Why success in the motorcycle industry can't replace Sunday supper in Oklahoma

Publish Date: 
Apr 24, 2012
By Rick Fairless

Dear grandma and grandpa,

I hope y’all are doing good up there in Heaven. I know you must be really enjoying it up there. I guess that’s why they call it Heaven. I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last letter.

We are doing pretty good here in Dallas. I am still working long, hard hours, but I’m living my dream so I guess that makes it OK. You remember you told me and brother Randy a million times that the harder somebody works, the luckier they get! I sure believe that now, grandpa, and so does Randy. Ya know he’s a big-shot attorney in Houston now with his own big law firm.

Randy and I recently went to Verona, Italy, for a motorcycle show. It’s called the Motor Bike Expo and it’s one of the largest bike shows in Europe. This show drew over 120,000 people for a three-day event. Them Italians are very nice, but they don’t speak much English. They gave us a couple of awful purdy girl translators, but they weren’t much good at translating. Them Italian boys did like taking pictures with those translators in their skimpy clothes. And the food, I feel sorry for them Italian cats, all they have to eat are noodles and skinny pizza. I couldn’t find a chicken-fried steak anywhere in that country. I think I lost a few pounds.

 I still remember all them stories you used to tell me and Randy about them old Indian motorcycles you used to ride. Well, since Polaris bought Indian, they asked me to be on the Indian Motorcycle design team. I am very proud to be helping Polaris with their new Indian motorcycle. Polaris also owns Victory Motorcycles. Y’all know I have always been a Harley guy, but these dang Victorys are just flatout better motorcycles than Harleys. I ride a Victory now and I’m proud to be a Victory dealer. I’m already approved to be the Indian dealer here in Dallas. I think when I have Indian and Victory Motorcycles on my floor, I’ll have the world by the gonads. (Sorry, grandma.) I’m now working with Allstate Insurance Company, alongside Arlen Ness and Dave Perewitz to build three bikes so they can take them on tour through 2012. These bikes will go to a lot of the big motorcycle events around the country. I can’t believe that I get to work with my idols, Ness and Perewitz. These are two of the biggest names and coolest cats in our industry. The bike that me and my team built came out really swell. I call this new bike Wilma. Y’all know I always like to name my bikes after pretty women and I named this one after Wilma Flintstone. She really was a pretty hot gal (Grandpa, you know what I mean). Anyway, Wilma is built on my Pam frame which has two 4-inch tubes that make up the frame. One tube holds the gas and the other tube holds the oil. Allstate wanted me to paint it up Fairless-style — tie-dyed psychedelic. I’m pretty well known for these paint jobs and my tie-dye shirt. Oh, yeah, Grandpa, I still haven’t had a haircut yet.

 Hey Grandma, I think the next bike I build I’m gonna name it after you. I think your name, Golda, is a beautiful name and I’ll build a bike that you and Grandpa will be proud of. I sure miss your home cooking, Grandma. I would love to have your chicken fried steak, fried taters, gravy and your homemade “cat head” biscuits again. I miss the long summer days that we had with Randy and cousin Deanna. I would pay every dime I have for one more day with y’all. I’d turn the clock back and be 10 years old again, going fishin’ with Grandpa, Randy and Deanna and come home to your home-cooked supper! I miss y’all very much and I miss Sayre, Okla., too.

 Everybody is doing good here in Dallas. My beautiful wife Sue is running my office and she does a swell job. Remember when I brought her up to meet y’all there in Sayre and you wouldn’t let us sleep in the same bed because we weren’t married yet? Heck, that was in the 70s, we were still teenagers. My daughter Lena is now my marketing/PR manager and she’s really doing a great job. She helps me with our charity work, too. I’m big on supporting the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital and we have raised over $100,000 for the children there. It’s a great feeling to be able to help the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital because they help so many children, and they do it all from donations. They don’t charge the families one red cent.

 I think y’all would be proud of how your grandsons Rickey and Randy turned out. We both work hard and I know that we get that from you. Both of you worked so hard all your lives and me and Randy are continuing in your footsteps. We are very proud of our Fairless name and thank you for instilling that in us. I hope that someday we will join y’all up there in heaven, but hopefully not for a while. I still have a lot of work to do here. I feel like there is something else in the motorcycle industry I am supposed to accomplish, but I haven’t figured out what it is yet.

Your loving grandson,

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews May 2012 issue.