Rick Fairless is just a Good Ol' Boy

Publish Date: 
Apr 1, 2009
By Dennis Johnson

THE SCENE: STROKERS DALLAS.THE SPACE: RICK FAIRLESS' OFFICE.

Inside you'll find a Pam Anderson poster. A Troy Aikman statue. A naked picture of Janis Joplin. A Farrah Fawcett poster (yes, that poster). A couple of John Lennon pictures. A Dallas Cowboys cheerleader statue. Posters of Marilyn Monroe, Hank Williams Sr., Bettie Page and Pee Wee Herman. A bunch of pics of Fairless' custom bikes, some beer cans and a mess of other goofy stuff.

This is Strokers Dallas. Born in the mind of Fairless and launched upon the dusty Texas plains 13 years ago, Strokers is a roadside attraction and motorcycle shop-cum-beer joint that also has been Big Dog Motorcycles' dealership of the year for 1997, 1999 and again in 2002. And don't forget the tattoo parlor.

Strokers exists because Fairless willed it into being. It exists because about 15 years ago, Fairless realized that year, he was the No. 1 salesman in the country for Glidden Paint, but paint sales ain't exactly the stuff dreams are made of. He was a motorcycle man from way back, and doing bikes for a living? Now that was something he could wrap his ambitions around.

Taking a love for motorcycles and turning it into a profitable business is an act of alchemy. But Fairless, he of the tie-dyed shirts and Willie Nelson hair, is a man of ideas, hard work and a wicked Texan wit. Just look at any of the custom choppers he's done and you'll know there are some otherworldly thoughts floating around that long-haired head. He definitely had an idea about what kind of shop he wanted. He wanted a motorcycle shop and beer joint.

"My thinking was, you're going to go to a motorcycle shop when you need some parts or need some service, which is how often? Once a month? Once every couple of months? But when you've got a beer joint, people are coming every weekend," Fairless explains. "I wanted some place where bikers could come, hang out, drink beer, look at other bikes. You know, just be a gathering place for motorcycles."

What he ended up with is a motorcycling mecca, a compound that includes the dealership, the bar and grill (Strokers Icehouse) and a tattoo parlor (Strokers Ink). And if his office is a goofy mix of odd crap, his entire operation is a lot more of the same. There's the dinosaur on the roof, the clown, the life-size Blues Brothers statues, the full-size cutouts of Fairless everywhere, the heavy '60s theme, several hundred pictures of who-knows-what stuck to anything standing still, and the giant Converse/Chuck Taylor All-Stars display (Rick's signature footwear) in the apparel section.