February, 2013—The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame announced the 2013 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 around the world have made to protect the rights of motorcyclists. For 2013, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame will honor one Freedom Fighter and induct five into the Sturgis Hall of Fame.
Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame “Still” Ray Fitzgerald first became involved in motorcyclists’ 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. Fitzgerald also helped successfully build a number of ABATE chapters in Arizona. 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.
Sturgis Hall of Fame: 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, a program that is a volunteer effort in which members are available to assist each other in the event of a breakdown or other emergency roadside needs, currently has close to two million members. BAM is available to members and non-members 24 hours a day. Brown has spearheaded other efforts in the motorcycle world including the “Keep Me Alive, Don’t Text and Drive” campaign to encourage safe driving habits in an effort to keep motorcycle riders safe.
Sturgis Hall of Fame inductee: Rick Fairless has 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 number-one 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, and RF Custom Parts. 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 and television shows.
Sturgis Hall of Fame inductee (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 and 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.
Sturgis Hall of Fame inductee: Marjoe Gortner played a large role in changing 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 filmmaking, acting, television documentaries and charitable fundraising for many years.
Sturgis Hall of Fame inductee: 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 three 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 with him one of his manufacturing companies, Competition Distributing Inc., which specializes 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.
The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast is scheduled on Wednesday, August 7 at 9:00 a.m. at The Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, SD. and is sponsored by The Buffalo Chip Campground and Black Hills Harley-Davidson.
Breakfast tickets are available for a $35.00 donation, tables of eight for $300.00. Tickets can be purchased through the Museum at 605.347.2001 or online at www.sturgismuseum.com/cart/
For more information, contact Christine Paige Diers, (605) 347-2001.