I was born in Dallas, Texas and was raised and I still live in the Dallas suburb of Irving. Me and my brother Randy (11 months younger) were raised on motorcycles. We were lucky to grow up in an Irving neighborhood with lots of other kids our age and started riding bikes at 9 years old. There were lots of woods and fields around our house back then. Before long we had a close group of about 10 of us who rode our bikes every spare second we weren’t in school. We literally grew up on those bikes.
At the ripe young age of 19, I went to work for my uncle who owned a chain of paint stores called Roach Paint. My brother Randy went off to the Army and I worked my way up the company ladder from stock boy to order puller to truck driver to manager of the Irving store. By then Randy was out of the Army and attending Texas A & M (yeah, he’s an Aggie). After I built my store up to the #1 store in the company I transferred into outside sales. I started with a new territory and within 2 years built it up to the #1 Salesman in the company. Then in 1988, along comes Glidden and buys out little Roach Paint Co. About this time Randy is attending Law school at the University of Houston.
I worked hard for Glidden and built my way up to the #1 sales rep in the country. Glidden is nation wide so that was a big deal. But you know what? I grew tired of the big company BS. No disrespect to Glidden, they are a great company, but they are a big company and I was ready for a change.
By the mid 90′s my brother Randy is a partner in a very successful law firm in Houston and I was growing tired of corporate life. I was big into customizing Harley’s by then and I noticed that Easyriders custom bike shops were starting to pop up around the country. I thought, I hope someone opens one up in Dallas so I can see and buy parts from guys like Arlen Ness and Pat Kennedy. Then I thought, why can’t that guy be me? Why can’t I open up an Easyriders Franchise in Dallas? The thought scared me. Could I really do that? Could I really leave a job that I have had for over 20 years?
I talked to my family and they all thought I should open my own paint store. I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to own my own motorcycle shop. I figured I would fill out the paper work but, didn’t think I’d be approved. I just knew that something was gonna kill my dream. I hit roadblock after roadblock but I just plowed through them. So in 1996 I opened what was then called “Easyriders Dallas”. So, I left behind the only real job that I had ever known. Glidden was very good to me, but I was very good to them. One of my proudest achievements still, is the fact that I have never missed a day of work. I worked for Glidden for 20 years and I NEVER MISSED A DAY OF WORK. That’s right all you young people. In 20 years of service to Glidden I never called in sick and in 13 years of owning this business I’m proud to say that record still stands.
So, I own Easyriders of Dallas. Now what? I wanted a place that was very different from the HD shops. I wanted my shop to reflect my personality. So I opened the store in an old building that was built in the 30′s. It’s on 2 acres of land just six miles NW of downtown Dallas. I’ve decorated the place with goofy stuff that reflects my goofy life. I even put life size dinosaurs on the roof. It’s a cool place that’s very different from any place else you have ever been. I also wanted a bar next door. It took me awhile (would you give me a liquor license?) but, I got it done. The bar is relaxed place to hang-out, play shuffle board or pool and just be you. I like it and think you will too!
In 2002 Easyriders decided to drop the franchise plan and all the stores had to come up with a new name. Since my bar was called Strokers Ice House I decided to call my shop Strokers Dallas. At first I was scared to lose the Easyriders name, I had worked hard to promote for so many years. You know, it didn’t hurt me a bit. Things are booming. We are selling lots of Big Dog and Big Bear and Victory motorcycles, building our own custom bikes and selling lots of beer and partying on the weekends. We work very hard and we love what we do!
My brother Randy now owns his own law firm in Houston and he also does very well. Susan and I have 5 kids and that is a big struggle. My bikes have appeared in most of the major magazines around the country. I was on the Easyriders Centerfold Tour that takes me all over the country. I did a Biker Build-Off for the DISCOVERY Channel and I had a TV show on the SPEED Channel. How the hell did I get here? It seems like only yesterday I was selling paint and then again it seems like another lifetime.
I am so proud and happy to be so successful in a business that I truly love. I thank y’all for the support you have given me over these many years. I will continue to work hard and please let me know if there is any thing I can ever do for you. I tell people all the time that I’m just a lucky chump from Texas! I’m just happy to be here.
Thanks for everything!
Rick Fairless – Owner