Rides, Rallies and Events Recap
Staff

Staff

Just twenty miles south from the Kansas City, Missouri downtown loop; a new Harley-Davidson owner has set up shop. Rawhide Harley-Davidson, formerly known as Central Harley-Davidson South, is the new show in town. The new owners bring experience and passion for motorcycles, specifically the Harley-Davidson brand. Holding their grand opening on Friday, June 18 through Sunday, June 20, they found out what Midwest weather was really about, mostly hot with a heavy pop-up thunderstorm midday on Saturday and heavy heat the other two days.

Most of us Midwesterners remember how dedicated Central Harley-Davidson was to its customers. Heck, Central Harley-Davidson stayed in business for over 40 years. Dave Veracka, along with his sons Mike and Paul are now heading up the ownership of Rawhide Harley-Davidson, which was acquired from Central Harley-Davidson in April. The Veracka family has a rich history in the motorcycle industry, which began over 30 years ago. Mike and Paul have been riding since they were 5 years old. They also own three other motorcycle dealerships as well, which include two in Lewiston, Maine and one in Hudsonville, Michigan.

During the three-day grand opening, free lunch was served each day and there were several booths set up, from promoting Bikers for Babies® to showcasing high performance prescription sunglasses. One specific booth was from the Southern Cruisers Riding Club looking for new members for the Johnson County 510 chapter. The crowd beat the 90 plus degree temperatures in the oversized American Flag-themed tent with free pop and water. Some even took part in the bargain of the day - $2 beers in the beer garden.

Whether going for a cool one in the tent or going inside the expansive showroom to pick up a lower than average cost Rawhide t-shirt, fun was had by all. A quick stop in between the tent and the showroom entrance caught the eye of most. Three words – bikini bike wash. On Sunday, Brooke, Natalie, and Christina were soaping the chrome and leather for a donation. Most of you may know those three tantalizing ladies as being the cover model search winners at the recent Cycle Connections Cover Bike & Cover Model Search at Harley's and Horses Bar and Grill.

After spending some quality time talking to the Cycle Connections ladies, one could find the owners walking throughout the store talking with guests as they shopped. When asked why Dave and his family decided to get into the Kansas City area market, his response was, “There are a lot of motorcycles in this area. Kansas City and surrounding area motorcycle enthusiasts ride a lot too. Combine those factors with a lower than national average of 6.4% unemployment rate, we couldn’t pass it up.”

Dave expressed a heavy emphasis on expanding the used bike inventory, which currently sits between 65-80 motorcycles on a given day. To do this, they will accept all types of trades like cars, campers, and even metric bikes. They have multiple banks available which will provide great financing packages as well. The Rawhide Harley-Davidson store also applies a creative motto of C.A.R.E. – which stands for Commitment, Attitude, Reliability, and Excellence.

Additionally, Matt Chiappetta has been hired as the General Manager of Rawhide Harley-Davidson. Matt brings over 15 years’ experience running Harley-Davidson stores, most recently in Arizona. With family close to Kansas, Matt felt that a move to Rawhide Harley-Davidson in Olathe was a great fit.

Rawhide Harley-Davidson currently employs 35, which is up from the prior ownership. They have also made it a priority to retain most of the former employees as well. The store is open seven days a week and current store hours are kept up to date on their website. All this will help drive sales to a Rawhide target goal of 1,000 bike sales in two years.

As referenced on their website, they “are motorcycle riders and know that Harley-Davidson is one big family. We strive to provide the best customer experience to our customers with a well-trained staff and great motorcycle events at the dealership!”

Dave, Mike, and Paul plan on being in active roles at Rawhide Harley-Davidson. They intend on keeping a strong bond in giving back to the community, specifically to the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the March of Dimes through Bikers for Babies®, which falls on September 19 this year. Rawhide also intends on having at least one bike night a month and other special events at the Rawhide Harley-Davidson dealership.

The next scheduled bike night will be held on Thursday, July 8 from 5-9 p.m. The bike night will include live music, a bikini bike wash, $1 beers, and a burnout contest. The next special event will be a Chili Cook-off and Swap Meet held on Sunday, July 11. And on Saturday, July 31 and Sunday, August 1, the Harley-Davidson demo truck will set up. You can be one of the first in Kansas City to ride a 2011 model!

