The first time I met Tony was at the 2009 All-American Motorcycle Show/World of Wheels in Kansas City, Missouri where he had his 2008 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic displayed next to his friend and custom bike painter Travis Caw, whose bike we shot for our December 2008 cover.
I'd been planning to shoot Tony's bike ever since it took first place in the cruiser class at the Cycle Connections Cover Bike and Cover Model Search we put on this past March at Harley Hotrods Bar and Grill in Blue Springs, Missouri. We usually try to shoot a red custom bike for our December issue to tie in with our Christmas-themed cover, so I thought there was no better time than now to shoot Tony's Ultra.
During our photo shoot I asked Tony if I could also interview him for this month's Readers and Their Rides article and he was more than happy to agree to my request.
CC: Tony, what is your occupation?
Tony: I'm the manager of St. Joseph Diesel Inc.
CC: Do you have hobbies other than motorcycling?
Tony: Yes. I enjoy spending time with my wife and two girls, having fun with friends, going to the lake for long weekends, boating with family and friends, traveling with my wife and kids, riding my Polaris ranger and four-wheelers, driving my 55 Chevy when I'm not on bike, building diesel pickups for competition racing and watching UFC fights.
CC: Why do you ride?
Tony: It's the best stress reliever out there, plus my wife and girls love to ride as well. Sometimes they fight about who gets to ride.
CC: How long have you been riding?
Tony: I started riding the summer of 2002, so I guess it's been almost eight years.
CC: What was your first bike?
Tony: It was a Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Fat Boy.
CC: How many bikes have you owned?
CC: How many bikes do you currently own?
Tony: Two. My 2008 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic, and I also still have my 100th Anniversary Fat Boy.
CC: What do you like most about your Ultra?
Tony: I love the looks of the Street Glide but wanted the convenience of the Ultra as far as the tour pack for long trips. So the detachable FBI tour pack was a perfect fit for my Ultra.
CC: What is your dream bike?
Tony: I’m riding it! Special “Thank you” to Travis and Becky Caw, Kevin and Angie Caw and son Ethan and to my wife, Sheila and my girls Lauren and Madison for helping and letting me build the bike I have dreamed of. My dream has been fulfilled and without you guys I couldn’t have done it. Thank you.
CC: What is your most memorable riding experience?
Tony: My wife Sheila and I went with the Pony Express HOG chapter to the Missouri State HOG Rally. We showed the bike and got 1st place. We also had a great time hanging out in downtown St. Charles with our close friends.
CC: Do you have a least memorable riding experience?
Tony: Yes. It was with the HOG group back in December 2003. It was a Polar ride, which sStarted off good and ended up snowing on us. We were soaked.
CC: To what motorcycle clubs or organizations do you belong?
Tony: None yet, although we do a lot of stuff with the Pony Express HOG group.
CC: What motorcycle rallies and events have you attended, and which is your favorite?
Tony: Ride 4 Ryan, St. Charles and the Missouri State HOG Rally. Ride 4 Ryan is my favorite. My good friend Rick Consolver;s son Ryan was killed in a motorcycle accident and we ride every June in in memory of him. They are such good people and we ride and party once a year in his memory. They also have a scholarship fund to help others.
CC: Do you have a favorite bike night hangout?
Tony: No, but we really enjoy our local Wednesday night dinner rides in which we go somewhere different each week. A small group of us ride to a different town and restaurant, which makes it fun to eat at new places and see different scenery each week. There's always a different group of people each week to meet with new people, and it's great to see all the different bikes.
CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?
Tony: I like riding in a group. My wife and I have met some really neat people while riding, and it's a good way to socialize and catch up on day-to-day stuff.
CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?
Tony: Travis and Becky Caw, Kevin and Angie Caw, Krista Abernathy, Bill and Kim Jacobs, Rick and Janis Consolver, Randy Shanks and Shelly, Randy Russell, Brandon and Bobbi Jo Patrick and all the Pony Express HOG group.
CC: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Tony: I like to take something not so special and make it something special. I love turning wrenches and making something the best that it can be and different from others.
CC: Thank you for the interview Tony, and thank you for letting us shoot your beautiful bike for our December 2009 cover.
Interview by Mike Schweder
Photos by Michael Blomberg with Main Street Photography (816) 830-6363