There is not such a thing as a typical Custom Builder profile. And if you want another proof of it, just read about Rick Fairless’ background and how it led him to create a Texas Biker Lifestyle Empire (bikes, booze and tattoos). Calling himself a “Lucky Chump from Texas”, Rick is both a colorful character (as colorful as his well known custom built bikes and trademark tie-dye tee-shirts) and a very serious businessman, probably one of the hardest working men in the custom motorcycle industry.
It’s in Irving, a suburb north of Dallas, that Rick was born, raised and got its first taste of riding motorcycles with his high school friends. At the age of 19 his first job was for his uncle who owned a chain of paint stores called Roach Paint Co. He worked his way up the company ladder from stock boy to order puller to truck driver to manager of the Irvine store which became, under his management, the number one store in the company. Then he was transferred into outside sales to score being the number 1 salesman in the company. Then, when giant Glidden bought out Roach Paint Co. Rick remained, kept his title of best salesman but got tired of the big company corporate life.
A biker since his teenage years, Rick always fantasized about owning his own motorcycle shop, applied without any real hope to become an Easyriders Motorcycles franchisee, and after hitting many roadblocks, got approved to open Easyriders Dallas. It was year 1996 and right away Rick displayed his unique personality by doing exactly the opposite of what all other shops were doing. Opening his store in an old 30’s building, decorating it with goofy stuff, installing life size dinosaurs on the roof, and yes attracting a lot of bikers who came in drove to check out this unusual place and what its colorful owner had to offer. Right away, Rick got the idea to keep them as long as possible around him by opening a bar next door (pool tables and shuffleboard included), then later a tattoo parlor.
In 2002 Easyriders decided to drop its national franchise plan and since Rick Fairless’ bar was called Strokers Ice House he decided to rename his shop Strokers Dallas. He continued to work very hard at building his Texas biker entertainment complex (he states proudly that he never missed one day of work in his life, weekends included), attracting more and more interest through wild custom bikes with crazy paint jobs (Janis Joplin, Tattoos, all brands of beer and anything psychedelic have fed this man imagination and creativity), and getting national custom building notoriety via a Bike Build Off.
In his multiple ventures of biker/builder/entertainer (he is also hosting a local weekly radio show and was recently featured in the truTV reality series “Ma’s Roadhouse”), Rick works with his wife, his children (daughter Lena is rumored to be the potential successor), his brother-in-law, his very feisty 71-old mother (chain smoking and in charge at his bar and burger joint) without forgetting his brother (an attorney in Houston) & his father as business advisors. In a few years Stroker Dallas went from being a local Texas motorcycle shop to an international biker destination. And if you go there, ask for Rick on my behalf. He is there 8 days a week and for sure he will color your day. (photography copyrights. Top and 3rd pictures, Gene Slater. 2nd picture, Michael Lichter. Bottom picture, Joe T. Moore)
Cyril. In High School, what your teachers said about you? Rick. He’s a good boy, but he needs a haircut!
Cyril. Who were your childhood heroes? Rick. Tom Landry, Don Meredith, John Lennon, Evel Knievel, Moe Howard, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard & Larry Fine.
Cyril. If you were not working in the motorcycle industry, what would you do? Rick. You couldn’t blast me outta the Motorcycle Industry…this is my life!
Cyril. Best/worst qualities? Rick. Best quality: I’m a workaholic. Worst quality: I’m a workaholic.
Cyril. What is your favorite way to relax? Rick. Relax? What does relax mean?
Cyril. What is the last music you downloaded in your iPod? Rick. Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter Paul & Mary.
Cyril. What is the person you would love to meet? Rick. Living: Pam Anderson & Paul McCartney. Dead: Marilyn Monroe & Hank Williams Sr.
Cyril. Which film made you cry? Rick. Animal House – when those good kids got put on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!
Cyril. Do you have any tattoos or piercings? Rick. NO & HELL NO!
Cyril. Do you practice/watch any sport? Rick. I play golf & I watch NFL Football.
Cyril. What is your best life achievement? Rick. Strokers Dallas & Strokers IceHouse – My Strokers Empire!
Cyril. What do you miss most at home when you are on the road? Rick. My Wife’s home cooking.
Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Rick. Working & Dr. Pepper
Cyril. How do you take your coffee? Rick. I have made coffee every morning for 35 years & I’ve never drank a drop.
Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made? Rick. My Grandma taught my brother and I to needlepoint and I made a pillow case with a stick figure of Don Meredith. I wish I still had it!
Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Rick. I’m pretty good at making babies! Does that count?
Cyril. When was the time you were really angry? Rick. I caught a parts guy stealing my parts by shipping them UPS to his house where he sold them on eBay. My wife talked me out of shooting this loser!
Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home? Rick. Staying home don’t pay much. I am NEVER, EVER home on a weekend. I work EVERY SINGLE DAY & I don’t take days off!
Cyril. What is your preferred rally? Rick. Sturgis, riding around & hanging out with my Hamster pals.
Cyril. What is the worst question a journalist asked you? Rick. Is that really your Ma? (about my mother in TV series Ma’s Roadhouse)