During conversations, Dave is frequently asked, “How do you work in this industry all day and then go riding or racing a bike?” His response, “Aren’t I lucky?”

For more information about Rawhide Harley-Davidson, check out their website at www.RawhideHarley.com, take the short drive to their store at 725 N Rawhide Road, Olathe, Kansas or give them a call at (913) 764-7433.

Also make sure to click the following links to learn more about the other dealerships owned by the Veracka family: Grand Rapids Harley-Davidson in Hudsonville, Michigan, L-A Harley-Davidson in Lewiston, Maine and Central Maine Powersports in Lewiston, Maine.

By Rob Smith

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On Monday, April 29, 2010, Worth Harley-Davidson, one of the Midwest's highest volume Harley-Davidson dealers moved to a newer and larger location to accommodate their thriving business. Less than one week later on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5, Worth Harley-Davidson celebrated their Grand Opening by putting on 'Worth Stock' the largest free concert Kansas City has ever seen.

No expense was spared on this event, which brought in several national music acts. Friday, June 4 was Free Country Concert day, which included Chris Cagle, James Otto, the Flat River Band, Drew Six, the Scott Ford Band and Outlaw Jim and the Whiskey Benders. Saturday, June 5 was Free Rock Concert day with Jackly, Nigel Dupree, the Federation of Horsepower, Stairway to Zeppelin, the Bob Harvey Band, My Dixie Wrecked and special guest star Brother Clyde, better known as Billy Ray Cyrus. Much to everyone's delight, Angie of Angie Land fame at the Full Throttle in Stugis, South Dakota put on several shows with her Flaunt dancers. Backstage we even ran into Full Throttle owner Mike Ballard.

There was lots of free parking for cars in the large field behind the dealership and over 3,000 parking spaces were available for motorcycles. We setup our Cycle Connections booth in the parking lot where cover models Jamie and Mandy greeted guests and posed for hundreds of photos. There were also several other vendors and charitable organizations setup in the parking lot including Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.). The American Red Cross was there promoting their annual RIDE for the RED, the Central Auto Racing Boosters (C.A.R.B) were signing riders up for their 2nd Annual Ride for the Victory, the Northland Animal Welfare Society (NAWS) was promoting their 4th Annual NAWS Ruff Ride Motorcycle/Hot Rod Dice Run. The 5th Annual Miles for Medals Dice Run was represented as well, who was setup next to Freedom of Road Riders Local 8 who was there promoting their 24th Annual Spring Fling Rally. On the other side of our booth, Don and the great folks with the March of Dimes® Bikers for Babies were setup and on the other side of them you could sign up for the 2010 Thunder Run to benefit JDRF.

Moniker Chain Maille Jewelry had a booth setup near the stage and a booth selling Jackyl swag and across the parking lot was a huge tent where you could get some great food. Beer vendors were also setup all around the stage area, which is almost unheard of for dealerships in the Kansas City area. In the parking lot on the north side of the dealership 85 mph Hats had a booth as did Jayhawk Marina from Hillsdale Lake who was selling all kinds of fun things such as motorized 'Cruzin' coolers. The fine folks from Ken Smith Autobody from St. Joseph had several of their custom bike displayed at their booth, and next door you could get your bike pinstriped at the Pinstripping by Eric tent. The inside of the dealership was packed with customers and near the front door you could get patches sewn on your vest or jacket. In the front parking lot Johnny Dare and Moose from 98.9 The Rock were on-hand doing a live remote, and our cover model Jamie just had to have her photo taken with Johnny.

This was one huge event, and I swear I must have run into almost everyone I know in the local motorcycle community. If you weren't there, I think you were the only one who missed it. If you haven't made it up to Worth Harley-Davidson's new dealership yet, hop on your bike right now and go check it out, and while you're there, make sure to check out the inventory of new bikes in the area on the south side of the dealership. I've never seen so many Harley-Davidsons in one place since last year's trip to Sturgis. Quite impressive!

By Mike Schweder

When was the last time you saw scooter riders mingling with Harley riders? Take some time and think real hard, because unless you were at the EagleRider Kansas City Grand Opening on Saturday, May 22 in the Crossroads Art District, I'll bet your answer is…NEVER?

