The American Motorcyclist Association announced today its AMA Motorcyclist of the Year: AMA Life Member Larry Little. Little, vice president and general manager of Marketplace Events, created a U.S. motorcycle show that debuted in 2013 and brought buyers and sellers together in a bold new way.
The AMA Motorcyclist of the Year recognizes the person or persons who had the most profound impact within the motorcycling community in the previous 12 months. It is awarded annually by the AMA Board of Directors.
"While most in motorcycling viewed the cataclysmic changes brought about by the economic crisis as disastrous, Larry Little saw an opportunity to improve the situation while fulfilling a long-held passion to launch a motorcycle show for manufacturers, distributors, dealers, consumers and media in America," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman.
"When we step back and look at the excitement, exposure and interest that the American International Motorcycle Expo brought to the motorcycling industry in the past 12 months, it is fitting that we recognize Larry for his innovation and drive," Dingman added.
Little, the former publisher of Cycle World magazine, sought to bring the European motorcycle show format to America starting in the early 1990s. However, that format, which combines new motorcycle model year introductions with aftermarket product reveals, media involvement and consumer access, wasn't acceptable at that time to major U.S. motorcycle distributors, which preferred to introduce new bikes at exclusive dealer meetings.
In the wake of the recent economic slowdown that tightened manufacturers' marketing and business development budgets, Little revitalized his plan as a cost-effective solution. Companies agreed, and the inaugural AIMExpo was held Oct. 16-20, 2013, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
"While history will judge the ultimate success of the AIMExpo, there is no question that the show represents a dramatic departure from what has been done in the past," Dingman said. "The short-term impact has been significant, however, and if this show format takes hold as anticipated, it will offer tremendous benefit to everyone who loves motorcycling."
The full story of Little's development and implementation of the AIMExpo can be found in the January issue of American Motorcyclist, the official journal of the AMA.