona, found a perfect starter bike for her, a Honda Shadow 600. So he flew her out to Arizona and the two started on a cross-country ride back to Minnesota.
Bob’s planned route stuck to back roads to avoid the interstate, and the two stayed in communication through helmet intercoms.

A little more than halfway through the journey, they became separated at a train crossing in Kearney, Nebraska. Andee was paying so much attention to her mirrors as she watched for her dad that she ended up running into the back of a car at a stop sign, breaking her leg.

Andee at crash site in Kearney, NEAfter hauling the bike back home, she vowed to fix it and return the following year to finish the trip. When the repair work (along with a little customizing) was done, Andee skipped her senior prom so that she could finish that ride.
“I opted for something better,” she said, “the road, my bike and my daddy.”

Shortly after returning home from the trip, Andee purchased her first antique bike, a 1968 Harley-Davidson XLR, which she hopes to one day enter in vintage flat-track races.

Andee is currently in her second semester at MMI, where she is enrolled in two elective classes on early- and late-model Harleys. And she already has two job offers at local motorcycle dealerships upon her return home.
She says she loves the direction of her life in motorcycling.  

“I want to thank my parents, my grandparents and Kevin Baas for their support,” she said. “But I especially want to thank the Antique Motorcycle Foundation and the Antique Motorcycle Club of America for putting their trust in me.”

“Andee is a fine example of a young person who will be able to carry on the tradition of maintaining and preserving old motorcycles for future generations,” said Richard Spagnolli, AMCA President, “and we look forward to her continuing involvement with the AMCA and the AMF.”

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