Wally, one of our fellow Cycle Connections team members and I rode our motorcycles to the grand opening, and as soon as we turned onto 19th Street it was quite apparent that some type of major event was taking place. Upon pulling into the alley next to the dealership, the pleasant aroma of hotdogs cooking on a charcoal grill filled the air. On the other side of the dealership there is a courtyard with picnic tables where a keg of beer was being sampled by some of the Harley riders who showed up to check things out.

After getting off my bike I was immediately greeted by dealership owners John and Gail Redmond who introduced us to Duncan Williams the Director of Franchise Support who was there from the EagleRiders World Headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Duncan was excited to be in Kansas City for the grand opening of their newest location and was a wealth of information on the motorcycle and scooter rental industry.

The 101 The Fox radio station RV was parked out front with a huge transmitter antennae jutting into the sky, and inside the dealership, popular radio personality Skid Roadie was busy doing a live remote and encouraging listeners to come on down! There was a large orange tent on the sidewalk with a beautiful new Harley-Davidson Street Glide parked in front promoting the EagleRider Grand Opening, and there were also several scooters lined up on the sidewalk along with one of the new Royal Enfield motorcycles, which are awesome! I especially liked the Royal Enfield that was parked just inside the front door which had a sidecar attached. These are very cool, very reliable, and very reasonably priced motorcycles, which look like antique works of art.


EagleRider Kansas City shares showroom space with Vespa Crossroads Kansas City and the new Royal Enfield Kansas City, which is a motorcycle & scooter dealership owned by John and Gail Redmond. Along with motorcycle and scooter rentals, the dealership offers new and used Vespa, Aprilia and Piaggio motor scooters and new Royal Enfield motorcycles. They also have a full service department, parts, riding apparel and accessories.


In the rare case you are unfamiliar with EagleRider Motorcycle Rental, they are the world’s largest motorcycle tourism company and the largest source for motorcycle and scooter rentals in the world. EagleRider Kansas City is the company's 38th location in the U.S. EagleRider Kansas City business owner John Redmond explained how they will rent Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Vespa® motor scooters for one day, weekend, week-long or multiple week vacations. According to John, the market for one-way rentals for cross-country trips and self-guided tours across the U.S. has doubled in the past five years, so there is a huge market here in the Kansas City area for their services.

For their grand opening, EagleRider Kansas City partnered up with the charitable organization, Surviving Spouse & Family Endowment Fund (SAFE) for the event. SAFE supports the families of law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency services personnel in the Kansas City metropolitan area who have perished in the line of duty while protecting our community. In an effort to help ease the pain felt by these suffering families, SAFE provides emotional and financial support and accepted donations during the event.

For more information about EagleRider Kansas City, check out the press release we published in our May 2010 issue, visit www.EagleRiderKC.com, call (816) 472-0808 or (800) 900-9901, or contact John via his e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

By Mike Schweder

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Shawnee Cycle Plaza has always been one of Kansas City's premier Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki motorcycle, scooter and ATV dealership, and in March 2010 they finished a major remodel that almost doubled their size. They now have a huge showroom to display their wide selection of motorcycles, scooters and ATVs, and their parts, accessories and apparel department is second to none. Their 5-star service department has also been expanded with the addition of more service bays so they can get you in and out even faster.

Owner Barry Bunner took the time to show us around, and you could sense the excitement in his voice as he pointed out the features of his new and improved dealership. Barry also introduced us to his Sales Manager Steve Sill and several other members of his friendly and knowledgeable staff who go out of their way to help you with everything you need from that hard to find part or special accessory to a new helmet, exhaust system, windshield, saddlebags or jacket. If you don't see what you're looking for in their newly expanded showroom, you are welcome to check out their catalogs and the staff is readily available to assist you in making the right selection.

So if you haven't visited Shawnee Cycle Plaza since their new remodel, stop by today and see for yourself why 'You can't buy from a nicer bunch of guys!'

