“As I sit awake it is 3 A.M. eastern standard time and I have to clear my thoughts. With the current economic situation, this great country we love, live and work in has left us all in an undeniable feeling of loss and confusion of what it is we all believe in and live by. As a motorcycle enthusiast first and foremost, the thought of better days for the entire industry has not only left me, but everyone in the entire motorcycle industry, wondering how this ca be made better. And as all of us have come to realize things are what they seem and there before us are the cards that life has handed us. In time, as all things do, this will change, it may not be this year, it may not even be next year, but there is one thing I know for sure – none of this has truly changed the way I personally feel about the business I work in and live to love….Motorcycling.
If you are reading these words you too undeniably feel the same as I and feel there is a need for some sort of way to make a change. As a builder, manufacturer or simply a rider, this is the love and burden you carry and carry proudly. You may be new to the industry or have thirty some years plus under your belt but none the less you are as hooked as I am. This is a love I am not afraid to admit, a love of something that is so simple yet lets us all forget the every day reminders of our daily grind. How is it that something so simple can bring so many together for the same reasons and general feeling of freedom on so many levels. The grandfather of rallies is slowly creeping upon us and the excitement of this has been overshadowed by the talk of astronomical gas prices and low attendance anticipation. What I feel has been overlooked is the fact that this in no way has changed the way feel about what it is we all have grown to love and live by. Yes it may make things light and yes it may mean it will keep the crowds smaller, but what we all need to remember is that the few that do make this pilgrimage are those that share the same feelings as you and I. We should embrace the brotherhood and sisterhood of this community and fight even harder to assure it does not die.
I have talked before on this issue and will continue to remind all of you that there are far worse evils in life to worry about. I would like to share something with you all that has been nothing short of inspirational to me personally, and in light of all the overwhelming circumstances makes me remember that there is true love and dedication in our world.
In the past few years I have become friends with the entire crew that rides and operates the American Motor Drome Wall of Death. For those of you who have visited and experienced this history filled carnival-like act at any of the rallies, you know and understand the true dedication. This year has issued the family of this long time institution nothing short of seemingly impossible odds to deal with. With the passing of one of the true and original daredevils, Sam, we lost not only one of great wall riders in history but the member of a family dedicated to the truest form of preserving what is and always will be the love of motorcycling. I was fortunate to see her last ride in Daytona this year as a guest inside the wall and I have to tell you it was something I will never forget. Sam had overcome her natural human instinct and fear of the same beast that had broken her back a year earlier. She looked past what it was that had put her in a year of recovery, had thrown her off and left her broken. She continued pursuing what it was in life she truly loved and lived for. As I stood and watched her slowly creep up the rickety boards I noticed a small yet growing smirk of content and happiness of someone truly living and loving her life. As I watched, I thought to myself this is what it is all about, and I hope I too can take from that experience and remember the true passion and love she had that day for a motorcycle.
As you all know we will never see that look on her face again in real life yet only in what we have to remember her by.
Soon to follow Sam was the passing of Criminal, the ticket taker, and as if that weren’t enough, owner and rider Jay Lightnin’ would have to undergo chemotherapy for his battle with cancer that is far from over. This is saddening news and it makes me wonder how something so timeless with such love from individuals that put their lives and well being on the line can possibly continue….yet it lives. I was able to not only see my friends in Hollister, Ca riding and doing the very thing that drives them, but doing it well and to the appreciation of both young and old fans. They have even recruited a young man all of twenty something named Jeremiah to continue the legacy, and trust me it is not for fortune and fame….simply the love. My point to this story is the fact that no matter how bad it may seem in our world today, remember what and why we are all here and that is for the love; remember with time things will get better for us all.
Please visit the American Motor Drome, buy a ticket and see a show, even if you have twenty times in the past. These individuals hopefully will keep you as focused on the big picture as they have me; trust me you will get your money’s worth and hopefully be as inspired as I to see people doing what it is they love in this motorcycle world for pennies on the dollar. Please try to make it a point and take and give whatever you can to support some of the many deserving charities in Sturgis. Please enjoy yourselves and have a safe Sturgis 2008 and I wish you all a prosperous 2009. Thank you my friend” Scott Webster Leroy-Thompson