#39 Chris Possum Sawyer
1939 Harley-Davidson EL
Chris “Possum” Sawyer, I was born in Cape Girardeau in 1961 and spent most the my first 27 years in Cape. We lived on a one block street on the North Side of Capaha park close to the University. At some point Capes finest in blue began to referrer to me as a “known Trouble maker with a prior” but I went on to Graduate from Southeast Missouri State in Cape and eventually I got my Masters at Washington University in St Louis. At this point a few folks referred me an “over educated hoodlum” My wife and I live in the Northeast corner of the Ozarks on the Possum Ranch and I am the Head Possum in Charge.
My 40+ year history with my 1939 EL:
At 20 I worked at the local Harley Dealership owned by Sonny and Barb Minor where I first saw my 1939 under quilts in the back room. Saved from a Chicken coup in Oran, MO in 1973 by Sonny and Barb for $500.00. With a light restoration in the mid 80’s by Sonny and his father, Ed Aka: The Old Man. It ran around town a little and ended up on display in the show room for years going from the little cinder block dealership building on Enterprise to the Mega Dealership Sonny and Barb built South of Town on Highway 55. For a longtime it was the most famous bike in the area. The first time I saw the bike was rather interesting, it was my first day working the parts counter for Minors which was a part time gig while going to Southeast Missouri State. So let’s just say I didn’t know shit about Harleys and their parts catalogs. The Old man was in the back working on a bike when the classic Big Hairy biker came in. He was looking for new lenses for his cat eye dash. I had no idea what a Cat eye dash was so I frantically started looking through the pile of catalogs in the rack. I guess he was in a hurry because he started to grumble and as this escalated as he got louder and grouchier, I thought “Shit the guy is gonna pull me over the counter and stomp me over this, what a great way to start my first day on the job” I probably weighed 130 pounds at the time. So as his voice got louder and rougher I kept frantically looking through the catalogs. Thinking “Shit Shit Shit this is gonna hurt” Well the Old man popped through the service door flipped open the correct catalog wrote down the part numbers and told the bighairy scary guy they would be in next week, Cape was at least one week from everywhere back then. Then The Old Man looked at me and said “Sawyer, you don’t know what a cat eye dash is do ya” me “No sir and thank you that was gonna hurt”we walked to the back where Ed pulled the quilts off what would eventually be my 1939 and showed me the cat eye dashfor reference. The dash is actually a 41 or newer but it is still on my bike today for obvious reasons.
I got the bike in 2015 from the person Sonny sold it to in 2013 and the transformation into a restored rider started.
A very Long story cut short, I am a home town boy on a home town bike and need to make this ride for everyone that helped me along the way even the Big Hairy Biker that was about to stomp me in 1981!!!