By Mike Schweder

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World’s Largest Motorcycle Tourism Company Comes to KC


(Kansas City, MO.) – EagleRider will roar into town with an official launch and grand opening of EagleRider Kansas City on Saturday, May 22, 2010 from 10:00 am to Noon, at 7 E. 19th St. (corner of 19th & Main Streets) in the Crossroads Arts District. EagleRider is the world’s largest motorcycle tourism company and the largest source for motorcycle and scooter rentals in the world. This will be EagleRider’s 38nd U.S. location.
EagleRider KC is partnering with the charitable organization, Surviving Spouse & Family Endowment Fund (SAFE) for the event. The Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund exists to support the families of Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters and Emergency Services Personnel in the Kansas City metropolitan area who have perished while protecting our community and our citizens. In an effort to help ease the pain felt by these suffering families, SAFE provides emotional and financial support. In kind donations will be accepted at the event.
In 1992, EagleRider pioneered the Harley-Davidson® motorcycle rental concept and the guided motorcycle tour business. Today, EagleRider has a nationwide network of locations where you can choose from the world’s largest rental inventory of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. John Redmond, owner and general manager of EagleRider Kansas City, wanted to bring EagleRider to Kansas City because he saw a need that needed to be filled in the motorcycle market.
“The EagleRider slogan is “We Rent Dreams”, and that’s what we do, we rent dreams,” said Redmond. “Our clients can escape for a weekend trip or head out for a cross-country motorcycle vacation they will remember for a life-time. Imagine hopping on a big fat Harley-Davidson bike. You turn the key and the bike starts to rumble, your adrenaline begins to flow, and you hit the road for an adventure of a lifetime.”
“We will rent Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Vespa® motor scooters for one day, weekend, week-long or multiple week vacations. You would not believe the market for one-way rentals for cross-country trips and self-guided tours across the U.S.”, said Redmond. “Demand for EagleRider motorcycle rentals has doubled in the last five years.”



Redmond is a native Kansas Citian and experienced business owner. His latest expansion was Vespa Crossroads Kansas City, which opened at the same location in November of 2008 to serve the exploding urban interest in Vespa scooter ownership. One of the reasons he felt it was a ripe time to expand was because EagleRider’s popularity is soaring. The company was founded in southern California the early 1990s. It now has a fleet of 3,500 bikes available
for rent through 85 locations world-wide. Over 40% of EagleRider customers are from outside the U.S. who want to travel to the U.S. to fulfill their vacation dream of “riding a Harley across America”.
Redmond became interested in motorcycle and scooter rentals immediately after opening Vespa Crossroads KC, as he was constantly asked “do you rent scooters?” Not only will EagleRider KC rent motorcycles and scooters, but it will offer a full service experience that includes jacket rentals, biker riding apparel, insurance, self-guided tour info, and guided tours. All of these amenities are to make a scooter rental or motorcycle vacation experience easy. Imagine seeing Kansas City from a Vespa scooter, or taking a weekend or week-long vacation motorcycle excursion, and not have to worry about the cost of fuel.
“I have taken many trips throughout the country and Eagle Rider always has great bikes,” said John Moffitt, president of Coldwell Banker John Moffitt & Associates. “It’s one of the greatest ways to explore in the open air and opening EagleRider KC is a tremendous asset to the Kansas City Area.”
EagleRider KC also offers guided motorcycle tours including a 16-day Wild West tour, one of its most popular, following a loop that swings through places like Palm Springs, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park and San Francisco. They also offer the Route 66 tour picked up south of Kansas City to Los Angeles. The tour passes through places including Amarillo, TX, the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, NM, Laughlin, NV ending at the coast in L.A.”EagleRider KC will rent bikes from the new Harley and Vespa models, including the popular Harley-Davidson Street Glide, Road King & Heritage Soft Tail motorcycles and the Vespa GTS 250 and popular Vespa LX 150 and S 50s scooters. Prices will start as low as $75.00 per day.
Another great aspect of Redmond’s business is that EagleRider Kansas City is ready to support Kansas Citians’ participation in regional bike rallies and events, including the Sturgis70th Anniversary Rally, Aug 9-15, 2010 in Sturgis, South Dakota, the Salute to American Veterans Rally, Aug. 15-17, 2010 in Cripple Creek, Colorado (formerly Cripple
Creek Motorcycle Rally), the Sturgis on the River Motorcycle Rally, June 16-19, 2010 in Davenport, Iowa, the Branson Motorcycle Rally, May 20-23, 2010, Branson, Missouri and more.
EagleRider Kansas City/Vespa Crossroads Kansas City is a motorcycle & scooter dealership, offering new Vespa, Aprilia and Piaggio motorscooters, new Royal Enfield motorcycles, and used Harley-Davidson motorcycles, as well as full service department, parts, and riding clothing and accessories. It is located at 19th & Main in the Crossroads Arts District, with convenient access to mid-town, Northland, Johnson Count and Easter Jackson County via all major highways. For more information visit www.EagleRiderKC.com, call (816) 472-0808 or (800) 900-9901, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Most bikers dream of having their own custom bike, but few have the money, time and resources it takes to make it happen. Unless you have $35K or more burning a hole in your pocket for that factory custom chopper you've had your eye on for some time now, instead, you probably chose to stop by your local dealership to pick up that 'last' piece of chrome or bolt-on part. There's nothing wrong with that, but where do you go from there?
That's probably about it unless you've been saving your pennies for a custom paint job or have been patiently waiting until the next factory model comes out that catches your eye so you can sell your bike, buy the new model, and start all over again. But wait a minute! Before you take a loss on your current bike to buy that new model, you now have another option for making your custom bike dreams come true, and for a lot less money than financing a new motorcycle.
Pick up the phone and call Kickstand at Hellraisers Fabrication in Belton, Missouri for a free consultation. Kickstand has been in the business for over 20 years and specializes in service work, stock frame modifications, one-off radical drop seat-style frames, and about any other type of custom fabrication you can think of for your Harley or metric bike. Want a custom gas tank made from scratch? No problem! Need a custom oil tank to fit your newly modified frame? Piece of cake! And where else can you go for professional tig and mig welding, even on aluminum? Hellraisers also provides aluminum case welding for motors and transmission, which is a service that is not easy to find. Hellraisers has customers all across the US, so no matter where you live, Kickstand will ship your components to you via UPS.
So why have Hellraisers Fabrication chop your stock frame and modify your bike rather than having one built from scratch or buying a factory custom? There are several great reasons, but here are a just few of the biggies that come to mind:
When it's done, you'll have that custom one-off bike you've always dreamed of.
Since you probably already own your current bike, you'll have a custom motorcycle for only a fraction of what you'd pay for a new one.
You’ll maintain your stock VIN numbers and title so you can license and insure your bike just like you always have without having to deal with all the EPA regulations they now have for bikes that are built from scratch.

