Update March 20, 2019: Bob Byerley passed away March 14, 2019 ~ RIP
Bob Byerley (Sep 4, 1941 – Mar 14, 2019) touched the lives of several generations of strangers with his paintings…
It was one of those days when a guy could just feel the good luck all around him from the minute he woke up from his nap. A day like that was absolutely perfect for the big race he had planned all summer.
The big Dodge racer was finely tuned, the weather was clear and the race track was dry and fast. He started from the pole position and ran in first place for the better part of the race but in the twenty-third lap Barney Oldfield, in the Bardol Special, passed him on the inside and took the lead.
On the last lap (just before supper), in a move race fans would later call sheer brilliance, our young friend shot around Barney on the left and flew in to take the coveted checkered flag and the World Championship of Motor Racing.
Wendell Kraft looked out of his barbershop window and said to his customer in the chair, “Bill, look across the street, sitting in front of the hardware store….do you know who that is? I had no idea he was still around! I went to see him when I was just a kid, Bill. That’s Donnie Dunbar.
Donnie “Daredevil” Dunbar, Worlds Greatest Motorcycle Daredevil. How old do you think he is now? I see the flyers on his truck says he’s appearing August 7th through 9th out at the Fairgrounds.
I remember when he was a headliner for the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He’s handing out autographed photos; it looks like he can still draw the kids. He was a hero, Bill… he was a real hero.
Every day after school, the boys would race down to Bill’s Motorcycle Repair Shop. If you were seven years old, the shop was magical. It was better than an amusement park, a zoo and a movie house all put together.
The boys would follow Bill around and ask him a million questions, “What does this do Bill, where does this go, how much would this part cost?” Their one collective dream was to someday own their own motorcycle. One afternoon in late September their dream came true.
The old Indian bike had sat around the garage for years; Bill had even forgotten where he had picked it up. For Bill, it was fall housecleaning; for the boys, it was ‘the gift’.
Browse more artwork from Bob Byerley at his website: www.byerleyart.com