Erik Buell started building motorcycles in a dairy barn in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. Since 1983 he grew Buell Motorcycle Company into the only American Sportbike company, built more than one-hundred thousand Buell motorcyles, and gained a passionate following among people who ride Buells. I'm one of those fans.
In September, Danny Eslick won the 2009 American Motorcycle Association Daytona Sportbike championship riding a Buell, proving that a small American Company with only 300 employees could compete with the big motorcycle companies and win.
In October, Harley-Davidson, who bought Buell, announced it was shutting it down and discontinuing the brand.
A lesser man would have crumbled or turned bitter. Erik Buell did not. He thanked his loyal Buell riders in a video released the day of the announcement (http://www.buell.com/en_us/company/). This week, many Buell owners took a "Last Ride" to the Buell factory in East Troy, Wisonsin to bid goodbye, and Erik Buell was on hand (See the Fox news report on this ride at http://www.fox6now.com/videobeta/watch/?watch=7feec448-49b4-4fdf-9168-767c6e812f4f&src=front ).
Take a look at the loyalty his riders have for him, for the people who worked at the factory, and for the bikes themselves by reading the comments on their facebook pages - http://www.facebook.com/buell and http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1669824900&ref=nf
Erik Buell is a man who started with a dream, saw it become a reality, lose it to the current downturn, but still vows to move on in the spirit of innovation and "can do." I think this sort of determination exemplifies the American Spirit, and I hope you'll agree and feature him in an episode of The American Spirit on the CBS evening news.
So what do you think? If, like me, you think Erik Buell exemplifies The American Spirit, let the CBS Evening News know by writing them at firstname.lastname@example.org