After starting out years ago in a 10'x12' metal shed, reminiscent of Harley-Davidson's early years, Kickstand has perfected his art of fabrication to the point where he's ready to start marketing his own line of custom old school bolt-on motorcycle conversion kits that anyone with a little mechanical aptitude can use to convert their stock motorcycle into a custom bike. He plans to start off building custom kits for Harley-Davison Dyna models, and then expand into the Softail line and other models. The kits will include a tank, fenders, handlebars and other custom components; all for under $2,000. What a deal!
When I pulled into the parking lot at Hellraisers Fabrication I noticed several of Kickstand's previous projects that were lined up along the building in front of his shop. One of his most radical works of art is a bright orange radical chopper appropriately named 'Big Orange.' Big Orange was built around a Yamaha 650 motor, and has been Kickstand's signature bike for years. Everyone in the KC and surrounding area recognizes this bike, which draws attention everywhere it goes. Next to Big Orange sits a custom Honda 750 with extended Springer forks, a king/queen seat and a custom old school paint job with an eyeball on the tank. Next to the Honda was a custom Finley bobber sporting a Yamaha XS650 engine. If you think the iron outside is cool, wait until you check out the shop!
Walking into Hellraisers Fabrication is like entering a motorcycle museum built around a custom fabrication shop. Sitting on a lift in the middle of the shop is Kickstand's latest project, a custom 1973 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead, which he affectionately named 'Ms Karma.' This is going to be one bad-ass custom bike when it's finished. The walls of the shop are covered by so much biker history and memorabilia it's hard to focus on any one thing. Each item has a story, which Kickstand is more than happy to share if you have the time. Three of the walls are completely covered by David Mann Easyriders Magazine centerfolds and a huge metal sign that reads 'Clyde's Roadhouse.' Hellraisers Fabrication has become so well known that Jacquie Mann, David Mann's widow, even stopped by one day to check it out and share some interesting behind-the-artist stories about several of David's paintings. The other walls are covered by photos, motorcycle vests, custom motorcycle parts, and about every other type of biker paraphernalia you could imagine. Besides David Mann, Kickstand has also been influenced by the works of Billy Lane and Indian Larry and has had the privilege of working with one of Kansas City's very own custom bike builder and fabricator Frank Pedersen, the creator of the popular Frankenstein Trikes.
So when you're ready to fulfill your dreams and have your stock motorcycle transformed into a one-off custom bike stop by Hellraisers Fabrication 'Where Dreams Become Reality.'
By Mike Schweder


