Are you more inclined to get to the destination or enjoy the journey?
It was Sunday and we were at the Pate Swap Meet. Pate is one of the biggest swap meets for gear heads, so big, they have to hold it in the parking lot at Texas Motor Speedway. 1500 venders deep in the heart of Texas. What we didn't know was that Saturday night most had packed up so we were bummed.
Fortunately we were there to see some of our new friends, Steve Klein and Mike Carson whom we had met at The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Austin. We were at Pate because of Steve Klein's invitation to come out and see it. If you want to see the finest vintage motorcycles they have some choice specimens from Steve's Flying Merkel to Mike's 1911 Triumph. So we visited and then set off to see what was left at Pate.
I said, "Is that a Ducati head?" Zeke said, "It's a BSA dad!" Bobby the owner chimed in "It's a Triumph" Well once again the kid beat the old man because a BSA is related to a Triumph.
We had never met Bobby before but he was still there as a vendor at Pate. He didn't pack up and leave like so many others. He stayed and because he did we met Fred.
We then started talking to Bobby Pickard about Bultaco's and then Fred walked up started haggling with Bobby about a rear Flattrack fender and since Bobby just saw a picture of Zekes bike he then showed Fred and Fred notices the NSU Fairing. Fred said "I use to road race an NSU" the moment was pure motorcycle Magic!
The next thing we know Fred is telling us about Pete Dalio , Rusty Bradley, Jack Wilson, and Pearl Dalio. We learned more about Pete in those 15 minutes than we had before. Fred said Pete use to say "You got the money Stud?" Pete Dalio owned Dalio's Triumph in Fort Worth. He would ask his customers this question "You got the money stud?" Pete hired Jack Wilson the now legendary tuner and engine builder of the Texas Ceegar. Why do we have the Triumph Bonneville still today? Yep the Texas Ceegar! Google it! Pete also funded Jack Wilson so he could open Big D in Dallas. We run into a guy who not only new Pete and Pearl but who mentored Rusty also...this journey is just amazing.
Why is this significant? For us it was huge. Pete Dalio was my wife's great uncle and Rusty Bradley's mom was my wife's Sunday school teacher. Everybody knows the greats of motorcycle history but it is the story behind the story that makes motorcycle history so rich. Thank you Bobby Pickard for not leaving early. I was waiting for Bobby to say to Fred, "You got the money stud?"
Rusty Bradley was a Texas racing phenom. Take a look at his qualifying time for the 1971 Daytona 200. Recognize those names? Rusty died after crashing in turn 1 of the Daytona 200 that year. Rusty's mom was in the stands to see her son race as an expert for the first time. When she returned home there was a draft notice for Rusty to go to Vietnam.
How many die doing what they love to do and saved from doing what they may not want to do?
Fred told us Rusty was the nicest kid. He had not only wrenched for Rusty but they traveled across the country together and Fred told us that he helped train Rusty to race. The fertilizer never gets credit for helping the flower bloom.
I called Fred the other night to tell him how much we enjoyed meeting him. He said, "These are the people that I love and I don't have anybody to talk to about them anymore." I told him, "You do now!"
Our journey continues next stop Abilene all because Zeke said to me 3 years ago. "Dad I want to learn how to build motorcycles."
Mike Carson's 1911 Triumph