The Secret Life Of Rick Fairless

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. What was your 1st vehicle? Rick. Honda “Racing” CL 100

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 are you afraid of? Rick. Spaghetti.

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. Name five things you hate. Rick. Drunks, Blow Hards, Smoking, White Women & Being Politically Correct.

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. What was the last book you read? Rick. Lovesick Blues: The Biography of Hank Williams SR.

Cyril. Where is your favorite vacation place? Rick. Strokers Dallas.

Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Rick. Working & Dr. Pepper

Cyril. Do you collect anything? Rick. Old Memorabilia from Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page, Dallas Cowboys, the Beatles, 50’s & 60’s Americana.

Cyril. What was your worst buy? Rick. A Continental Trailways bus ticket to San Francisco when I was 17 and wanted to explore the hippie lifestyle.

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)

Zipper's

48 Responses to “The Secret Life Of Rick Fairless”


  1. 1 Wiz Jan 12th, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Hey Ricky Baby, That shithouse door bracket is still holding! You’re a Good ‘Ol Boy from Texas, can’t get any better than that! Keep doin’ that VOODOO you Do so Well!! Wiz

  2. 2 Doc Jan 12th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Should have shot him. Continued success. R&C

  3. 3 2Low Jan 12th, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Rick Fairless is weird but not crazy. Proof is that he is successful at the motorcycle entertainment business. Hard work is as good as talent.

  4. 4 Jerry Jan 12th, 2011 at 10:00 am

    The day Rick Fairless will wear an all white tee shirt will mean that that he is in a severe state of depression. Ha!

  5. 5 Brad Semer Jan 12th, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Does Rick really think he is a hippie? Would like to know.

  6. 6 Jeremy Jan 12th, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Interesting answers. Who would have thought that spaghettis are Rick’s greatest fear!

  7. 7 Robert Hamilton Jan 12th, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Hey Cyril, you make me want to visit his place. I am only 1 state away. Must be fun.

  8. 8 Bonneville´s fastest naked man... Jan 12th, 2011 at 11:04 am

    i miss one question: How many million colours do you know?

  9. 9 Jim Mc. Jan 12th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Rick is one helluva guy. I visited from Moab, Utah with a few friends and he gave us all a tour of his place. He’s built something special, wish I lived closer so I could hang out every weekend. A hard working thinker, a ‘magic’ bike builder, one of the good ones. Say ‘Hey’ to Joe T. for me.

  10. 10 LENA FAIRLESS Jan 12th, 2011 at 11:08 am

    GREAT INTERVIEW, DAD!! You are an amazing, wonderful, and successful person!

    “Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Rick. I’m pretty good at making babies! Does that count?” – HECK YES THAT COUNTS and you are good at making babies because I turned out well! Perhaps that’s why i am your number 1 fan and constantly quote you on my facebook!!

    I love you and you’re the best dad ever!

  11. 11 Conrad Nicklus Jan 12th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Rick is a great guy and I have had the opportunity to speak to him quite a bit lately, so everything above is true and dead on! Strokers is a fun place to visit and I suggest if anyone is in the Dallas Texas area to go visit! Congrats on the success and the great family that you have!

    Lena, all the “quotes” on FB make us laugh in the office on the daily!

  12. 12 Gas Man Jan 12th, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Great interview. I have spoke to Lena a few times online. It just goes to show the man created an empire and didn’t forget about raising a proper lady. Thumbs up to all the Fairless family.

  13. 13 Donna Jan 12th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    That city is Irving not Irvine

  14. 14 busfreak Jan 12th, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    The guy and his crew are the nicest people you will meet. I enjoy going into his shop every time I am Dallas. Last time I was there me and Rick got to talking about triumphs and he took me into his office where he has a nice ass bonnie.

  15. 15 Jeff Nicklus Jan 12th, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Rick is a workaholic, a great family man, a brillant business man and an icon in this industry. I am proud to call Rick my friend. Oh yes, did I mention Rick is also a fellow Texan?

    You rock Rick ……..

    Cyril, Great way to start a new year … first two interviews of the year are TEXAN’S ……..

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  16. 16 Stephen Jan 12th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    sorry gotta call ya out on the typo Cyril.

    “It’s in Irvine, a suburb north of Dallas, that Rick was born, raised and got its first taste of riding motorcycles with his high school friends”

    Its Irving not Irvine. 🙂

  17. 17 Stephen Jan 12th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Had to give ya a hard time…..but outside of that excellent article I enjoyed reading it.

