Tag Archives: Vesparados

The Vespa Club

Above photo, from left: Bill Bucy, George Perlebach, Gil Cohen, Kathy Anthes, and Spencer Jacobs.

Bill Bucy

I am 71 years old–or as Jack Benny might say, “39 for 32 years.” Most of those years I have been a dentist serving the outstanding farming community of Auburn, Nebraska–a place brimming with good folks.

“Who am I?” is a question we should be asking ourselves often. I am a son, brother, husband, friend, father, dentist, and, overall I hope, a responsible and compassionate human being who, in my own bumbling way, attempts each day to make the world a tiny bit better.

Presently I am simply and wonderfully a grandfather to five beautiful spirits, ranging in ages from 3 to 8 years–all of whom, by the way, are exceptionally gifted.

The accomplishment that has brought happiness into my life, beyond that which I deserve, was convincing my wife to marry me.

No question–love is what brings me the greatest happiness. You gotta have love. And then there is pizza and red wine, followed by more love.

My advice for living life is this:
When it rains do not seek cover,
Get smack in the middle of it.
Put your face to the sky,
And savor each drop.
Let it soak you to the bone.

George Perlebach

I’m old enough to remember when the Huskers were awful and how long it took Bob Devaney to win us a National Championship in 1970. (Not to mention how painful it was!)

Fortunately, I also remember the time when a Nebraska loss was a rare occasion, and how the entire state would be in mourning for weeks when one did occur.

Hopefully, I’m young enough to see us return to the glory days.

After graduating from UNMC, I practiced medicine in Omaha for 20 years until I “retired” at age 45 to pursue an alternative career in senior care consulting, which afforded me more time for travel and toy management.

The accomplishment I’m most proud of is helping raise two happy successful adults, who think I’m pretty cool in spite of my not always being a perfect role model.

My words of advice for a happy life?

“Relax…always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate–then obviously, be a pirate.

Gil Cohen

I am 59 and 418 days, as of writing this.

Born in Pennsylvania and raised in New Jersey, I spent 13 great years with Marriott Corp. after graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Having had the opportunity to live in many cities, I left Marriott in 1992 to move back to Omaha. Currently, I am executive vice president of sales and marketing for Omaha Magazine. I have been fortunate to have had a few careers, not all related to one another–from hotel manager to riverboat director to marketing director for the Omaha Symphony and a Christmas light company. Each of these positions afforded me the opportunity to work with some terrific people and learn about sales, marketing, and management.

One professional accomplishment I am particularly proud of is having opened the 100th Courtyard by Marriott hotel. At the time, I was 25 years old, the youngest general manager in the Marriott chain of hotels at the time.

Some accomplishments in the nonprofit sector include serving on various boards, such as Cystic Fibrosis, B’nai B’rith, Greater Omaha Chamber, Omaha Symphony Governing Board, and a few others over the years. Being able to give back to our community is a fulfilling opportunity and I have enjoyed all the organizations I have worked with.

I have been fortunate to be very successful at work as well. Omaha Magazine has afforded me the opportunity to succeed in sales and, with the help of my awesome assistant, Alicia Hollins, attain some of the highest sales numbers in the history of the company.

There is no one thing that can bring you happiness. It has to be a combination of what you are doing in life, the people you share your life experiences with, the folks you work with, and involvement in your community. Of course a nice ruby port and a fine cigar help, too.

My advice for living life? Drink plenty of water and at least two glasses of wine a day, stay away from carbs and surround yourself with friends who are active.

I certainly don’t feel like I am 60, but I said that about 50 as well.

Kathy Anthes

My name is Kathy Anthes.  At age 70, I’m a retired educational therapist with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in educational psychology.  I taught behavior-disordered children for 36 years at the Immanual Mental Health Center.  I also taught at Phoenix Academy for four years and tutored dyslexic students in my home. I have served on the board of the Nebraska Dyslexia Association for eight years.

Some may be surprised to learn I have a black belt in Taekwondo and was a competitive bodybuilder with 25 trophies. I competed for 13 years and won several first place trophies, specifically in the Ms. Omaha and Ms. Nebraska bodybuilders competitions. 

My happiness comes with weightlifting and cardiovascular workouts at the gym, spending time with my boyfriend, a good movie, traveling, concerts, family vacations and Holidays. Also, being involved in my church, spirituality, and volunteer work are rewarding.

I am a member of the Omaha Sports Club, where I enjoy playing darts and billiards.

