Thursday, July 4, 2013

Born Free 5 Panswinger : Thanks

Starting out, I wanted to build a bike all by myself with little help, but the truth and reality is I could have never gotten this bike done in time for the Born Free show without the help of so many people. The help was amazing and was my favorite part of this whole experience; all these people are not just acquaintances or business contacts, but true friends of mine who I've known for years or spent a lot of time with just hanging out. I never had to deal with anybody I didn't know on a personal basis and it makes me feel blessed to have such good friends, family and talented individuals surrounding me. My wife Suzy has always supported me and the shop and has also contributed much help over the years. She has the ability to tell me when something looks like shit and has clever ideas on what will look good.  Suzy did very well putting up with all my shop overtime and lack of family time, house or yard work. We have new couches still in the packaging sitting in our living room since January and weeds in our yard that or over eight feet high...not exaggerating. Much love for my wife and kids and we can't wait to get back to normal next week. Thanks to my mother Cindy for her continuing support and always pushing me to do things my way without compromise for others. My father Rick, my best friend and co-worker ever, always saves me from making mistakes and has the finishing eye for details. Johnny Ray Rodrigues of Rodrigues Chrome, long time friend since high school, spent hours helping in the shop, did all the metal polishing and chrome plating at his own mom and pops shop working with his father. Another fact about this build that I loved was nothing got outsourced, everything was done by fairly close and local small businesses in northern California. Gabe Kajimura of After Hours Choppers, my friend who spent overnights in the shop, has the ability to get around anyone's shop without help and was totally capable of getting in my head to figure out what my bike was all about. Gabe took on plenty of parts projects for me and saved me a lot of time. Ryan Mathews, my neighbor and yep, another friend, who taught me about sand casting (although I still don't know how to do it?) He casts toy figurines and more recently motorcycle parts and although a lot of friends helped on the cast projects, only Ryan knew what he was doing and lead the projects for the oil tank and air filter. Ryan was also only a phone call away anytime I needed a hand in the shop. Russell McConnell "Chopper Russ", was lots of help in the shop and had the answer for a few problems while the rest of us were pondering how to fix something. Thanks to JR of J&W Powder Coating for a quick turn around and next level powder and ceramic coating. Tim Keeney, my neighbor and another good friend, was also just a phone call away anytime I needed help and talked me into some good ideas. Thanks also to Garry Copeland for motor work and continued education, longtime friend Leo Porcayo and his side kick Neesh, for handling the paint and doing a killer job, (I loved the fact that he knew what the project was and could bring the sheet metal back when we needed it for more work) Kellie of Kandystripes for coming down to the shop and putting the final touches on the paint and Ian "Walker" Heard for shop help and always providing a good laugh. Ian ensured a good time at the show and I'm so glad he was there. Also a big thank you to Erron "Tito" Wilkison for vintage light supplies- he put a h4 bulb behind a vintage headlight glass for me, Jeremy "Mr Churchill" for shop work, Cool Customs for covering my seat in leather, Lil Mike for parts, John Barry for the magneto, Marc & Jennifer of Clutch Monkey for all their talent and time spent making such a memorable video and Pat Edwards for feeding me and handling travel arrangements. Pat is a good friend of mine who came all the way out from Colorado to be there for the show and it was great having him there. A lot of my friends and family gave up their free time or took time off to help in the shop and/or be at the show and it meant a great deal to me to have such caring and supportive people by my side.  I count myself fortunate to be surrounded by such good people and this experience has shown me that win or lose, I will still have those individuals in my life and I realize now how blessed I am. Last but not least, a big thanks goes to our customers for putting up with the shop being closed 90% of the time and still managing to support us financially and of course, Tim and Mike of Showclass Magazine and Grant and Mike of the Born Free Show, without which I wouldn't have had this amazing opportunity in the first place. Thanks to you all!!