Mark Blackwell to headline 2014 Sturgis Hall of Fame ceremony

Publish Date: 
Jul 29, 2014

STURGIS S.D. - Racing champion and Polaris veteran Mark Blackwell will serve as the emcee for the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction breakfast, honoring six new inductees to the Hall of Fame and one new Freedom Fighter.

“We’re honored to have Mark serve as our emcee for this year,” said Christine Paige Diers, executive director of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. “From V-Twins to dirt bikes and everything in between, Mark has helped shape the face of motorcycling in America for the past four decades."

In addition to being the first AMA 500cc Motocross champion, Blackwell recently helped put American-made Victory Motorcycles on the map. "He has done more to forward the cause of motorcycling in this country than many realize and he is a great addition to the breakfast," Diers said.

Sponsors for the event include Allstate Insurance, Black Hills Harley-Davidson, The Buffalo Chip, Rushmore Region Economic Development, Bikernet and Iron Trader News.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame 2014 inductees are as follows (information provided by the Hall of Fame):

  • Deb “Tiger” Chandler Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame – Chandler has been an active part of the motorcycling community for more than 40 years.  In partnership with the Colorado Confederation of Clubs (CCOC), she assumed the role of Colorado Commander of the Coalition of Independent Riders – a registry of independent riders. She has worked through the state legislature to address issues of importance to motorcyclists in Colorado, including funding for beginning rider training and alcohol interlocking devices for motorcycles. She has also been instrumental in implementing a Biker Day at the Capital in Colorado as a means of opening dialog between riders and legislators.
  • Clyde Fessler – During his 25 year career at the Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Fessler played an integral role in the turnaround of the company. He served in multiple marketing positions including director of marketing, vice president of general merchandise, vice president of motor accessories and vice president of business development. He was responsible for programs, policies, products, and marketing strategies that made Harley-Davidson one of the most recognized brands in the world.  Since his retirement in 2002, Fessler has remained active in motorcycling as a member of the Hamsters Motorcycle Club. He recently wrote a book, Rebuilding the Brand, and travels extensively as a keynote speaker.
  • Jesse Jurrens – Legend Suspensions began in 1998 when Jurrens recognized the benefits an air spring could have on motorcycles and sought to develop the technology for Harley-Davidson Softail Chassis. Gates Rubber Co., the leader in air spring technology, agreed to lend its patented Kevlar-impregnated rubber air spring technology to the South Dakota startup. Since that time, Jurrens has continued to develop innovative suspension systems. Today, Legend Suspensions manufactures Aero Air Suspension systems and Revo coil suspension systems for all Harley-Davidson models and off-road UTVs. Legend Suspensions are available worldwide. The off-road systems are used by the U.S. Military and many fire and rescue operations. Legend has gotten attention for its innovative quality products, lifetime warranty and outstanding customer service
  • Jay “Lightnin'” Bentley – From the time he was a teenager, Bentley rode in a motordrome owned by Pappy Boudreaux – first part-time and later full-time.  Early on, he rode Harley Hummers as a straight rider but soon graduated to trick riding on the wall on Indian 101 Scouts. By 1998, he took out a loan against his home to buy wood and equipment to begin building what would become the American Motor Drome wall of death. Completed in 2000, it was the first of its kind to be built in more than 50 years. For the past 14 years, the American Motor Drome has toured the country full time. Besides keeping the drome running, Bentley collects classic motorcycles and wall bikes that he displays as part of the traveling show.  
  • Keith Terry – An avid motorcyclist since he was 15, Terry’s career started in the automotive industry, after which he operated a company that promoted bicycle motocross races. In 1994 he built his first custom motorcycle, and he’s been building them ever since. Terry and his wife Fran have owned Terry Components, the largest supplier of motorcycle starter motors and battery cables in the industry for 20 years. More recently, Terry and Chris Malo started Baggster LLC, a company that manufactures custom conversion kits for Harley-Davidson applications. For the last three years, Terry has been in charge of the Buffalo Chip Challenge, working with Sturgis Brown High School students to build a custom bagger that is auctioned at the Legends Ride each year. 
  • Bonnie Truett – Truett started racing in the 1960s, and was constantly working to get more out of his drag bikes.  He started by changing the flywheels in his own Sportster, but eventually he and his partner Paul Osborn started to create and manufacture their own flywheels, frames, cams, cylinders and rods.  Bonnie continued to race until 1984, and he and Paul continued to run Truett and Osborn together until his retirement in 1997. Following his retirement from racing, Bonnie helped his son Scott, who is a four time champion in Pro Drag class in AHDRA. Truett is well known to everyone in the drag racing world as a friend, mentor and all around good guy.   
  • Paul Yaffe – For more than 20 years, Paul Yaffe has created custom motorcycles, working on as many as 12 commissioned bikes in any given year. Many a Paul Yaffe original has graced the pages of motorcycle magazines in the U.S. and abroad.  As part of his creative process, Yaffe often engineers new parts for one of his custom creations. Often those parts are in demand from others in the custom bike building world, so Yaffe created his Bagger Nation brand of custom parts and accessories for touring motorcycles. He’s also known as an advocate and fundraiser for children’s charities in Phoenix and in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 6 at The Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, S.D. Breakfast tickets are available for a $35 donation, tables of eight for $300. Tickets are available by calling the museum at 605.347.2001, or online at http://www.sturgismuseum.com/shop/hall-fame-breakfast.

From a press release