Mike Slate


I started riding at age 10. My father had gotten into off-road riding so I was eager to follow! Dad and Bruce Triplett converted a Kawasaki J1 85cc road bike into a trials machine. That’s what folks did in the 50’s and 60’s — took a “stripped down” street bike and adapted it to the type of competition they chose to ride! About 1970, I got a Bultaco Lobito 125. Dad and my grandfather bought it for me but they required that I hand over the cash each week from my modest paper route! Later came a Bultaco Alpina 175 — this was kind of a crossover type bike — trials and trail riding. Rob Meadows lent me my first motocross bike, a “custom” Hodaka! From there I went on to Rickman/Zundapps — Jim Foster was involved in distribution and C&L Cycles was a dealer. I also ran Hare Scrambles and my first Enduros on the Rickman! Next was a used Penton 175 Jackpiner from Barry Chodak. What a great bike! I think that’s when I developed my lifelong appreciation for I.S.D.T. riders. I competed until age 19. Then girls, waterskiing, water sports, etc. came along. That’s when the trouble started!

I did always have a street bike — the first was a Kawasaki 650 4-cylinder — then on to BMWs — all sold by Motor Sport Center. I ride BMWs on the road to this day— airheads and modern. The vintage thing came along around 2004 — friends Glen Berry, Mark Gawel and Lou Mayor were riding trials. I got a 1970 OSSA Plonker from Larry Flowers and started competing. I then got my dad’s OSSAs running again — an MAR and an SDR. Jim Foster bought a couple of OSSAs, which I also restored. In a couple of years, I wound up with six restored OSSAs in my little row house. Scott had six in his 5th floor office, Jim had 12 or more at the Harley shop, Beaver had 4 in his garage and Rob had several at his house! We asked Scott for a crappy little space in the Broom Factory — he reluctantly said yes! Three years later, we needed more space and, once again, he conceded. We love the Broom Factory.

And that’s how I became a museum curator, organizer, event planner, etc.


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