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Article And Photos By: Xavier Muriel
Originally Published In The November 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Hola, Amigos! Once again, I hope that all is well with each and every one of you. My Father used to say that “There’s no better pay off than a job well done. After working harder than I ever have to meet the deadline for Grace to be picked up and brought to Sturgis for Lichter’s ‘’Passion Build” exhibit, I stood back and as the sun was rising over the Texas hill country and Grace was being hoisted onto the transport truck I thought for a split second “Well Dad, we did it.” You see, even though I lost my Father in 2012 to cancer, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. This was true especially during those times in Grace’s build where I was at the end of my rope due to having one problem after the other. But pushing through all the crap and meeting your commitment is all that matters in the end. I owe that mentality and perseverance to him. So, for all that and planting the motorcycle bug in me, I say Thank You, I Love You and let’s see what we do next! If you didn’t make it to Sturgis this year and see the “Passion Built” exhibit, man you missed out. It was a display of some outstanding creations by builders from all across the country. Every style of bike was represented, bobbers, traditional choppers, long bikes, imports on down to the smallest of cycles (which I thought was one of the coolest). There was a ton of comradery at the Flying Pistons Builders Breakfast and it held all the way through to exhibit tear down. I’m not sure if this happens in any other industry but I’m so grateful to be a part of one where it does. It makes the whole process so much more enjoyable and reinforces why I love it so much.
I was lucky enough to meet and hang with some of the OG’s, the Chopfathers of the bike world. Let me tell you when Arlin Fatland gives you the thumbs up on your build and asks you questions you feel like a lil’ kid talking to your idol. Now, I’ve met a lot of rock stars in my time, but there’s nothing like being around these guys and hearing the real stories from back in the day. It’s like watching a documentary play out right in front of you. I was blessed enough to have a surprise 50th birthday thrown for myself and Brother Jack Schit at the Iron Horse Saloon. The highlight of the evening was having author, and living legend, Gloria Struck in attendance. If you don’t know Gloria, GOOGLE that shit immediately. She has logged more miles on a Harley than most people I know combined. Gloria is one of the sweetest beings I’ve ever met and as we were talking she said to me “if they hadn’t made me stop riding at 90, I would still be doing it!” Talk about an inspiration! As if not having her there was enough I turn around, and its SugarBear, the king of Springer front, ends standing in front of me extending his hand to wish me a Happy Birthday. Talk about Chopper Royalty in the house, it doesn’t get much better than that. What a night!
After that, I didn’t think I could top that evening, but man, I was privileged enough to take the Callen’s “War Pony” down the Sturgis drag strip after a subtle nudging from Bert Baker himself. Now, I’m not one for speed anymore. I left those days behind in my younger years. But when the king of transmission’s calls you out, you either shit or get off the pot. So, with Chris’s blessing and a nudge as well, I straddled that monster’s Zipper’s motor, grabbed my balls and let her rip! HOLY SHIT, 114mph down the straightaway I went…. what a rush! Now I get it, it’s better than any rush I’ve ever experienced, and I’ll gladly do it again given the chance. So, to the Callens, a very heartfelt Thank You for adding to what was already a great time in Sturgis. Once again Billy Lane brought his Sons of Speed Vintage Board Track Racing to the Pappy Hoel Campground at the Full Throttle Saloon. Based on the cheers, ohhhhs, and ahhhhhs of the fans in the stands it seems to be really taking off and it is an event that people are coming to know and look forward to. The track was a little less than impressive but true to the passion of each racer the show must go on. And on it went. Moonshiner Josh took home the checkered fl ag, which is most impressive since it was Josh who took an awful spill in March during the Sons of Speed races in Daytona. I can tell you this, this man is a machine and has no fear when it comes to a hundred-year-old motor and no brakes. If you’ve ever heard the saying “Ride it like ya stole it’’ that’s exactly how he rides. He gives the crowd their money’s worth that’s for sure! Glad you’re back in the saddle Bro. Well, my Brothers and Sisters take care of yourselves and one another. After all, we’re all we’ve got. Till next time. God Bless