As far as advice goes, “Age is only a frame of mind.” A balanced diet, keeping in shape, and stretching are also key to aging gracefully.

Spencer Jacobs

My name is Spencer Jacobs, and I am a man of few words.

If I had to describe myself, I would say I’m a retired teenager–one who doesn’t have to go to school.

I’m proud to say I’ve lived a successful life, and I have plenty of stories to tell.

I find happiness in simply being around the people I love, being a part of the Vesparados…and participating in fantasy football.

My advice for living life and aging gracefully is to be good to those who are good to you. Also, don’t be afraid to express yourself. If you’re pissed off, show it. Sometimes it feels great to hold a grudge.

This article was printed in the 60Plus section of the January/February 2020 issue of Omaha Magazine.

Vespa riders club members

Vesparado club members in order, from left to right: Bill Bucy, George Perlebach, Gil Cohen, Kathy Anthes, and Spencer Jacobs.

The Vesparados

August 26, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

They call themselves the Vesparados and they are, indeed, a wild bunch—wild about their Vespa scooters.

About 20 owners of the iconic Italian scooter belong to a loosely knit social group that meets at least once a week, sometimes more in good weather, to tool around Omaha and enjoy the freedom of the outdoors. Rides usually end with libations, dinner, or both.

If the name Vespa doesn’t ring a bell, think Gregory Peck vrooming through the crowded streets of the Eternal City with a laughing Audrey Hepburn on the back of his scooter in 1952’s Roman Holiday. Thanks to the Oscar®-winning film, Americans fell in love with the Vespa.

First manufactured by Piaggio & Co. in 1946 for easy and economical transportation in decimated post-War Italy, the Vespa remains better suited for boulevards and byways, not highways.


“Most Vespas can reach 80 miles per hour,” says Gil Cohen, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Omaha Magazine. “But I wouldn’t suggest keeping it up there for very long. We don’t travel on interstates.”

The Vesparados come from a wide range of professions. But when the helmets go on, each rider assumes their Vespa persona.

“Everybody has a handle,” explains Cohen. “I’m ‘Jersey.’”

On a recent summer evening, the South Jersey native sat astride his red Vespa GTS 250 waiting for others to gather at a Fiat dealership at West Dodge and 180th streets for a cool, twilight ride along the nearby Lincoln Highway. Cohen’s GTS series scooter features Vespa’s trademark pressed-steel unibody, flat floorboard, and prominent front, but with today’s technology. True to the original premise of economy and affordability, the Vespa averages about 65-70 miles-per-gallon and costs around $7,000 tops, with smaller scooters in the $3,000-4,000 range.


Ten riders eventually joined Cohen, including new Vesparado Todd Lemke, breezing in on a GTS 300 scooter.

“I had to have a bigger bike than Gil’s,” laughs the publisher of Omaha Magazine, who hasn’t gotten a handle on his handle yet. Lemke has always loved “anything with two wheels and a motor,” and finds the Vespa a natural extension of his motorcycle and dirt bike hobbies.

The parking lot, now filled with Vespas in hues of blue, red, green, and brown, crackled with laughter, indicating long-standing friendships among the participants. Husband-and-wife dentists Bill and JoAnn Kathrein, a.k.a. “Tito” and “Cupcake,” shared good-natured ribbing with longtime friend Dr. Bill Bucy, a dentist who lives in Auburn, Neb., and stores his Vespa in Omaha.

Joining in on the conversations were Spencer “Dragon” Jacobs of Badger Body and Truck and his girlfriend, Kathy Anthes; Dr. George “Doc” Perlebach; Wells Fargo Financial advisor Denis “Ballanca” Roberts; Omaha attorney Dan Smith, clearly enjoying his first Vesparado outing; architect Steve “Itchy” Ginn (no question asked, no explanation offered), whose new GTV series “retro” scooter has the headlight attached to the front fender; and David “Blazer” Parsow, looking very dapper in a crisp, white shirt and black sport jacket. “It comes from being in the clothing business,” deadpans the president of Parsow’s Fashions.


The riders motored single file down the Lincoln Highway toward Elkhorn and stopped at a plaque commemorating the centennial of the transcontinental roadway. Placed neatly side-by-side, the scooters looked like a multi-colored, metallic chorus line; their owners looked like they were having a blast.

Vespa may mean “wasp” in Italian, but to the Vesparados it means “let’s buzz around.”