COACH'S CORNER: When motorcycles were king
by Mike Wright, Cadiz Record Columnist
Jul 16, 2014 | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Can you remember back to the late 1960s and all through the 1970s? Not only can I remember that far back, I can see vivid images. As a matter of fact, the sounds are forever engrained in my brain. What am I talking about? I am talking about the grand era of motorcycles in Trigg County. When I was a teen back in the day, it seemed like everybody had a motorcycle or at least a mini-bike. For those few of us that didn’t own a motorized bike, you can bet your banana seat that we had a bicycle. Speaking of bicycles, just a word or two please before I move on to today’s feature, which is the motorcycle.

Everybody in that era collected TOPPS baseball cards. If we had any duplicate cards, we would attach them to the spokes of our bicycles with a clothespin. Our intent was to make our bicycles sound like motorcycles. We also had ramps to jump off of as we imitated the bad dudes on the real motorcycles. One such ramp was at Todd Cain’s house. We would ride down the steep dirt bank at the edge of the Cains’ yard toward Wilton and Hattie Fort’s, then launch off a homemade ramp made out of concrete blocks and plywood. Through the air we went. We were the X Games before there were X Games.

Okay, enough about us Evel Knivel imposters. Now let’s get to the focus of this story, the real riders, the motorcycle guys.

During the aforementioned era, Evel Knievel was always at the center of the motorcycle universe. He performed daring and outrageous stunts such as attempting to jump the Snake River Canyon. Locally, you would find one man that was always at the center of the Trigg County motorcycle world, and that was Mr. Jesse Thomas. Jesse owned and operated Cadiz Auto Parts and doubled as the local Kawasaki dealer. Jesse and some other men from the community started the Western Kentucky Trail Riders. The following names are the names of the Trail Riders that were given to me: Jesse Thomas, Bobby Thomas, Gaylon Sumner, Andrew Thomas, Charles Thomas, Perry Noel, Dale Ezell, Arthur Dunn, Paul Stallons, Craig Perry, Winston Perry, Norman Cotton, James “Peanut” Thomas, Tony Mitchell, Frankie Phillips, Mitchell Bryant, John Ward Thomas, John Gray and Jerry Adams.

Next week, I will bring you more about the Western Kentucky Trail Riders along with several stories about the group. More names will surface as well. I look forward to seeing you then.

Enthusiasm Makes the Difference

Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to trophyland@outlook.com.

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