04/18/06 — Dream of road gets its wheels

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Dream of road gets its wheels

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on April 18, 2006 1:48 PM

Eric Parsons always dreamed of having his own motorcycle, but he never really thought he would.

That is, until he entered the Copper Chopper Sweepstakes and brought home one of 25 Big Dog Ridgeback choppers.

But just as he was about to shift his cruising dream from neutral to high gear, reality put on the brakes.

"Everyone wants to see it, but I can't even drive it yet -- I don't have a license," Parsons said.

Last year, Parsons, 31, signed up for a sweepstakes offer through the mail. He had signed up for novelty items from Marlboro, a cigarette brand, one of which was a chance to enter the Copper Chopper Sweepstakes -- a joint effort between Big Dog Motorcycles and Marlboro.

Twenty-five winners nationally would receive Big Dog Ridgeback choppers with a copper paint scheme secured by the Philip Morris USA, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, for the contest.

A few days before Christmas, Parsons said he received a certified letter informing him that he was one of the winners. In March, Parsons and friend went to pick up his new ride.

"I always had an interest in getting a bike, but I could never afford one. I have a buddy in the Christian Biker Association. We put it in the trailer and brought it back," Parsons said.

And, so, waiting in the garage is a chopper 9 feet long with an ultra fat 300 millimeter rear tire to burn up every back road in eastern North Carolina. To give the tires enough torque to make an impact on the highways is a 117 cubic-inch V-twin engine.

Parsons admits that the chopper has everything he could dream of, but he still lacks that coveted motorcycle license.

So, as the weather begins to warm, Parsons has to make the decision to either get a license or to sell the bike. If it were up to Big Dog sales representative Ward Thompson, he said he would tell Parsons to ride -- or to bring it down to Wilmington so he could see it for himself.

"All of those models have the same huge engine. Some people swear by it. They say you really get to feel the road in those things, but it's a truly awesome bike," Thompson said.

Parsons said he has toyed with the idea of taking the chopper to motorcycle shows or anywhere else where he could find people who would enjoy the machine's beauty as much as he does.

"It's unique to ride on because of the size, but you don't want to learn on it. It's not something for the long haul, but I might try to take it down to Myrtle Beach for one of the shows. Right now, I'm just dreaming," Parsons said.

Yet, every time he enters the garage, Parsons said he knows dreams come true.

"When you sign up for something like this, you think it's nothing special and that it won't happen. This is like winning the lottery," he said.