May 31, 2008

June 2008






Papa Clutch Customs - Sucker Punch Sally's Dealership in Ainsworth, Iowa




Papa Clutch Customs is a small-town motorcycle shop with big-time plans. Located in tiny Ainsworth, Papa Clutch is Iowa’s only dealership for Sucker Punch Sally’s factory custom old-school motorcycles with bobber and chopper styling. In fact the only other SPS dealerships in the center section of the United States are in Denver, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. According to Tim Anding who co-owns the business with his wife, Dana, the plan is to sell 30 bikes this year.

Sucker Punch Sally’s began building motorcycles in their Scottsdale, Arizona, manufacturing facility in 2002. Their aim is to produce the best stripped-down bobbers and choppers at the most reasonable prices. Two of their models, the Traditional and the 66 Bobber, received industry awards for 2007. In addition, the line now includes the Slim, the Swinger (the only model with a swing-arm frame), the Sled, and the Hot Rod. Engines from Harley-Davidson, RevTech, and S&S ranging in size from 81.6 to 100 cubic inches are available. Buyers can mix and match such options as front suspension (springer available), wheels and tires, exhaust systems, seats, handlebars, transmissions, paint, and other accessories to personalize every bike.


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Starz Custom Leather & More - Independence, Missouri


By Mike Schweder


So wadda ya do when the zipper breaks on your leather jacket or that snap at the bottom of your chaps finally gives out? Do you try fixing it yourself before giving up and trudging down to the local leather store to shell out a few hundred dollars for some new duds? If you're made out of money, that may be an option; however for those of us who aren't so lucky, or are sentimentally attached to those old leathers that have protected us for thousands of miles in the saddle and are just starting to get broken in, it's nice to know you have a better and far less expensive option. Just pick up the phone and call Betty 'Boop' Ford at Starz Custom Leathers & More in Independence, Missouri.

Over the years I've sought out Betty's expertise on numerous occasions, such as when the stitching came apart on my leather saddlebags. Naturally, this happened just a few days before getting ready to head to Sturgis, so I thought I was probably out of luck, but the stars (or rather the Starz) must have been aligned, because while talking to Betty on the phone, she reassured me it shouldn't be a problem and to run them by and she'd be happy to take a look. Not only did she get me in right away, but being a fellow biker and knowing I was in somewhat of a predicament, she fixed them right there while I waited. Now that's what I call service! That's also when I told Betty that someday I'd like to interview her for our magazine and share my experience with our readers. A few weeks ago I finally had that opportunity while dropping off my girlfriend's leather purse for Betty to repair.


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Papa Clutch Customs is a small-town motorcycle shop with big-time plans. Located in tiny Ainsworth, Papa Clutch is Iowa’s only dealership for Sucker Punch Sally’s factory custom old-school motorcycles with bobber and chopper styling. In fact the only other SPS dealerships in the center section of the United States are in Denver, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. According to Tim Anding who co-owns the business with his wife, Dana, the plan is to sell 30 bikes this year.

Sucker Punch Sally’s began building motorcycles in their Scottsdale, Arizona, manufacturing facility in 2002. Their aim is to produce the best stripped-down bobbers and choppers at the most reasonable prices. Two of their models, the Traditional and the 66 Bobber, received industry awards for 2007. In addition, the line now includes the Slim, the Swinger (the only model with a swing-arm frame), the Sled, and the Hot Rod. Engines from Harley-Davidson, RevTech, and S&S ranging in size from 81.6 to 100 cubic inches are available. Buyers can mix and match such options as front suspension (springer available), wheels and tires, exhaust systems, seats, handlebars, transmissions, paint, and other accessories to personalize every bike.

According to Tim, Sucker Punch Sally’s motorcycles are in the same price range as the major production bikes such as Harley-Davidson, but each one is custom-built from the ground up to suit the personal taste of the owner. “You’re never going to be at a stop light and see your twin pull up next to you.” Papa Clutch Customs will keep about ten SPS bikes on the showroom floor.

