Cannonball Characters: #20 Denis Sharon

By Felicia Morgan

1916 HARLEY-DAVIDSON MODEL F

Connecticut resident Denis Sharon was a third-time rider for the 2018 Motorcycle Cannonball, so he was well versed in the ways and means of cross-country travel. Each of his Cannonball experiences has been shared with his wife/crew chief and personal cheer squad, the ever-smiling and personable Beau. Rounding out the triad team is Marty, the dog. Denis is a solid mechanic and quite qualified rider and his sense of community extends to all riders, but the loving support of his beautiful Beau and best four-legged friend is the stuff of motorcycling legend. Over the course of the last five years, Marty has earned himself a place as the official Cannonball greeter and was even patched in with his own Motorcycle Cannonball lanyard during the 2018 race, designating the charismatic guy as a member of the support crew. And support he does! Making the rounds to greet riders in the mornings, competitors took the time to pet Marty and snuggle with the guy who seemed natural as a therapy dog since he served well at quelling nervous jitters, and then made rounds again at night through the pit area to offer the same happy services. If told it’s a rider’s birthday, Marty is known to belt out a barky rendition of “Happy Birthday,” too.

Denis’s 1916 H-D is the only Harley he’s ever owned and he did well with the bike in the 2016 run, but 2018 proved to be too much for the machine. By Stage 10 the H-D was starting to complain and after 129 miles, the engine seized. By the time the bike was trailered into the Big Sky Harley-Davidson dealership, where riders were welcome to the lifts to wrench on their bikes, Denis’s mood was rather dour. Beau maintained her typical cheerfulness and took up tools while trying to shore up her husband’s spirits as Marty laid nearby and kept watch. Big Sky’s shop foreman was impressed by Beau’s wrenching skills and immediately offered her a job. By the next morning, it was determined that the mighty machine’s miles were done but the resilient trio selflessly decided to remain with the Cannonballers in order to help riders to the finish line, including Denis’s riding buddy, Jeff McAllister. By the time final scores were tallied, #20 would have a DFN (Did Not Finish), but that did nothing to affect the cheerful crew. Sometimes it’s not about points/scores. Sometimes it’s about heart. Denis, Beau and Marty have all proven that they certainly have lots of that.

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