Our March 2012 cover bike is owned by Paul West, and his 2000 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic was selected as the winning bike at our Cover Bike Search at Rawhide Harley-Davidson in Olathe, Kansas.
Paul is from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and the first time I met him was at the 2010 Grand River Summer Rally, when he and his wife Kate entered their matching silver, red, white, and blue patriotic-themed bikes in our cover bike search event.
We had the opportunity to gather more information about him and his 2000 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic. We photographed cover model search finalist Stephanie, on his bike for this month’s cover.
CC: What is your occupation?
Paul: I work for the City of Independence in the Water Pollution Department.
CC: Do you have hobbies other than motorcycling?
Paul: Yes, I also enjoy fishing, racing, four wheeling, and basically anything that has a motor on it.
CC: Why do you ride?
Paul: Piece of mind and freedom.
CC: How long have you been riding?
Paul: I've been riding since before 1978 on mini bikes, dirt bikes, and anything that was available.
CC: What was your first bike?
Paul: It was a 1978 YZ250 Yamaha, which was the first year of the mono shock. I rode it until it was completely worn out. I don't think I got rid of that bike until 1991.
CC: How many bikes have you owned?
Paul: I’ve owned four total. The YZ250, a CVR600, my 2000 Harley-Davidson Ultra Glide Classic, and a 1980 Shovelhead hardtail, which is my current project bike.
CC: How many bikes do you currently own?
Paul: My wife Kate and I currently own three bikes. My 2000 Harley-Davidson Ultra Glide Classic, the 1980 Shovelhead, and my wife’s 2001 Harley-Davidson Ultra Glide Classic.
CC: What do you like most about your Ultra?
Paul: All of the good things that people have to say about it and with the Patriotic theme we get all kinds of compliments on them; especially now that we have the matching pair.
CC: What is your dream bike?
Paul: It seems like these days everyone wants something more than what they have already. We are happy with our bikes, even though there will always be that one little thing we want to upgrade. I would like to put on new wide fenders and boom cam mufflers.
CC: What is your most memorable riding experience?
Paul: My most memorable riding experience was the first time I rode with Kate on the back of my bike. We had gone to Lexington, Missouri with some friends to eat Mexican, and on the way home Kate let me go as fast as I wanted to and trusted me completely. I had been thinking of giving up riding until that day, and she renewed the joy of riding for me. More recently, I got to ride in a funeral procession for Andy Hart. There was a real since of brotherhood that just kind of hit home.
CC: What is your least memorable riding experience?
Paul: Riding in Sturgis with the ex. She was the worst back seat driver EVER! I would have liked to have left her there on the side of the road! Pretty sure my friends would have supported that idea.
CC: To what motorcycle clubs or organizations do you belong?
Paul: We both ride with Ed's Posse. Kate has been with Ed for eight years, and I gave been with the Posse since we met two years ago. Angela our daughter has been helping with the Posse on and off for the eight years that Kate has been with them. We really enjoy going out to raise money and doing whatever is needed for area charities, including Bikers for Babies, which benefits the March of Dimes (our biggest and dearest), Janey's Over the Next Hill Ride for Immacolata Manor, Michael Bergin’s Night Train Run, and whatever else is needed, such as the funeral procession for Andy Hart and Gail’s 9-11 Ride.
CC: What is your favorite motorcycle rally?
Paul: Sturgis 2009, and we both have been to the Grand River Rally (our favorite rally together so far), ABATE at Lake Perry, Bikers for Babies, and Ralph Wayne's Vintage Backyard Nationals (our favorite meet and greet because that is where we met), and Janey's Over the Next Hill Ride.
CC: What is your favorite bike night location?
Paul: Fuel, Russo's, and Rawhide Harley-Davidson when I get the chance.
CC: Tell us about your tattoos, and which is your favorite?
Paul: I have just two tattoos, on my right and left bicep. The one on my left bicep is my favorite because it matches a patch I have on my favorite jacket.
CC: Who is your favorite tattoo artist?
Paul: Chopsticks at Purgatory. We both like him, and even Angela, who loves to get her 'temp tats' whenever they are doing them at events like the 9-11 Ride.
CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?
Paul: I prefer riding in small groups because there’s less of a chance for rider error and it’s easier to organize.
CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?
Paul: Ed's Posse, John Orr, Mark and Becky, Woody and Nancy, Bob Cox, and of course my wife and daughter.
CC: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Paul: Kate and I met in 2009 at Ralph Wayne's Vintage Backyard Nationals. It was held on October 3 that year, and we exchanged numbers. On October 5, Kate called me and found out that I had thought she gave me a fake number because she didn't want to meet up with me after Ralph Wayne's. We ended up going out that night of the 5th and then the 6th, and every night since! We got engaged to be married on Kate's birthday, November 16, and waited until July 2010 to tie the knot in the Ozarks with a few of our BEST biker friends, who rode down to attend. We have been happy ever since. A few weeks after our honeymoon I was looking for a nice bike for Kate on the Internet, and came across the matching bike to mine. It was destiny. I ordered the bike as a surprise wedding gift for Kate, and she was floored! We have been the perfect match ever since!
CC: Thanks for the interview, and we enjoyed shooting your bike for this month’s cover.
Interview by Mike Schweder
Photos by Bruce Stimpson with Stimpson Photography.