Also, Tim plans for the shop to produce its own line of custom-built choppers at a rate of about two or three each year. But selling motorcycles is not the only focus of this business. Customer service and motorcycle maintenance are also priorities. Papa Clutch has parts available from several after-market distributors and can quickly obtain most required parts to repair or maintain any brand of motorcycle. Kevin Rose who heads the Maintenance Department is well known and respected by area motorcyclists. The Andings love American V-twins, but they don’t belittle anyone who rides an import. The mechanics at Papa Clutch are ready and willing to service anything that rolls in on two wheels.

The store has a comfortable atmosphere, built into the freshly remodeled Ainsworth Bank. The custom bikes share showroom space with racks of motorcycle clothing and magazines. It’s the kind of place where you would expect to find good people working hard to satisfy their customers and living their dreams. And that’s exactly what you will find at Papa Clutch Customs.

So wadda ya do when the zipper breaks on your leather jacket or that snap at the bottom of your chaps finally gives out? Do you try fixing it yourself before giving up and trudging down to the local leather store to shell out a few hundred dollars for some new duds? If you're made out of money, that may be an option; however, for those of us who aren't so lucky, or are sentimentally attached to those old leathers that have protected us for thousands of miles in the saddle and are just starting to get broken in, it's nice to know you have a better and far less expensive option. Just pick up the phone and call Betty 'Boop' Ford at Starz Custom Leathers & More in Independence, Missouri.

Over the years I've sought out Betty's expertise on numerous occasions, such as when the stitching came apart on my leather saddlebags. Naturally, this happened just a few days before getting ready to head to Sturgis, so I thought I was probably out of luck, but the stars (or rather the Starz) must have been aligned, because while talking to Betty on the phone, she reassured me it shouldn't be a problem and to run them by and she'd be happy to take a look. Not only did she get me in right away, but being a fellow biker and knowing I was in somewhat of a predicament, she fixed them right there while I waited. Now that's what I call service! That's also when I told Betty that someday I'd like to interview her for our magazine and share my experience with our readers. A few weeks ago I finally had that opportunity while dropping off my girlfriend's leather purse for Betty to repair.

CC: Betty, how did you get into the leather repair business?
Betty: My husband Bob 'Soulman' Ford and I had started riding in 2000 and we needed a snap replaced on a jacket. We couldn't find anyone to fix it, and since I've sewn since high school and I knew I could do repairs myself, I started doing small repairs for our family who ride with us and realized I needed to start getting paid for this service. I customized my leathers with stars and lots of white fringe, and more and more people wanted alterations and custom work. We made up business cards and started going to every motorcycle event we could to pass them out. It took a while, but I now have many customers who have become friends, and I love what I do.

CC: How long have you been in business, and have you always worked out of your home?
Betty: I started my official business in 2002, and I now have four sewing machines and a commercial embroidery machine. I love working from home. As business picked up, we thought of getting a small shop somewhere, but I needed to have some flexibility to take care of my dad, and we like to ride whenever possible. This way I have the best of both worlds.

CC: Since you work out of your home, do you keep normal business hours?
Betty: I try to be available at my customer's convenience. I'm available days and evenings or weekends by appointment. Just give me a call and we'll arrange a time to meet.

CC: How did you come up with the name Starz Custom Leather & More?
Betty: It was easy to pick the name Starz, because my maiden name was Starr, and it just worked out great.

CC: What all services do you offer?
Betty: I do leather alterations on jackets, chaps, vests, or whatever you need done. I can do snap repairs, replace zippers, replace linings, and replace eyelets. I can make you that one-of-a-kind embroidered patch, such as a special nickname patch, and can also make patches for your club's special ride. I also make leather tank and fender bibs, all with embroidery. I've done everything from home decor in a log home in Kansas to making a leather tuxedo. If you have something that needs done, I will do my best to make it for you.

CC: What makes your business stand out in your industry?
Betty: One thing I offer my customers is to make them one individual patch, small or large, and I can make many patches. I have no quantity requirements. I strive to do my repairs as quickly as possible and I always want you to be satisfied or I'll make it right for you.

CC: Where do most of your customers come from?
Betty: Most of my customers come from word of mouth and recommendations from local leather shops.

CC: How do you keep your customers coming back?
Betty: I think doing quality work and getting things done quickly has helped. Also, most of my customers have become close friends.

