Bikes & Cowboy Boots — Long Haul Paul

Long Haul Paul and his YamahaWhen the Coronavirus hit the fan, I was at Daytona Bike Week. Exactly one year later, I was back in Daytona, working the Yamaha Demo tent, sanitizing bikes between rides and keeping my masked face six feet away from everyone else. The 80th anniversary of the iconic event was certainly different this year. The enormous crowd expected for the milestone year wasn’t. It was rather quiet, the streets were not packed with bikes or traffic, the restaurants were nowhere near capacity, and everyone I spoke to or saw were following the rules or staying 10 feet away out of respect. For the first time in ten years, It didn’t even rain. I was glad to be back on the circuit again, but rusty at being on my feet for 8 days straight. Trade shows look like lots of fun on the outside, but those who work the events know differently!

Daytona wasn’t my first bike trip this year, I attended a fundraiser in Dallas the week before. It was an interesting event, a sort of motorcycle comedy show I devised to raise money for MS.

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It started with an invitation to join a loosely organized group of misfit long distance riders. Because of their desire to ride so many miles every year, they believe they must share some sort of genetic mutation. They called themselves the Defective Gene Pool. Riders get together from all over the country in Dallas each year for lunch. Some riders log 1000 miles each way just for a BBQ sandwich!

2021 was their 10th anniversary so they decided to have a big event including a dinner the evening before, and invited me to be the headliner. In addition to having me join their group, they informed me they had decided to induct me into The Defective Gene Pool Hall of Fame.Long Haul Paul and his Yamaha

The event was to be a fundraiser, collecting donations for my presentation. I had a few different presentation ideas floating in my head, but it was only after explaining to my wife what exactly I was being inducted into, did I start to devise an entertaining, if not brilliant plan.

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“Defective Gene Pool Hall of Fame? That sounds like the Oscars for Idiots.”

She wasn’t wrong. I decided I was going to decline the award. Not only would I not accept the accolades, but the plan was to show up in person to refuse and deny; pleading innocent to the charges that I possessed any such defective gene.

defective gene pool check
Long Haul Paul (middle) receiving donation to fight MS

My presentation became a mock trial, where I was the defendant, representing myself against the charges of being defective. My legal team would prove all the motorcycle rides and activities I do were perfectly normal. I had character witnesses, whistle blower testimonies, pictures and video of all the crazy stuff I have done over the years to raise money for MS. It was sort of like roasting myself, by my attorney, who was also myself! The group provided a Judge, a prosecutor and the audience was the jury, deciding my guilt or innocence. Voting was $10 -$100 depending on how guilty they thought I was. We also provided a live feed on social media for so others could watch and cast their judgment for The Trial of the Century.

It was a bit crazy, but apparently a little silliness was what everyone needed after being isolated for a year. The Defectives donated the dinner and beer, and by the time we rode to Ray’s BBQ the next day, I was found overwhelmingly guilty on all counts, but was also handed a giant check for $6500!

long haul paul T-shirt — look twiceThe motorcycle community has always been a generous group, willing to help out those in need. The Defectives must have enjoyed my presentation as they already booked me for next year. That’s a good thing, as I should be ready for my first mock parole hearing by then!

longhaulpaul.com

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