Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Patti Waggin Story

Stories like this recent post on Selvedge Yard are exactly the sort of thing I find irresistible. Some of the following photos you see pasted all over the Internet but you almost never see any reference to who is actually in the photos. Too often those sorts of details are lost when the folks that were there are no longer around to spread their wealth. Who knew there was so much story behind those photos.

Patti Waggin with 1950 AMA Grand National Champion, Larry Headrick
Patti Waggin Brunell

“If there’s one word to describe shapely Patti Brownell, it’s excitement. The young lass lives by it–and for it. Into her existence, Patti packs a triple life: During the day, she’s a student at California’s Chico State College: at night she draws tremendous crowds into the cafe where she presents her whiz bang strip act: and on her off moments, Patti is a death-defying motorcyclist. As far as our luscious blue-eyed blonde is concerned, there’s nothing unusual about her life. Patti’s been winning trophies for motorcycle riding since she was 14. She loves the sport.

Patti Waggin
“Bumps are nothing new to luscious Patti–either on a motorcycle or in the strip tease profession.” Born Patricia Hardwick in 1926, she also used the stage name Patti Waggin. Her 2nd marriage was to Chico, CA local legend, Bill Brownell, a well-loved motorcycle racer."

“In 1946 Brownell moved to Chico and started Bill Brownell Indian-Cushman Motorcycle Dealership. Later he added Triumph and BSA brands to his business and finally Honda motorcycles in 1959. Bill’s love of motorcycles made him a legend in the sport. He was also an avid racer himself, winning many awards all over California. Bill was instrumental in starting Cycleland Speedway south of Chico in the ’60s when dirt track motorcycle racing was very popular. Bill Brownell also belonged to the “Booze Fighters Motorcycle Club,” whose annual gathering in Hollister, Calif., draws national attention, and which was the basis for the movie “The Wild Ones” starring Marlon Brando.

Believe it or not there's still way more to this story over at Selvedge Yard.

All-in-all this should serve as a reminder. I've had the opportunity to chat with a couple of true motorcycle legends that have literally seen and done it all. I have to make the time to capture more of their stories while they are still here to tell them or I am really going to regret it.

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