Powersports Helped His Physically Challenged Father Enjoy Family Outdoor Time

By Scott Schloegel
Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Motorcycle Industry Council, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association

I  grew up as one of four boys in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I spent nearly every day outside doing something with my brothers and their friends. At the end of my driveway was the familiar 1970s worn-down single-track that ran up and down highway M-35, cutting into every lawn and driveway along the way. My home was on the shores of Green Bay, where we fished in the summer and rode powersports vehicles on the frozen bay in the winter. My family owned restaurants, which occupied most of my parents’ time, but to decompress from the busy work week we also had a 280-acre “camp” where we hunted, farmed, and rode go-carts, motorcycles, ATCs, ATVs, and snowmobiles.  

Family ATV: Scott (far right) with his family at camp. Scott’s father had contracted polio and lost the use of nearly all the muscles in his legs, but he was still able to enjoy time outdoors with his family through powersports vehicles.

When I was 3 years old, my father contracted polio, resulting in near full loss of the muscles in his legs, relegating him to using a walker, crutches, and power scooter for the remainder of his life. My dad couldn’t go out and play soccer, football, or basketball with us boys, but he could pull his leg over the seat of a snowmobile, ATC, or quad, which became our outdoor time together. We spent a ton of time hunting, fishing, and cutting wood that was used for heating our home and building a large addition to the house. After starting out on a Sears, Roebuck and Co. go-cart with a Briggs & Stratton engine, my dad bought me a Kawasaki 75, in 1975, so I could ride with my older brother who had a Honda Trail 70.  Many kids in our neighborhood had a mini-bike for the spring, summer, and fall, and a snowmobile for the winters.  It was part of our culture.  The unique two-cycle exhaust aroma and the thwap of the exhaust still invoke a Pavlovian response in me to this day. 

Scott’s daughter enjoys cruising scenic roads with her dad.

In the early 1980s, I secured my motorcycle endorsement by completing a local Motorcycle Safety Foundation course which enabled me to ride my motorcycle to and from high school. My love of riding was cemented and has never waned since.  

Following three years working for the Michigan House of Representatives, 18 years working for Congress, and another seven years working as a Presidential appointee in two administrations, I now serve as the SVP of Government Relations for MSF, MIC, SVIA, and ROHVA. I lead the Government Relations Office team that works with all 50 states and the U.S. Government to promote safe riding/driving and sensible policies that benefit our powersports industry.  In October I celebrated five years with the associations.  The MSF Government Relations team and I were integral in securing a U.S. Senate resolution honoring MSF’s 50th anniversary this year, and a Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month recognition from President Biden last year. 

Left: Scott leads riders across Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge. Right: Scott rode along with Senator Gary Peters in his motorcycle tour of Michigan this year. Peters, the Senate Motorcycle Caucus co-chair, authored the MSF 50th Celebration Resolution.

This truly is a dream job representing the industry that is such a huge part of my family memories and that affords people of all economic and physical abilities the opportunity to get outdoors to enjoy our beautiful country. Like the times riding quads and snowmobiles around camp and across frozen Green Bay with my dad, some of my most treasured time today is going on rides with my daughter, who loves cruising scenic and windy roads on the back of my bike while she decompresses from her graduate school studies, and while I decompress from dealing with elected officials. I’m honored to be a small part of MSF’s history and look forward to another 50 years of high-quality rider education for generations to come.