Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame Announces 2013 Induction ClassWed, 27 Feb 2013
The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame announced it will induct five new members for 2013. The Hall also announced it will add one new member to its Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame.
For 2013, the Hall will welcome to its ranks motorcycle attorney Russ Brown, custom chopper builder Rick Fairless (pictured above), Harley-Davidson dealer Bill Gikling, actor Marjoe Gortner of the television special “Sturgis: The Great Ride”, and antique motorcycle expert Lonnie Isam, Sr. Motorcycle rights advocate “Still” Ray Fitzgerald will be inducted to the Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame.
The six inductees will be honored at the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast, Aug. 7 at the Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, S.D. Tickets are available for $35 a piece or $300 for a table of eight at http://www.sturgismuseum.com/cart/.
Check after the jump for what the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame says about its new inductees.
“Still” Ray Fitzgerald – Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame – “Still” Ray Fitzgerald first became involved in motorcyclist rights when he lived in Nevada. He was a charter member of the Nevada Association of Concerned Motorcyclists and worked through that organization to support candidates sympathetic to motorcycle causes. Later, when he moved to Arizona, Fitzgerald helped to successfully build a number of ABATE chapters in that state. He’s served as an officer of ABATE of Arizona, and was the Motorcycle Rights Foundation’s first Sustaining Motorcycle Club Representative. He has been awarded the MRF Presidents Silver Cup and the organization’s most prestigious award, the John “Farmer” Eggers award for efforts supporting the mission of the MRF. Ray serves as president of The Journeymen’s Motorcycle Club, and chairman of the Arizona Confederation of Clubs.
Russ Brown – Russ Brown has been involved in the motorcycle community for more than 35 years, championing motorcycle rights and serving as an attorney for motorcyclists. He created BAM, a free breakdown and legal assistance service for motorcyclists. BAM currently has close to two million members. The program is a volunteer effort in which members are available to assist each other in the event of a breakdown or other emergency roadside need. BAM is available to members and non-members 24-hours-a-day. Brown has spearheaded other efforts in the motorcycle world, too. His most recent effort is a new “Keep Me Alive, Don’t Text and Drive” campaign to encourage safe driving habits in an effort to keep motorcycle riders safe.
Rick Fairless – Rick spent 20 years in the paint industry working for the Glidden Paint Co. At 19 years old Rick started out in the downtown Dallas warehouse pulling paint orders. Through the years Rick worked his way up the ladder to store manager & then to the #1 sales rep in the country. But his real love was always riding & building custom motorcycles. So, he left a lucrative career and took a chance on opening his own motorcycle shop – an Easyriders franchise in Dallas. It was 1996, and Rick wanted his shop to be more than just a motorcycle shop – he wanted a destination for all motorcycle enthusiasts, regardless of what kind of motorcycle they rode or even if they rode a motorcycle at all, so he added Strokers Ice House Bar & Grill. In 2002, Easyriders ended its franchise program so Rick changed the name of his shop to Strokers Dallas. Since then, he’s added Strokers Ink, a tattoo and piercing parlor & RF Custom Parts. On weekends, Rick’s Strokers Dallas “Empire” will welcome between 1,000 and 2,000 people. Besides being a successful business owner, Rick is a master bike builder, columnist for two national magazines, hosts his own radio show, is a motivational speaker and a family man. Rick’s custom motorcycles have been featured in many magazines around the world & numerous television shows.
Bill Gikling (J.C. “Pappy” Hoel Outstanding Achievement Award) – Bill Gikling grew up in Rapid City and spent as much time as he could around motorcycles. He worked at the local Honda dealership, and rode in all the local races, hill climbs and other events. In 1977, he scraped together enough money to purchase North West Sports – a Yamaha and Harley-Davidson dealership. For the next 20 years, he grew the dealership before splitting the Harley-Davidson and Yamaha Divisions into two separate dealerships. Over the years, Bill worked with Pappy Hoel to start the White Plate Flat Trackers and the original museum & Hall of Fame in Sturgis. He also worked with the Harley-Davidson Motor Company to get them more involved in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Bill sold the Harley-Davidson stores in Rapid City and Sturgis in 2000, but still works with his son Todd at Black Hills Power Sports in Rapid City. He still loves to ride and participates in rides from Japan to Australia.
Marjoe Gortner – Marjoe Gortner probably did more than any other person in more than a decade to change the perception of motorcycling and to enhance the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally when he organized the 2000 television show called “Sturgis: The Great Ride.” The show recorded a ride that began at Peter Fonda’s ranch in Montana and ended at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. It not only followed the ride, but also featured numerous other rally experiences including a one-of-a-kind daredevil jump by Robbie Knievel through the Chip’s stage. The show was the very first motorcycle related show to be broadcast on a non-sports oriented channel when it debuted on the Travel Channel. It was broadcast repeatedly for three years and was the most watched show on the Travel Channel for more than two years. It was also only the beginning of television shows that brought the motorcycling experience to a wider audience than ever before. Marjoe has been involved in film-making, acting, television documentaries and charitable fundraising for many years.
Lonnie Isam, Sr. – Lonnie Isam, Sr. is a well-known expert in the history of antique American motorcycles and has bought, sold, collected and restored hundreds of them. His passion for performance Harley drag racing spans over 3 decades. He used his knowledge gained by racing to help bring the sport to what it is today. He started a motorcycle shop in Houston called Competition Motorcycles which became well known in the world of vintage motorcycles and performance drag racing. Lonnie traveled to the Black Hills and fell in love with the area, so he decided to move to Sturgis. He brought one of his manufacturing companies – Competition Distributing Inc. – specializing in design and manufacture of correct reproduction parts for pre-1936 Harley-Davidson and other early American motorcycles. This combination has resulted in thousands of customers all over the world. Lonnie has been committed to the growth of the community of Sturgis through his work with the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation, the Future Sturgis project and a downtown redevelopment committee.
[Source: Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame]
By Dennis Chung
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