I first threw my leg over a motorcycle in 1979 at the age of twelve. At that time I mowed the lawn for
three law students that owned several bikes. They thought it would be funny to put me on a Yamaha 175
enduro and let me ride around their fenced back yard. After I scraped all the way down one side of the fence
breaking off the brake lever and taking the skin off of my right knee, I was both terrified and exhilarated. I knew
at that moment I would own a motorcycle someday.
The next year we moved to a small town just south of Ft. Chaffee, AR. Our house was about a quarter of a mile
south of the fire break surrounding the military compound. The local kids all rode dirt bikes and had cut a hole in
the fence wide enough to drive a truck through. One local kid was selling his Suzuki DS 125 for the right price and
I had enough lawn mowing money to buy half. My father was generous enough to pick up the remainder.
There were several trails, dirt roads and gravel roads in that were seldom used inside Ft. Chaffee that we rode daily.
On occasion, the Military Police would chase us out off the military base. Being chased by Military Police definitely
makes one a better rider.
Eventually, other interests prevailed and motorcycles were dropped from my daily activity but never far from my mind.
Once the riding bug bites you are infected for life. In college, I was able to purchase a Yamaha Radian for commuting
and short rides but I only owned that bike for about a year. Marriage and graduate school meant selling the bike and
getting on with life.
In 2004, my youngest son Grant was born. He spent 145 days his first year of life in Arkansas Children?s Hospital enduring
numerous surgeries, infections, setbacks, etc?. Life had become bogged down for me. I was questioning whether or not
I could continue down this road for much longer. I needed an out, and fast! On a whim, I decided to buy a KLR 650 in 2008.
The open road and the mind clearing that riding offers helped my mentality and became my therapy that enabled me to
cope with life again. But, I wanted more. I wanted to go places and see things before I died. The struggles I had faced
with my son had actually taught me how to live again. I vowed to see as much and experience as much as possible before
I cash it all in and the KLR wasn?t cutting it. In June of 2008 I bought a 2007 ST and the rest, as they say, is history.
The purchase of the ST brought me to this forum where I have met the most important people in my life. I have been lucky
to have such a wonderful wife (Karen) that understands how important riding is to me and lets me roam the country and hang
out with you folks. Many of my ST-Owner friends are much more like family to me than acquaintances. I look forward to visiting
with many people around a campfire and the list of friends grows following every STOC event. The people are what make this
forum and riding community special, but I don?t have to tell you that.
I?m honored to be recognized as the October MOTY by my forum peers. Hopefully, I can meet new faces next year as I try
to attend events I haven?t attended before. You guys are the best!