Dallas Man Celebrates 74 Years of Motorcycle Riding
Maurice Stovall's birthday invitation says he's a "Premium Quality Vintage Dude." On September 10 he turns 90, but according to family members he's almost always ready to celebrate. If you peek into his home you'll see the life-sized skeleton "Bones" sitting on his prize motorcycle. Bones is already wearing a party hat, and his grin is as big as Maurice's.
The career military man served as a Communications Expert in the Air Force for 20 years. He's been all over the world stopping places like France, Germany, England and Korea. In many of those places he rode motorcycles. Whenever he could he rode a Harley-Davidson.
Best Motorcycle Story
Maurice started riding when he was 16 on an Indian Scout. He and two friends rode motorcycles to their California high school.
"Our high school was having a track meet with runners on a dirt track," he remembered, "We got to school an hour earlier than normal and that track looked awfully inviting."
It was back when tracks weren't covered in synthetic surfaces, they were made of dirt. In preparation for the track meet, school officials had carefully measured off and marked lines in that dirt using white lime. It's a painstaking process that results in pristine lanes that gleamed in the early morning light. It was more than three teenage boys could resist.
"We spent about an hour going around that dirt track," said Maurice. "If there were any way coach could have killed us and gotten away with it he would have. It was the best dirt track ever."
The school had to postpone the track meet, and Maurice said it was a good thing the boys graduated that year. Coach only had a few months to make their lives miserable, so it was worth it.
Why There's a Motorcycle In His Living Room
Maurice and his wife made seven trips to Sturgis, South Dakota for the annual motorcycle rally that's world-famous. One year when they went their motorcycle broke down on the way. It was back when some engines still ran on leaded fuel.
"I was riding an early model Sportster that wasn't set up for unleaded gasoline. Someone had converted it and they screwed up," Maurice remembered. "My wife and I broke down just outside of town. So we took everything off the bike and went to Sturgis in a car."
They weren't going to miss the event, and while they were there, they bought a single raffle ticket for $5. It was the first year Harley-Davidson was offering the FXSTS Springer Softail.
H-D was celebrating its 85th anniversary with this unique model that had special paint and badges. The motorcycle manufacturer only produced a limited number, and every one sold before they left the factory. It was Maurice's dream bike, and the only item he bought a ticket for that year.
When they headed home the phone rang, and his wife started screaming. They went back to pick up the bike, and he's put over 100,000 miles on it since.
Motorcycles and Family
Maurice taught all his children to ride, and when the youngest left home his wife said, "If you can teach all those kids how to ride, you can teach me." She learned in her late 50's. She was a tiny woman her daughter described as weighing 95 pounds soaking wet.
Maurice is a 25-year Harley Owner's Group (H.O.G.) group member, and every year when their rally handbook came out, Maurice and his wife sat down to plan their trips. In addition to their seven trips to Sturgis, the couple made three trips to Daytona, visited the Harley museum in Milwaukee and traveled on bikes all over the U.S.
On When He'll Stop Riding
Stovall was in London the week after Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, and his daughter points out since the Queen is 92, Maurice is only a few years behind. His prize Springer Softail is permanently mounted so Bones is the only one who gets to ride, but Maurice hasn't given up on the idea. He's currently has his eye on this trike at Harley-Davidson of Dallas.
"He's just the coolest person that I've ever met," his daughter says. "One of those people that if you're in the trenches, he's somebody you would want on your side." He lives every moment to the fullest and inspires others to do the same.