Blaine Birchfield, Trailblazer for the motorcycle industry, has called it a day. The veteran motorcycle sales and marketing executive, who has been a fixture at every rally from the Honda Hoot to Sturgis Bike Week and every distributor show from Madison to Fort Worth, has announced he is retiring.
And we guess this time he means it. Birchfield told Dealernews he will still work the Cobra exhibit at the 2009-2010 Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows, and will be at Dealer Expo in February, but just felt it was time to stop coming to an office every day.
“Motorcycles have been my whole life,” he said. He’s equipped his Harley with a new seat and windshield and is looking forward to getting out and riding more often, he noted.
Cobra Engineering, for which Birchfield has been sales manager for over a decade, announced that Garrett Kai would be joining the company’s sales and marketing team in Birchfield’s place, starting in early December.
“Blaine has been with Cobra for more than 13 years, and in the motorcycle industry for his entire working life,” noted Tim McCool, president of Cobra Engineering, in a news release issued today. “Though he has wanted to retire for some time, he waited until we found the right guy to continue his stewardship.”
Kai has spent the last nine years in PR for American Suzuki, and previously worked for Lockhart Phillips and Motorcyclist magazine.
It’s difficult to meet someone in this industry who hasn’t met Birchfield. He began his motorcycle career in the late 1950s, working in a Harley-Davidson dealership in his native Florida. He then moved on to assignments at Yamaha, Goodyear Tires, Kawasaki, Malcolm Smith and then an independent manufacturer’s rep firm called Turn One. Many enthusiasts also had a chance to talk with Birchfield, who commandeered the Cobra display at the International Motorcycle Shows from coast to coast for many years.
“He developed life-long relationships wherever he has been, and has a reputation that is second to none,” Cobra commented in the release. “Whether working at a show, or with OEMs, Blaine has always had the ear and respect of anyone that he was working with.”
Posted by Mary Slepicka