#65 Mike Butts
I grew up riding on the back of my dads 1949 Harley panhead at a very young age. This was typically not just a rider and passenger like you would see nowadays, Rather, my dad would take us all to the store with 3 or 4 kids piled on the motorcycle. One kid would be in front of my dad on the seat and another behind him. I would usually sit on the front fender with another one on the luggage rack. We would certainly get the looks from passersby seeing 5 people on a motorcycle. I think the goal of those rides was at least partially to get a rise out of the neighbors.
My first motorcycle was a 1965 Yamaha 125, which I bought with my older brother Steve since working as a paper carrier didn’t provide me with enough money to buy my own. My Yamaha was clearly a street bike although it was my trail bike. I’ve been hooked and crazy about motorcycles ever since.
I worked at a local motorcycle shop for a few years during high school doing simple mechanical jobs and maintenance. I met a lot of great people and learned some invaluable mechanical skills.
My main focus in life for many years was racing motocross. I worked after school as a dishwasher and would spend all of my money on my motocross bike and going to races. I also would ride an occasional enduro, hare scrambles, or flat track. During the winters we would compete in ice racing events on an oval track one day, and then change wheels and tires and be ready for indoor flat track on a concrete floor at the Minneapolis armory, the next.
I slowed down on racing somewhat during the years I was busy in college studying mechanical engineering and subsequently medical school, although I had all three of my kids riding PW 50’s by age 3 or 4. Since owning my first bike, I’ve always been passionate about introducing friends and acquaintances to the joys of riding. I am constantly teaching and loaning out bikes for others to learn on. Its very rewarding for me to see others experience and enjoy the freedom of motorcycling as much as I do.
Now, with a little more time on my hands, I am obsessed once again now owning 50 some motorcycles of many varied ages, types and brands. I had to build another garage on my property to keep my wife happy after storing my Honda mini trail in the dining room for an entire winter.
I read about the Cannonball a few years ago while searching the internet and instantly knew that that was what I wanted to do next. My wife Linda believes that I have lost my marbles since the only thing I do other than work is obsess over cannonball stuff. I only more recently have obtained a few older machines from the 1920’s. I have 1929 Indian 101 scout and am slowly piecing together a 1929 Harley JD as well as a 1928 Harley BA. My current cannonball build is a 1927 Harley JD. My riding number is #65 for the 2018 Motorcycle Cannonball. I’m both very excited and a little apprehensive for this September with not knowing exactly what to expect.
My support crew will be my wonderfully tolerant wife Linda, my Harley panhead-riding brother Steve and his lovely and very social wife Mary