  18. 18 madpuppy Jan 12th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Great interview, Ive always liked Rick.

  19. 19 Rick Lossner Jan 12th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Very approachable and nice guy……. wish I’d been prepared when I’d bought my Big Dog from him…..

    After I signed the paperwork, they sent me to the icehouse and told me all my drinks were on the house #%$^T$^TYYT$#!@… Damned it!!! Had places to be, otheriwise I’d put a hurting on the ‘free bar bill!” 🙂

  20. 20 Greek Jan 12th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Interesting. Cyril, you must be harassed by a lot of people requesting to be interviewed by you. Your fault! Smile…

  21. 21 Brenda Fox Jan 12th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Rick ROCKS!

    Great interview revealing the man behind the tie dye.
    Really enjoy your creative rock your own vibe & rock it well.
    Thank you the flair you fly in this industry!
    Brenda

  22. 22 Roadside Marty Jan 12th, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Definitely NOT a fan of his bikes but Iam impressed by his work ethic,loyalty to family as well as his business savvy.He is truly living proof of the American Dream that if you work hard as well as work smart you will be successful..good luck to you in all of your future endeavors,hope to meet you face to face one day..Roadside Marty

  23. 23 JAXON 5 WCC Jan 12th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Great guy, cool “compound”… For anyone out in the country that has not made it their (Strokers of Dallas) you need to GO !! You wont forget it !! Rick, Ill see ya at your show in April, new scooter gunna be there? Peace out…….

  24. 24 1550tc Jan 12th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Rick your ageless……gotta get to your place on day and along the way drop in and Conrad and Jeff too.

    Rick our like the fashion icons…..you don’t follow a trend or style you ARE BOTH of them…and a true icon in the industry!!

  25. 25 Jordan Lee Jan 12th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    The Fairless Family is one of a kind. I am fortunate enough to work with these guys on a daily basis. Rick has built exactly what he states, a Biker Empire! We make the ride up from central Texas as much as we can just to hang out. These guys are awesome. Wish you guys continued success

  26. 26 Joe T Jan 12th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Hey Ricky, Nice interview. I probably know Ricky as well as anyone (he is like a brother to me) and what he says is true…He ask me when he started the business, “how do know I will be successful?”, and I told him that he is the hardest working guy I know. I said if he was picking up cans on the side of the road, he would be successful, because he would pick more cans than anyone else. I can testify that he picks up more golf balls from the creeks than anyone. Great job Ricky….Joe T.

  27. 27 ray c wheeler Jan 12th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Great man and one fine shop, plus a party area with tons of motorcycle parking, its an all day bike show on the week ends for all to enjoy.

    Great job Rick and Crew!

  28. 28 Bill Jan 12th, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    As long as you keep hiring Frank back, you are alright in my book. Great bike shop/bar/burger joint Rick. Thanks for offering a fun place for us DFW folks to meet up.

  29. 29 Grey Beard Jan 13th, 2011 at 12:34 am

    I really like the color sceem on your bikes, sweet. Your own unique signature that seperates you from the others.

  30. 30 Punishment Jan 13th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I’ve always liked Rick the guy deserves all the success he has

  31. 31 Cochise Jan 13th, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Good questions, great answers.

    You have to appreciate this man’s work ethic……………………may he live long!!!

  32. 32 SCOTT Jan 13th, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Met Rick in Sturgis the last year he was at thunder road, before it became monkey nuts or whatever. Really nice guy, hope to cross paths with him again.

  33. 33 Robert Filla - Thunder Press magazine Jan 13th, 2011 at 10:00 am

    A great guy that illustrates the best of Texas. And his 2nd MC Expo is coming up right around the corner, April 2-3, 2011.

  34. 34 Robert Jan 13th, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Rick, a great guy,a great business done right,and I believe is also a Jerry Lee Lewis fan.We were at killers concert at same time.And yes , a Texan all the way.
    Thanks to Cyril for doing this.

    PS: Not too many folks who believe in working today like Rick does and I applaud Rick for this.
    Best of everything to you Rick in the furure.

  35. 35 Steve Hog Radio Producer Jan 13th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Great interview and we will have to get him on.

    Has a great Bio at the strokers website check it out. Great business man something others can learn from in the dealer world.

  36. 36 John Nasi Jan 13th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I am really glad to have known you all these years, and your great family, Rick. I miss little Chelsey and Lena – Big’n and Rat.

