#117 Shannon Heling
1924 Harley-Davidson J
As a kid, I always loved figuring out how things worked. I would take anything electrical or mechanical apart to try to fix it or repurpose the components. At 9 years old, my parents bought me my first mini bike for Christmas, which I nicknamed my Harley. When I was 11, I remember shopping with my Mom at a local department store. That day, she bought me my very first Harley t-shirt & I was so proud to wear it. I spent most of my youth riding around on the trails in the backwoods of Shawano, Wisconsin where I grew up. By 14, I had acquired a fleet of 7 different bikes that I paid for by washing dishes at a local restaurant.
Growing up, I was far from a model student & preferred being in the garage to being in school. In 1989, at 15 years old, the school guidance counselor offered me an opportunity to earn school credits working at the local Harley shop, Doc’s Harley-Davidson. After a few weeks on the job, Steve “Doc” Hopkins offered me the opportunity to work not just for school credit, but for a wage as well. It was a dream come true to be paid to immerse myself in my passion of working on not just any motorcycles, but Harley-Davidson motorcycles. At 16, I built my first Harley, an Ironhead Sportster, from used parts I bought from Doc. One of the major turning points in my youth was Doc giving me the opportunity to attend Harley school in Milwaukee at 16 years old. It was the first time in my life that I enjoyed attending school.
In 1998, Doc’s daughter Kersten & I started dating. I knew dating the bosses daughter had it’s risks, but I couldn’t imagine a more perfect match of a person to share my life with. We were married in 2004 & have 3 boys, Ethan (11), Aksel (8), & Aidan (3). Our shared history & deep understanding of each other makes us a great team in balancing the co-managing of Doc’s Harley-Davidson & our home life.
I had my first experience with the Cannonball in 2016 when Kersten & I helped crew for Doc & Dawn. In 2018, I proudly supported Kersten (#53) & her Dad (#52) while they both successfully completed the Cannonball with perfect scores. I couldn’t be more excited to ride the 1924 H-D in the 2021 Cannonball. Over the years, Doc has been an inspirational mentor to me. Riding alongside with my wife, Doc & Therese will definitely be an experience of a lifetime.
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