Richard (Rick) Watts

Richard (Rick) Watts

Richard (Rick) WattsHometown/State? Our current address is Box Elder, South Dakota. Being retired, we spend quite a bit of time in Illinois and Michigan during the summer and currently winter in south Texas.

What was your first motorcycle? My first motorcycle was a Black 1940 Harley Davidson 61 knucklehead that I bought used in 1966. The suicide clutch and tank shift took a little time to master.

Current motorcycle(s)? My current motorcycle is a 2006 BMW R1200RT.

What is your all-time favorite motorcycle? I’d have to say it was my 1996 Honda CBR900RR. Although the 2001 Honda RC-51 I owned would be a close runner-up.

How long have you been riding? I started riding a 5 hp Briggs & Stratton mini-bike when I was 10 years old, so that would make it 55 years.

When did you join the MSTA? I joined the club on April 15, 1994. I signed up at T-6 Rally, Mena, AR.

How did you hear about the MSTA? I first found out about the club through an advertisement in “Rider” magazine. My friend, Fred Ziglar, and I discussed it and decided to join up. After attending quite a few regional events and a few STARs, I’ve realized that these are my kind of people and my kind of roads.

Who or what was your biggest influence in motorcycling? I grew up near Springfield, IL. Each year at State Fair time I’d make an effort to be in attendance at the Springfield Mile flat track race that would take place. The visual spectacle of all the motorcycles and riders and racing was amazing.

What are your favorite places to ride? Oh there are so many. Some of my favorites are Route 87 south of Hill City, SD and US-16a south of Keystone. The Spearfish Canyon Byway between Spearfish and Lead is also very good. Southern Missouri and the Arkansas Ozarks are fantastic and relatively close to where we stay when we’re in Illinois. I also really enjoy the roads of Northern Georgia, Western North Carolina, and East Tennessee. The easiest way to find my favorite roads is to attend the MSTA National Events.

Describe a memorable motorcycle adventure? One of my most memorable adventures was the trip Tom Treischmann, Max Hendrix, and I took to Alaska. I bought a BMW R1150GS just for that trip. We entered Alaska via the Top of the World highway (dirt road) after it had been raining for a few days. We went to Anchorage and picked up our new tires, keeping the old ones in case we needed them later on the Dalton Highway. We saw Denali, stopped in Fairbanks and met MSTA member Juan Goula for supper. The next day we headed up the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse, Prudhoe Bay. We came back via the Cassiar Highway into Washington, then through the Snake River Canyon and towards home. I registered 11,600 miles in the 18 days that I was gone. It was an excellent trip.

What is the best motorcycle advice or tip learned through the years? Some of the best advice I’ve learned through the years is to ride The Pace. A good copy can be found at:
pace_nick_ienatsch/ Also, be aware of target fixation. Look where you want to go, not at the object you are trying to avoid.

What turns you on about motorcycles
or riding? I enjoy the agility and responsiveness
of motorcycles along with the view. Flat
track and Road racing in the CCS Championship
Cup Series was also a real hoot.

What do you get out of your MSTA membership? I really enjoy the rallies as they are always held in areas of the country that have the best roads for riding, along with great scenery. Most of all, the members are a great group of people from all walks of life with one main thing in common – MOTORCYCLES. This is why quite a few years ago I decided to become a life member.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of motorcycling? I enjoy playing my guitar and singing country music and vintage rock and roll. I enjoy touring and traveling by any means to places I have not been. A cruise every once in a while is fun too, but I always eat too much.

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