Sturgis, S.D., Feb. 24—The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the 2015 inductees into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame and the Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame. The Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame is designed to recognize individuals or groups who have made a long-term positive impact on the motorcycle community. The Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame recognizes the commitment and sacrifices individuals across the nation and world have made to protect the rights of motorcyclists. For 2015, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame will honor one Freedom Fighter and induct seven into the Sturgis Hall of Fame.
Richard Lester—Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame—Since 1982, Richard Lester has founded five nationwide programs: Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (AIM), National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM), Confederation of Clubs (COC), Christian Unity, and National Sports Bike Association (NSBA). Each program is free and they are all focused mainly on uniting, educating and informing motorcyclists of their rights. Richard has worked alongside politicians, attorneys, club members and leaders and individuals, bringing together groups where others had failed. Richard has also provided financial support to numerous organizations that are furthering the cause of motorcycling.
Everett Brashear—One of the top AMA dirt track racers in the 1950s, Everett won the first AMA National held in Sturgis in August of 1952. That win—on the all-new at the time KR Model—established a milestone for Harley-Davidson and considerable publicity for the Sturgis Race. He beat five-time national champion Paul Albrecht for that win, just one year after earning his expert license. He won four nationals in 1953 before being seriously injured in 1954. He returned to racing that same year, though, and continued to race and win nationals across the country for the next few years. Another bad crash in 1960 led to Brashear’s decision to stop racing. He did race in select events for a few years. After he finished racing Brashear continued to work in the motorcycle industry until his retirement.
Chief Jim Bush—J.C. “Pappy” Hoel Lifetime Achievement Award—Jim Bush joined the Sturgis Police Reserves in 1978, was hired as a full-time patrol officer in 1979, worked his way up through the ranks, and became police chief in 1990. Chief Bush has watched the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally grow to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors, and has consistently met the challenge of providing the community of Sturgis with appropriate law enforcement readiness both during the rally and throughout the year. While much of his work is behind the scenes, Chief Bush is recognized as an excellent ambassador for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. He works closely with the promoters of the rally and the events incorporated within the rally to find ways to accommodate the needs of organizers, participants, visitors and residents alike.
Chris McIntyre—It was 1992 when Chris McIntyre, with co-founders Jeff Brown and Peter Wurmer, had the idea to start a business providing motorcycle rentals to the public. At the time, it was thought by most to be a crazy idea and banks and insurance companies alike laughed at the idea. But Chris and his partners persisted in meeting with bankers, insurance companies and prospective investors and finally managed to open the doors of EagleRider Motorcycles with a fleet of four Harley-Davidsons out of a small Los Angeles garage in 1994. The company has grown to over 100 locations worldwide, employing over 400 people and delivering over 100,000 riders’ dreams a year. EagleRider has evolved to become the world leader in providing a full range of motorcycle experiences including rental, tours, bike sales and service, parts, and apparel. The company also recently began opening their own dealership locations.
John Shope—For decades, John Shope has been a high-volume designer and producer of quality custom motorcycles and a parts supplier to the industry. John was one of the first to recognize the value of customizing a touring bike and developed a complete line of custom injection-molded parts. John’s company, John Shope’s Dirty Bird Concepts, has been featured in numerous magazines and television shows. John has been a major supporter of the Sturgis Brown High School Student Bike Build Challenge since 2012. This year, Shope and his co-stars on Biker Battleground Phoenix are stepping up that involvement by helping the students with a brand-new Indian versus Harley-Davidson challenge. Shope will help students customize a 2014 Indian Chief while his competitor Paul Yaffe works with students on customizing a 2014 Harley-Davidson.
Sugar Bear—His love affair with choppers, particularly stretched front-end ones, began when a girl on the back of a chopped bike threw a peace sign to him in 1969. Despite having never ridden, he went out and bought a Honda and started tearing it apart to make it his own. Sugar Bear opened his own shop in South Central L.A. in 1971, and has been building bikes and providing his own signature springer front ends for over 40 years. A master machinist, Sugar Bear hand builds front forks that range in length from stock to as much as 40” over stock. His specialized rocker design gets rave reviews because of their superior handling.
Don Tilley—If anyone in the motorcycling world deserved the title of “Renaissance Man,” it would probably be Don Tilley. A self-taught welder, mechanic, tuner and competitor, he has raced both motorcycles and cars in a number of areas. Tilley opened his first Harley-Davidson dealership in Statesville, North Carolina, in 1972, opened a second store in Salisbury, North Carolina, in 1999 and expanded it to a full-fledged dealership in 2008. Tilley Harley-Davidson in Statesville started the first-ever H.O.G. chapter in 1983. Don served as a resource to racers, a mentor to builders and an inspiration to new riders for over 40 years. Sadly, Don was killed last year in a motorcycle crash that left his wife Robinette severely injured.
Eddie Trotta—Since the late 1980s, Eddie Trotta has been building custom choppers and baggers from his shop in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Thunder Cycle Designs focuses on imagination, craftsmanship and attention to detail in every build. Eddie spent two seasons as a builder on V-Twin TV, and has also starred in multiple Biker Build-Off shows on the Discovery Channel in addition to being featured on numerous magazine covers over the last 10 years. He is supportive of numerous charities not the least of which is the Boys and Girls Clubs in Broward County. He has donated three motorcycles to be auctioned at the Bikers Ball in Daytona in support of that organization alone. Besides building bikes, Eddie also has spent time as a musician, raced offshore powerboats and owned thoroughbred racehorses, fulfilling his need for speed.
The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast is scheduled for Wednesday, August 5 at 9:00 a.m. at The Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Breakfast tickets are available for a $35 donation, tables of eight for $300. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Museum at 605.347.2001 or they can be purchased online at www.sturgismuseum.com/shop/hall-fame-breakfast.