Dragon motif chopper named best in nation
Bogalusa native Tommy Richardson hit the jackpot at the Easy Rider National Motorcycle Show in Memphis, Tenn. last week.
That’s because his sleek, dragon-themed chopper took top prize in the Radical Division, boosting him into the national spotlight as one of the premier motorcycle builders in America.
Richardson’s bike will now undoubtedly be featured in biker magazines worldwide and he hopes to capitalize on the notoriety by producing copies of his design for sale on the open market. But buyers will need deep pockets to acquire one of these gems, which Richardson says will be priced at between $34,950 to $60,000 each.
"That’s a lot less than most of these bikes go for," he said.
Richardson, who is single, was born in Bogalusa, raised in Mobile, and moved back to the Magic City in 1968. He owns and operates Tropitana Tanning Salon and Direct Broadcast Satellite on Montgomery Street.
The bike was constructed at locations Bogalusa and White Sands, Miss. and took two years to complete. Richardson said he was responsible for about 80 percent of the design and attributes the rest to Mississippian Lee McKenzie.
"I really have to thank him for all that he did," said Richardson.
The lean, green, machine features a dragon motif, complete with scales that run the length of the bike. Multiple functions, such as air shocks and ignition, are remote controlled and there are no cables or levers on the handlebars. The detailing on the gas tank is made up of an army of helmeted, medieval warriors brandishing steel armament, and four rocket-shaped nose cones top off the four carburetors.
The 127 cubic-inch Ultima power plant is capable of propelling the gleaming dream machine to speeds of about 160 miles per hour. But Richardson admitted, "I never intend to find out just how fast it really is."
From here, the bike next competes in Easy Rider shows in Dallas, Jackson, Miss., and Ohio.
Until it is finished with the various competitions, the motorcycle will never set tread on the open road. It’s too valuable to risk a ding at this point. Once the contests are over, though, Richardson will be ready to blaze off into the sunset.
"I built this bike to ride," he said, smiling broadly.