I guess you could say that I had been bitten by the motorcycle bug. When I was 9 years old my neighbor had gotten a new Bridgestone 90. He let me and a few other friends come over and ride it in his back yard. From that moment, I knew that I had to have a motorcycle of my own. I saved my money and with the okay from my mom & dad. I bought myself my first bike for my 13th birthday; a used Honda 55 Trail. Before you knew it everybody in my neighborhood started getting bikes also.
In 1971 I saved to get myself a brand new 1971 CT1 175. One of my friends had a bike and his transmission went out in it. I had been doing small repairs & maintenance on my own bike & I decided to take a shot at fixing his transmission. After my succession in fixing my friends transmission I became known as the neighborhood mechanic on all of my friend s dirt bikes.
I had started racing at age 15 & I needed money to help me to keep doing what I loved. I used to go to Dexter’s Motorcycle Shop in Adrian everyday after school, after a while the owner told me that I could have a job once I got my drivers license. I was hired to do assembly & after about a month was doing repairs & worked as a mechanic at 16 years old. Transmissions & port work became my specialties to help me earn money for racing. At age 18, I started jumping cars & performing other stunts with my motorcycle at the local fairground to earn extra money to keep me racing.
By the age of 21, I had met Debbie, my future wife & mother of my 7 children. At age 23, I decided for a change of pace & worked for the next 5 years at a gravel pit, where I learned to weld & fabricate. I knew that this was not the future for me & I eventually returned to Dexter s as parts manager. I quickly gained interest in sales & in 1986 was promoted to sales manager. I was happy in what I was doing, but I always had the dream that someday I would be the owner of my own shop. I was still racing dirt bikes & I also got into snowmobile racing, making my way to the professional circuit.
With a slumped economy in 1990 I was laid off from Dexter’s. I worked a few years at Industrial mill & then moved on to a machine tool factory where I worked as an all around handyman filling in for machinists, the paint department, or repairs. After 911 and another slumped economy I was left without a job again. In a sink or swim environment, a wife & six kids to support, I had to make a decision as to what my career was going to be.