|BORN TO BE WILD: Strokers Dallas owner Rick Fairless with one of his custom creations, the Bettie bike. photography by Dan Sellers|
Rick Fairless married his wife Susan for the first time in 1979. The couple eventually split and married other people. But 20 years later, both divorced, they reconnected and remarried in 2002. “My first and last wife,” he says assuredly. It’s no surprise, then, that Fairless spent two decades selling paint before he found his true calling—again. He grew up riding MOTORCYCLES on his uncle’s East Texas ranch, but it took an ad in Easyriders magazine to inspire Fairless, then 39, to leave his position as Glidden’s no. 1 national sales rep and follow his dream of running a bike shop. In 1996, he opened Strokers Dallas (then under the name Easyriders Dallas), and now, 11 years later, the self-described “lucky chump from Texas” owns the largest custom bike maker in DFW—not to mention quite a collection of personalized rides. “Each one of those bikes, they’re like your kid,” says Fairless, a father to five children—and 15 bikes. He’s resisted franchising thus far, content at his original location on Harry Hines with his bar, Strokers Ice House, next door. But if history is any indication, a lot could change in another 10 years.