CC: Do you offer any specials or promotions?
Betty: I do offer quantity discounts.

CC: What was the biggest obstacle in starting your business?
Betty: My biggest obstacle was learning to work with and stitch leather. There just weren't many resources around. Most of what I do, I taught myself.

CC: What is the biggest change in business you've seen the past few years?
Betty: I'm doing more patches and leather repair these days and less leather customization.

CC: What do you and your husband ride?
Betty: My husband Bob has a 2006 Polar White Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic and I have a 2004 Suzuki Volusia. I started riding my own in 2004 and love it. If you see a white bike with lots of white fringe and leather added to it, then it's me.

CC: Being a biker yourself, what is the biggest change you've seen in the past few years in regards to motorcycling?
Betty: I love seeing more women riding their own bikes. And I see much more acceptance for us women riders.

CC: Do you participate in bike shows or other motorcycle events?
Betty: I don't do many events anymore, because it's hard to transport my sewing machine all around, and we like to spend our weekends riding and having fun.

CC: Do you sponsor or participate in local charity rides and events?
Betty: I set up and sew at the Bikers with a Mission Ride at the City Union Mission every year. I also support Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.).

CC: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your business?
Betty: My goal is 100% customer satisfaction by offering quality service and affordable prices.

So there you have it! For all your leather repair, customization, and embroidery needs, call Betty 'Boop' Ford at (816) 796-9817 or (816) 550-4807. You can also contact her via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and make sure to check out her website at www.starzleather.com.

By Mike Schweder

Ozark Leather Shop is a family owned and operated business owned by Dave and Donna on 1503 S. 3rd St. in Ozark, Missouri. The family has owned the business since its inception in 1995. Starting out as a trade show vendor, they have morphed into a motorcyclist’s specialty shop with just about anything a motorcyclist could want apparel-wise, all under one roof.

Specializing in leather apparel, you could not ask for more bang for the buck. Excellent products with excellent service are the standard for Dave and Donna. They take great pride in being able to offer services such as custom fitting and sewing of leather apparel while you wait. Need a set of chaps adjusted to fit the little lady that is proud of her new diet results? It can be done. Dave’s motto is, “If you weigh between 50 and 450, we can put a set of chaps on you.” Jackets are stocked in men’s sizes up to 64, some up to size 68. Supersize me please! They cater to the big boys. Women’s jackets are stocked from XS-5XL, for the full-figured ladies. Vests are in stock in numerous styles and sizes for men, women and children. Chaps and jackets are also available for children. All of Ozark Leather’s jackets have removable liners, and pricing is very reasonable, usually starting under $100. Ozark Leather also carries footwear by Milwaukee Leather in large quantities, with sizes in a lot of their styles on hand. Chaps start at $59. Ozark Leather does not sell the patchwork chaps or jackets; they only sell premium grade leather. They also do not sell the split-leather products.

Ozark Leather stocks approximately 270 different patches on hand, with over 30,000 in inventory. They are factory direct, so that keeps the prices low and the quality high. Vets, if you are looking for something that no one else may seem to have, this is the shop you may want to check out. Over 95% of their patches and apparel can be viewed online, so if you are one of those people like me who like to buy stuff on the Net, this is your one-stop biker shop. Dave and Donna like to cater to lots of different types of people, from the Christian-based groups to the vets. Your average Joe or club member will feel at ease dealing with anyone at this facility. Sewing on patches is not a problem, and can be done while you wait.

Ozark Leather also carries helmets, saddle bags, vest extenders, sunglasses and goggles, carry-on baggage, gloves, wallets, etc., and the list goes on and on. One of the best things about a business like this is that they are constantly shipping out items to all over the country, so you don’t have to wait for an order to go out like you will at some outfits. Ninety-eight percent of all orders received before 3 p.m. CST, are shipped the same day. If Ozark Leather does not stock what you want, they can get it. They pride themselves on it.

Now, for all of you who are wondering why I didn’t put Dave or Donna’s last name in here, it is because they feel that if you can’t do business on a first name basis, they have no business being in business. Customer service is that serious to them. They want you to have faith in their products, their prices, and above all, their customer service. So next time you are looking for that right vest or jacket, give them a call or check them out online. They promise you, you will not find a better bargain!

By Jim Austin

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