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The Black Hills, Cats with Money and Einstein!

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Dear Ma, I hope you’re doing well up there in Heaven. Things are groovy down here in Dallas. Well, actually, things are more “funky” than “groovy.” Ya know, life is funny and I don’t mean funny “ha ha,” I mean funny “strange!” My business has changed so much over the last 20 plus years. For instance, for many years our new and used bike sales carried my company as far as cash flow. But since the economy slowed down eight years ago, bikes sales have been soft.

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Throw on top of all that, Polaris pulling the plug on Victory and bike sales are down from where they have been in the past. But, surprisingly to me, custom bike builds have been really good over the past three years. That seems crazy to me, but I guess the cats that have the big dough still want a hand-built motorcycle! Hey, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than working with customers on building their dream bike! Hand-building custom motorcycles for happy customers, yes ma’am I’ll take that all day long! The cool part is that we are building lots of choppers! You know I love my choppers, Ma! Some may ask if choppers are making a comeback. I would argue that they never left!

Last week I went to visit some of our kinfolk in Northern California. I had a swell time hanging out with them California Fairlesses. It’s so beautiful up there. They live in a small town of 800 people called New Castle, which is in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We went up to Donner Pass and toured the museum up there. That’s where the Donner party got stranded while making their way to California. If you don’t know the rest of the story, ask

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Mr. Google, he’ll fill you in on the rest, but it’s very interesting to say the least! The weather up there is amazing and the riding is unbelievable. That’s the cool thing about living up there, the riding! It makes me jealous because I’m from the big city and we have to ride an hour just to get the heck out of town! I saw hundreds of motorcycles out riding and lots of bikes packed down with gear just passing through that area. Although I didn’t get to ride up there this year, I have many times in the past. This year I got to drive my cousin Deanna’s 1957 Chevy pick-up truck! I loved it! Nothing fancy, just cool brother!

August means all roads lead to the Black Hills for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally! This year is my 31st year in a row to go to the Rally. That’s pretty crazy, I know. My pal Arlen Ness has been like 40-something years in a row! I can’t exactly tell ya why so many of us are drawn to the Black Hills, but I can try! Every year when I return to the Black Hills it’s like going home and I don’t mean just because I have been there so many times.

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It’s a peaceful feeling of tranquility, almost a magical feeling of inner peace. I have ridden my motorcycle to many beautiful places all over this great country of ours, but none of them match the Black Hills. Sure there are other places just as pretty, but none can match the feeling I get from riding the Black Hills. For one week in August the Sturgis Rally is ground central for American motorcycles. Sure there are all kinds of bikes there, but the predominant brand of motorcycle is Harley-Davidson! Harleys are everywhere and the Black Hills are rumbling from the thunder coming out of those HD motors, it’s a swell deal!

Several years ago my ugly pal Joe T and I were riding around Spearfish Canyon and we stopped for a cold drink (Dr. Pepper for me, from Waco, Texas). Well that day I was riding my 1961 Triumph Trophy 650. So a couple of dufus goons (dufus is Texas for “stupid looking”) came over to look at my Triumph. They were asking me all kinds of questions and really liked my bike.

So one of the Einsteins asked, “What year is this Triumph”? I tell him it’s a 1961. So then Einstein asks me, “Did you buy it new?” So Joe T busts out laughing and I never blinked. I said, “No, I was only 5 years old in 1961 and I couldn’t afford a new bike, my allowance was only a dime a week and my mama wouldn’t let me blow it on a motorsickle!” Einstein looked at me like I was being a smartass and I guess I was a little. I asked Einstein if I looked that old to him and he said, “Well, with that beard and all that hair it’s kinda hard to tell! Joe T still makes fun of me over that one!

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Anyway Ma, I gotta go for now, it’s my workout time and I can’t miss it! I set myself up a little gym in a big office beside my office and I use it every day! I work out for an hour. I turn the A/C way down and the TV way up and workout like a wild man. That is, as much of a wild man as a 60-year-old chump can be!

Love ya, Ma!
Rick

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