Hall of Fame Inductee - 2015
Bear was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1939.
His family moved to Los Angeles in late 1953. He attended UCLA on an athletic scholarship and
became a probation officer at a teen-aged juvenile forestry facility. While
you might think Sugar Bear is somehow a biker moniker, he actually got that
nickname from those juvenile delinquents.
They thought he resembled a bear on a cereal box, especially in the way
he handled himself.
was 1969 and Sugar Bear was driving in LA, when a guy on a chopper passed
him. The woman leaning on the sissy bar
on the back of that bike smiled and flashed him the “peace” sign. It was a pivotal moment for Sugar Bear who
promptly went out, bought the newly-introduced Honda 750, and started to chop
it. He had never ridden a
today he’s recognized as a pioneer, his success didn’t come without
difficulty. Sugar Bear is no stranger to
prejudice and racial marginalization.
When he first started building bikes, no black man had ever been
pictured on the cover of a motorcycle magazine.
He first appeared on a magazine cover in 1972, but at that time most of
the mainstream motorcycle media wouldn’t even show his photo. He told magazines that if they wouldn’t show
his picture, they couldn’t show his bikes.
It wasn’t until the late 1990s that Sugar Bear appeared with one of his
bikes in Easy Riders Magazine.
year in Sturgis, the “Sugar Bear Ride” is held not only to honor the man and
his legacy but also to celebrate the experience and fun of riding
choppers. The ride has served to bring
together builders and riders for a fun event during the Rally.