I started my moto career!
With my arm in a cast I went looking for a job as a motorcycle mechanic in Gunnison. Pretty much a perfect set up for success right? “Hi, my name is Morgan. I just graduated MMI, I don’t REALLY know much and I am handicapped by my own dumb mistake. Oh and I’ll have this cast on for at least 3 months!” Top that with the fact there are only 2 small shops in a tiny mountain town and you can pretty much guarantee a homerun. Ha, well I actually did get a job right away from Fritz at Gunnison Motorsports. He was kind enough to hire me as a flat rate mechanic. For those of you who don’t know what that means, flat rate means that I would only get paid for the hours I billed to customers, not for every hour I was there. That is the common way for a mechanic to be paid but it can be a very hard way to make a living when you are brand new to the profession and haven’t picked up your pace yet.
Now, I had been top student in my class at MMI and I pretty much thought I was awesome at everything, just like everyone who graduates from any school. I was so full of myself and thought I was going to crush it immediately. Well, that didn’t happen. I sucked! I was slow, messed things up and basically had to ask our lead mechanic everything. Fritz was frustrated and I was starving. My pay checks were tiny and my ego was deflating quickly. On top of my ineptitude, we didn’t really have enough work for 2 full time mechanics. In one of God’s grace filled moments, I got a call from the other shop in town. They wanted me to come and be their service manager. HUH?? They had lost their manager and knew I loved DIRBIKES!!! It wasn’t a great paying job and I wasn’t in love with the owner of the business but I had a house to help pay for and I needed more money so I took the job.
I rolled my tool box the approximately 200 yards up the street to Sun Sports and began my second job in the motorsports world. I settled into the position of service manager and I actually really liked it. I learned a lot and still got to turn wrenches when we got busy. I worked with some great people and we had a ton of fun. Almost everything about that job was good except a few the people I had to work with. I would love to tell stories about how terrible somethings were and make fun of people but I am going to refrain. I am no gem myself and it doesn’t do anyone any good to put people down so I’ll tell a story about my complete stupidity.
One day during the spring we were working on an old pile of junk snowmobile. Like a lot of snowmobiles it was filled with old gas and covered in snow and ice. It sat in one of our mechanics bays melting and leaking gas all day and eventually there was quite a puddle of liquid everywhere. We grabbed the floor squeegee and moved the puddle towards the door. Jokingly I said “I bet that gas is so old it won’t even light.” Between the ancient gas and the gallons of water it was mixed with there was no way it would light right?? WRONG Morgan! For some ridiculous reason I pulled a lighter out and lit it next to the puddle. It ignited directly! The shop was instantly filled with smoke and fire. I grabbed the fire extinguisher and emptied it into the conflagration and with Gods grace it was snuffed. We all looked at each other and couldn’t believe what had just happened. Then like any good human who has done something REALLY stupid I looked around to see if anyone outside our building had seen. Miraculously they hadn’t! We turned on the exhaust fan and cleaned everything as fast as we could. The boss never found out (of course now he might) and nothing was ruined. I had dodged probably the largest bullet in my life to that point. So, if you ever do or have done something really stupid, just remember, Morgan Spradling almost burned a building down while he was joking around. NICE!
Despite my accidental arson I continued working for Sun Sports and things were OK. I was riding a lot and began to go racing in the local WeBe series. I was having a blast on the bike and had graduated up to my first 2 stoke, a YZ250! Life on the bike was good but work kind a sucked. I was still friends with Fritz and one day he called and offered me a job back at his place as a front end/parts/service manager guy. I Jumped at the opportunity and rolled my tool box right back down the street to his shop. I was excited! Fritz was a real racer and his shop was where I wanted to be anyway. Now I had a more secure position with a regular paycheck. And I still got to fix things when it got busy. Life was good!
Thanks so much for reading again. Next we will explore what I believe was the true catalyst for my entrepreneurial seizure. The 2006 Baja 1000!
Hope you had a good laugh at my expense and maybe don’t feel so bad about some dumb thing you have done. Make sure you like, comment and share this thing so we can reach as many folks as possible! And don’t forget to write down your 3 things you are grateful for. Mine are:
The mountains of Colorado, Coffee and clothes to wear when its cold outside!!