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Polish the stinkin’ motor!

Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

I hope ya’ll are doing well. We are good and hot down here in Texas as I write this. It’s 100-plus degrees, but this is Dallas and we grew up with it and we’re used to it.

I was traveling a lot this summer. The American Victory Rally was held in August in Spirit Lake, Iowa, where Victory Motorcycles are made. It’s a cool deal because there are several thousand bikes in attendance and they are 99.99 percent Victory Motorcycles. (I passed a bar with 200 bikes in the parking lot – 198 Vics, one Fat Boy and one Gold Wing.) Victory was giving tours of the factory where riders could see where their Vic was born. It’s a great rally, and Lena and I really enjoyed it.


The week before the AVR, I was in Sturgis. This was my 27th year in a row to attend. This year I took Lena (Bigun) with me. It was her first trip. The first year I went was 1987 and Bigun was 7 months old. That year I rode my 1982 Shovelhead. This year was Lena’s first year and she rode that same 1982 Shovelhead, along with my other custom bikes. It made me very proud.

She had a blast. She was like a big Great Dane puppy, just running around trying to see everything and meet everybody. At one point she told me this was the best trip she’d ever been on. I told her, “Sure it is, I’m paying for your room, I’m paying all your expenses, buying your food, and you’re riding around on all my high-dollar RF custom motorcycles. What could be better than that?”

Suddenly she was at a loss for words.

The main reason I took Bigun was because I was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame. I wish you could have been there. It’s a huge honor and I am very proud to be a member.

(Hey, Grandpa, recently, me and Ran were talking and he asked me how much money would I pay to spend one more day with you and Grandma. Without hesitation I said, “Every dime I got!” Ran agreed, and you know he’s a lawyer and he has lots more money than me. Heck, the mailman has more money than me, but I have more fun!)

Anyway, the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame is something I will be proud of for the rest of my life, and I’m very happy that Bigun was there to share it with me.

It was a very classy ceremony and I just kept thinking somebody was gonna come up, tap me on the shoulder and tell me that they made a horrible mistake and that I should probably leave the premises, PDQ! But that tap on the shoulder never came and I was inducted, so I guess it’s all legal. Without a doubt this was one of the highlights of my goofy life.

I work very hard to make the Fairless name something to be proud of. Actually, when I sign autographs, I sign Fairless first then I sign Rick. Bigun asked me one time why I did that. I told her that I could care less about my first name but my Fairless last name is very important to me. My Grandpa gave me that last name and I don’t want to do anything to screw it up — and she had better not screw it up, either.


While in Sturgis we saw lots of cool motorcycles, many of which were custom baggers. OK, hold on; can I point out a couple of things here? I don’t understand why most of the so-called custom bagger builders I see are running bone stock motors. It’s like they spend all their money on frames that lay on the ground, sound systems that rattle every window in the neighborhood, 26-to-30-inch sky-high wheels, air ride front and rear, and enough chrome to light up Sayre, Okla.

Then when it comes to the motor, it looks like an oversight. Almost like they said, “Well, the bike’s about done now — wait, what about the motor? Oh yeah, I forgot, we’ll need a motor. Hey, let’s jerk the motor out of that ‘98 Road King sitting in the corner over there. It’ll be perfect”!

Come on, boys! Here’s my message to those so-called custom builders: Polish the stinkin’ motor, why don’t ya!

Dang it, man, the motor is the heart of every motorcycle. It’s the centerpiece, the jewel that everything else is built around. Paint it, polish it, powdercoat it, blow it, stroke it, shave a couple of fins off the bottom cylinder or something! That’s my message to those cats. It’s like they spent all their money on the “show” and forgot about the “go”! Remember, if you don’t touch the motor, then it ain’t a custom motorcycle.

Hey, Grandma, do you cook in Heaven? I sure do miss your cooking. My favorite supper was when you’d fix chicken fried steak with cream gravy, red beans, fried potatoes and onions, “cat head” biscuits with Burr Rabbit syrup, sweet tea and pecan pie with homemade ice cream.

Dang it, why do I do that to myself? Now I’m all misty eyed and I’m missing ya’ll so bad I could just bust a gut. I guess I better go for now before somebody walks in my office and thinks me and the ol’ lady are fighting again. Oh yeah, Ma says “Hey.” Love, Rickey

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