The Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame is designed to recognize individuals or groups who have made a long term positive impact on the motorcycle community. The Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame recognizes the commitment and sacrifices individuals across the nation, and world, have made to protect the rights of motorcyclists. For 2012, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame will honor one Freedom Fighter and induct six into the Sturgis Hall of Fame.
Rodney Roberts – Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame
Rodney Roberts has spent countless hours fighting for motorcyclists rights since the late 1980s. In 1995, the federal helmet law was repealed, paving the way for states to repeal their individual helmet requirements. Rodney had been working in the state legislature to build relationships and educate lawmakers in preparation for the time when the federal law was repealed. In large part because of his efforts, the state of Arkansas became the first state to repeal its helmet law in 1997. But Rodney didn’t stop there – he continues to fight for motorcyclists rights in the Arkansas General Assembly any time a law impacting motorcyclists comes up.
Dave Barr may not be the person you’d picture as an avid motorcyclist, but he certainly is that. In 1981, Dave lost both of his legs in a landmine explosion while serving in Angola. Since that time, Barr has become an inspiration to people facing physical challenges as well as those who are not. He’s ridden around the world, across Russia in the dead of the Siberian winter, and to the four farthest points of Australia. He’s written books, produced documentaries, earned two Guinness World Records and established Patriot Express, a foundation that supports Fischer House in its mission to assist military servicemen and their families during hospitalization and unexpected injury or illness.
Buzz Kanter is perhaps best known as a publisher, having purchased American Iron Magazine in 1991. His company, TAM Communications, also publishes Motorcycle Bagger, American Iron Garage and RoadBike and has also published trade magazines for the motorcycle industry, American Iron Retailer and MotoSports Retailer. But Buzz’s contribution to the sport of motorcycling goes beyond what he prints and publishes. Buzz is truly an enthusiast and has a special passion for classic motorcycles and their history. Buzz road raced in the late 1970s and still competes in the MotoGiro-USA on old Ducati and Moto Guzzi singles. He participated in the inaugural Motorcycle Cannonball endurance ride in 2010 on his 1915 Harley and is currently preparing to ride in the second Cannonball on a 1929 Harley JDH.
Brian and Laura Klock
Brian and Laura Klock have impacted the motorcycling world both individually and as a couple. They own Klock Werks Kustom Cycles in Mitchell, South Dakota – a company they’ve grown to include over 350 Klock Werks Brand parts, including the award winning Flare Windshield designs. After building the only bagger to compete and win a Discovery Channel Biker Build-Off, Laura went on to pilot it at the Legendary Bonneville Salt Flats, setting her first National Land Speed Record in 2006. Since then, she’s been joined by both of her daughters, making them the first mother, daughter, daughter trio in land speed racing history to hold records at the same time. Brian made it a complete family affair setting his first record in 2011, the team’s 6th year racing on the salt flats. Brian & Laura are recognized builders and designers, working with their team at Klock Werks to build custom motorcycles and innovative parts. Most recently, Laura has co-founded “Helping With Horsepower”, a charitable organization that designs volunteer programs that empower, encourage and raise funds for worthy charities.
Ed Kretz, Jr.
A talented competitive racer in every category of motorcycle racing he competed in including road racing, TT racing, dirt track racing and short track racing. Ed was an AMA Grand National Champion in the 1950s and 1960s. Kretz was born into a motorcycling family — his father was the most popular motorcycle racer of the 1930s and ‘40s — and owned a dealership. Ed worked for his father starting at a young age, and started racing in his teens. Ed was a top finisher in races all over the country. By 1955, Ed was 5th in the United States in total points in the Expert Class for TT racing. He continued to race until the early 1960s. Even after he ended his racing career, Ed continued his involvement in motorcycling and has been a great ambassador for the sport of motorcycle racing.
Steve Piehl (J.C. Pappy Hoel Outstanding Achievement Award)
In the early 1980s, Steve Piehl was a recent college graduate working in marketing for Harley-Davidson when he was asked to develop and organize a factory-sponsored rider organization. It launched a few months later, in January 1983. In less than 30 years, that organization has become the largest riders group in the world – the Harley Owners Group (HOG) which currently has 900,000 members. Steve was the first manager of HOG and set direction for membership, local chapters and events. During the course of his career at Harley-Davidson Steve has held a variety of roles, including leadership of the company’s media relations efforts, guiding the Event Marketing team and responsibility for H-D’s racing programs. In his current role as the Motor Company’s Director of Customer Experience, he continues to build HOG by strengthening the connection between members, their dealer and the company while encouraging them to enjoy the fun and camaraderie that only motorcycling can deliver.
Ron Stratman started riding at the age of 15 and hasn’t looked back since. Ron raced for over twenty years as and amateur and professional racer, sponsored and co-sponsored races and even sponsored other racers for a number of years. Ron founded the Sturgis Harley-Davidson which resided on Main Street in Sturgis. In the 1970s, Ron and his family started selling merchandise at races around the country. Eventually, he started selling shirts at Harley-Davidson dealerships and in 1983 became one of the first Harley-Davidson official licensees. He’s an artist who has designed some of the most iconic Sturgis imagery throughout the years. People who attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally might know Ron best as “The Buffalo Man.” Ron covered a motorcycle with a full buffalo hide and rode the first Buffalo Bike down Main Street in Sturgis in 1991.
The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast is scheduled on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 9 a.m. at The Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, S.D.
Breakfast tickets are available for a $35 donation, tables of eight for $300. Tickets can be purchased through the Museum at 605-347-2001 or on line at www.sturgismuseum.com.