Readers and their Rides

Chester Cook and His '91 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic

Written by  May 31, 2005

I have known Chester for a little over three years. He has a legacy of drag racing and has been riding almost his entire life. He works very hard and motorcycling is his outlet. He is a great friend and always has a story to tell.

Chester used to work at the local KCIR drag strip, and ran the track for the Wednesday night bike nights. Guys like Ray Worth, Wobblin Wally, Ted Kassner, Don Burlington, Gary McRenolds, Larry James and Hal Cornell all raced. He even had the honor of starting the 1975 bike drags for Steve Hatfield of Hatfield High Wheelers.

One of Chester most memorable drag racing experiences was when he got to start a drag race for Marion Owens, Granddaddy Joe Smith, Mike Bruso and Terry Vance. The Wednesday night before the race, Mike Bruso was betting that he could ride anyone’s bike faster than they could and win! The local TV stations got a hold of this and came out that Thursday to televise the event. Terry Vance of Vance & Hines and Mike Bruso were doing awesome burnouts and that was all caught on video. I wish I could have been there!

CC: Chester, what is your occupation?
Chester: I’m an elevator man.

CC: Do you have any hobbies other than motorcycling?
Chester: Primarily drag racing—all types.

CC: Why do you ride?
Chester: For relaxation and chilling with my friends.

CC: How long have you been riding?
Chester: Since I was 12 years old.

CC: What was your first bike?
Chester: My first bike was a Gemini 80.

CC: How many bikes have you owned?
Chester: Five. The Gemini 80, a Suzuki 90, a '72 H2 Kawasaki, a '80 Wide Glide and my '91 Ultra Classic

CC: How many bikes do you currently own?
Chester: Just the Ultra Classic.

CC: What do you like most about your Ultra Classic?
Chester: It is a very comfortable ride and I love having music when I ride.

CC: What is your dream bike?
Chester: Having Orange County Choppers build me one. For obvious reasons.

CC: What would you say is your most memorable riding experience?
Chester: Going to Table Rock, Missouri with six of my riding buddies. The roads in southern Missouri and Arkansas are made for riding.

CC: What is your least memorable riding experience?
Chester: Riding home from work in Pleasant Hill and getting caught in a severe thunderstorm.

CC: Which is your favorite bike night location?
Chester: It was the Midway Bar before it closed down. All of the people were nice and laid back.

CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?
Chester: I like both. Usually I ride after work and can’t find anyone to ride with.

CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?
Chester: John Osowski, Haven Simpson, John Payne, Gregg McDermott, Big Jim Green & John Frayla.

CC: Just for fun, which or your riding buddies is the best rider?
Chester: All of my buddies ride exceptionally well, but David Miller seems to work circles around us with his rice rocket.

CC: Just for fun, which of your riding buddies is the worst rider?
Chester: I can’t compare yet summer is not over.

CC: Thanks for taking the time to visit, Chester, and I look forward to doing lots of riding with you this year.

Interview and photos by Dave Miller