    At least I beat you to work at least once in my life… of course my nonstop truck from Wichita at midnight might have made the difference. Unmistakably, you are one of the hardest working guys in the business – from dawn till dusk.

    I know you are too stubborn to change, so keep up the great way you are.

  37. 37 Eric Maurer Jan 13th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I met Rick when covering the American Ironhorse Dealershow in 04…. what a great guy! After 5 mins, he was treating me like family. I had the run of the compound. The only bad thing I can say is that he rolled into the AIH Dinner with his brand new Corvette and didn’t offer to let me drive it HAHAHA. Great article on a great guy!

  38. 38 Dennis Johnson Jan 13th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    I’ve had the pleasure to work with Rick as his editor for Big Twin Dealer (RIP) and now Dealernews so let me add something to Rick’s impressive resume: He’s a helluva writer.

    Consistently his columns garner the most praise out of anything that we run each month. Here’s to another year of deadlines, Rick, glad to say I know ya. I reference your business smarts quite a bit with talking to people about the retail end of this industry. Dumbass my ass!

    Cyril, another great one.

  39. 39 Bigalyts@aol.com Jan 13th, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Why Cyrill, it sounds as if Rick hates His Mother?!@#$%^% He said He hates Smokers and White Women.

  40. 40 Heavy Metal Jan 13th, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Cool Kat for sure. If anyone can brig back big bell Levi’s it will be Fairless.

  41. 41 nuno maroco Jan 14th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Amazing bikes love the” flower power” spirit, rock`n roll and freedom.

  42. 42 Mike Kiwi Tomas, Kiwi Indian Motorcycle Co Jan 16th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Top of the line gentleman and an asset to our industry.

  43. 43 Phatgal Jan 17th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    It takes a special kind of guy to pull off Tie-dye!

  44. 44 Chief Waldo Jan 17th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I live in the northeast, so the last time I was in Dallas, I made it a point to stop by Strokers. It was an interesting place. The customs he had on display were amazing… especially the paint. I took lots of pictures!

    I ride a Victory, and was surprised to see it’s a Victory dealer now, so I tried to get a “Strokers Dallas Victory” shirt. With the tons of stuff there, there was not a one piece of clothing with both “Strokers Dallas” and “Victory” on them. So I figured, I’d a least pony up the bucks for a tie-dyed Strokers t-shirt. Found one I like and went to the counter to pay. There was one person working the counter, with two others walking buy every now and then. I was the only customer at the counter, and not one of them bothered to even look at me, never mind consider letting me buy the shirt. After standing there like a fool with money, I put the shirt down and walked out. No sense going back again.

    It’s a shame. It LOOKED like a cool place.

  45. 45 Blackmax Jan 25th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Kudos to Rick & his buisness empire. Long before I became a fledgeling Part-Time Cycle jounalist, I was in Texas on buisness and I took a buddy of mine out to see Stroker’s (then Easyriders) We had never met before but when I told him I worked for the Easyriders store in Cincinnati, it was like I had found a long lost brother. He had us take the tour of the shop, and everything. My buddy who is not a biker said “Is everyone that’s a biker so nice” I told him only the “Good One’s”…
    Rick had been very generous with his time, granting interviews, saying “Hi” and just cutting up every time I’ve seen or asked him.
    Thanks buddy, continued success, it could not happen to a nicer guy! Hope to see you soon, in Cincinnati

  46. 46 Rick Fairless Jan 25th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Hey Chief Waldo, I’m sorry you didn’t get our best customer service when you were here. My employees are awesome, but in your case we failed to deliver the top notch customer service that I demand. For that I truly apologize! I want to thank everyone for all the comments & kind words. We are all in this thing together & I look forward to seeing ya’ll soon.
    Thanks,
    RF

  47. 47 Troy Feb 2nd, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I first met Rick a few years ago in Sturgis. Since then our paths have crossed several times at various places. I have been to Strokers Dallas three times. It’s always 1:45 in the Chump Studio. Each time I’ve visited Strokers, Rick welcomed me in and spent time with me at the shop. From the first time we met, Rick has always been considerate and cordial. Rick is a real asset to the motorcycle industry and a great example of how hard work can lead to success. If you haven’t watched Rick and Joe T’s Dum Ass radio show you should give it a try. The radio show will resonate with any guy who has ever had a good buddy that you enjoy hanging out and shooting the bull with.
    Rick, thanks for being a good friend and I wish you continued success.

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