Builder Spotlight - Rich Gibson

Builder Spotlight - Rich Gibson

We thought it would be fun to ask our builders to answer some questions so we can get to know them a bit better. Below you will find their un-edited responses & some photos that represent them and their work/life.. Show these folks some love!! Say hello when you see them in the crowd at the Show!

Name: Rich Gibson

Name Of Shop/Business/Nickname (If you don't have one, type NONE): None. Retired. Twice.

Instagram : IDK, I’m an old fart. Ask me about dial phones.

Website Address (Type NONE if you don't have one: None. Expired.

Email Address:

What's your daily rider? And Why? Any mods you have planned for it in-the future?
2000 HD DYNA WIDEGLIDE. Why? Because it’s dependable; most of the time.

What bikes do you currently own?

Favorite part you have ever used, fabricated or bought?

Best Track you have ever Raced on? Why?
WESTCHESTER PIKE, Delaware County, PA, from 69th st in Philly to Newtown Square. Cops would chase us all over, including the “infamous” Fran Henry on his Aerial Square Four. We usually (but not always) managed to “outsmart” them.

Podcast Suggestions? What are you listening to these days?
PODCAST??? WTF is that? I’m an old fart, older than dirt. Ask me about dial telephones or party lines.

Is there anything you are working on currently that you're excited about?  Does not have to be a motorcycle.  House project? Jumps in the backyard for the kid? TreeHouse? Custom Chopper? Custom Meat Smoker?
Well, I’m looking forward to shaking out this Black Shadow this summer. It’s been stored in a shed in the Pennsylvania mountains without any attention for the past 30 years. I might become very friendly with Hagerty’s bike recovery service this summer. Other than that, I just recently “found” a 5 trumpet diesel locomotive horn I have temporarily hooked up to my 5 horse air compressor. Talk about annoying the neighbors! If I get bored, I sometimes mix up a little oxygen and acetylene from my torch into a gallon milk jug and light it off. Life’s a blast.

Best Experience at a motorcycle event? Which Event? (Please don't feel like you have to say MT/FOF. This is not about that!)
Well, it’s kind of a toss-up between the Cabbage Patch Bar & Campground down near Daytona, the Buffalo Chip Campground in Sturgis, and Patpong St in Bangkok. If you haven’t been to these places, you just wouldn’t understand.

Rank your TOP Motorcycle activities. Street? Bar-Hopping? Flat Track Racing? Single Track? FMX? Ice Racing? Looking cool in front of the ladies and or gentleman? (Choices not limited to these suggestions)
Bar-hopping, where we would do one beer (two if we were really depressed) at every bar we came to used to be one of my favorite biking activities.This can be a really dangerous activity in Wisconsin. Of course, looking cool (doing burn-outs, popping wheelies, etc) in front of the ladies is always important. I mean; just because it’s a bad idea, don’t mean it won’t be fun.

What is your earliest memory related to motorcycles? Or what was your first moto/mini bike? Do you still have it?
My Dad had a disassembled Henderson in our basement. I used to play with the various parts & pieces when I was a kid, pretending I riding a motorcycle. I bought my first bike when I was 14, a 1949 Harley 2 stroke. There were many vacant fields in our neighborhood at that time and I used to tear them up, rain or shine. Fell countless times, no helmet, goggles or any safety stuff. I wasn’t allowed to ride it on the street, but that only applied if my parents were around. Wish I still had it, but I traded off for something, a case of beer maybe.

Is there any questions we have not asked yet that you have been dying to answer??  Now is your time to shine.  Let us have it. 
What have I done with my life? Graduated HS, got a job as a civilian ship fitter for the U.S. Navy in Philadelphia, joined the Army, 101st Airborne Division, 1 year in Vietnam, got out of the Army, learned to fly, moved to Rockford, IL, and started a business flying emergency cargo and medical evacuations, met my wife while flying & skydiving in East Troy, WI. We started a business “blowing stuff up” at airshows all over the world. We set several Guinness World Records, we were featured on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, IMAX, NY Times. We’ve received many industry awards, and been forced to drink our customers beer when the job was done. Life is good. We’ve had a BLAST! 🧨🧨💥💥🍻🍻

Best Motorcycle Crash? Good or Bad? Still riding afterwards?
I think it started out as a “one beer” ride from Rockford, IL out to New Diggins, WI. Got to New Diggins OK, “socialized” for an hour or so, then decided to head over to Council Hill Station for some more fun. Leaving Council Hill, I got a little too enthusiastic with the throttle, the road had been freshly oiled & graveled, so on about the second curve I slid off the road, “went over the top”, my Dyna Wideglide landed on top of me. Blew the wind out of me, but didn’t hurt tooooo bad. A friendly motorist stopped and helped me get the bike up the embankment. It wasn’t damaged at all, started right up, but I’m starting to hurt. It’s almost 80 miles back to my home in Rockford. It got dark, and cold, and now I’m really hurting. I finally get home, take two aspirins and go to bed. My wife comes home, takes one look at me and drags me off to the hospital. Multiple MRI’s & X-rays later I’m diagnosed with a crushed shoulder, a broken clavicle & two broken ribs, and a bill for $17,000. Best motorcycle accident ever.

How did you get started fabricating/painting/building/collecting?
I think the “mechanical” gene runs in my family. My father was a Mechanical Engineer, my grandfathers, on both sides, were Mechanical Engineers. I’ve always loved taking things apart and putting them back together. Tinker Toys and Erector Sets (before Fax machines even) were my favorite toys.

If you could invite a Builder/Bike to Mama Tried, who would that be?
Glenn Bewley, Classic Motorcycle Engineering

What other stuff influences you? Books, architecture, cooking, painting, hot rods, movies, etc?
Old airplanes, cars, hot rods, and stuff that blows up.

If you could travel to any country, where would you go and why? (This could be a place you’ve already been)
Nepal, I’ve been three times. I’ve always been attracted to mountains. Trekking in the Himalaya mountains is an unbelievable experience.

If you had 6 months where you didn’t have to worry about financial, professional or personal obligations, what would you want to do with that time?
Go to some of the most remote, unvisited, unspoiled corners of the world.

Favorite book that comes to mind?
Lonesome Dove

If you had an unlimited budget, what bike would you buy/build?

What's your most memorable road trip and why? And what’s an item you always bring?
Upon graduating HS, me and two other friends took off from Philly to explore the US in an old broken down 1950 flathead Ford. We hit most every state except for New England. The Ford boiled from the day we left Philly. We drove until it seized up, let it cool down, refill the radiator and repeat again. To save money, we got drain oil from gas stations. We did this for three months that summer, and the Ford hauled us all the way. Three 18 year old guys turned loose to go anywhere they wanted for a whole summer made for one hell of a road trip. At that time, we always brought beer. Now it’s Scotch.

Favorite Restaurant? Why?
Ronny’s Place, Aguirre, Costa Rica. It’s a slice of Heaven. And the beer’s cold.

Favorite sandwich?
GENUINE Philly cheesesteaks, from Philly.

Any Brand Loyalty when it comes to motorcycles? Or do you operate ur collection like a Swiss Army Knife? Please Explain.
I prefer Harley’s. I like the sound, I like the torque, I like the styling, I like the people that ride them. I like the respect that Harley riders get.

3 favorite bands (off the top of your head)?
Foreigner, Mama’s & Papa’s, America

Anyone to Thank, give props, talk shit  or say hello to?
I want to thank the organizers of Mama Tried for inviting an unknown Old Fart with an unrestored vintage bike to such a prestigious event.