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Man gets first handicapped motorcycle

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By Calen McKinney

He used to help keep us on time. Now he spends his time promoting wheelchair accessible motorcycles.

Former Campbellsville resident Larry Curry moved to Dyersburg, Tenn. about 10 years ago. Before that, he had owned and operated Campbellsville Watch Repair downtown for about 20 years.

When Fruit of the Loom closed its doors in 1998, Curry said, his business suffered greatly. He eventually had to close his doors, too.

"Ninety percent of my customers were from Fruit of the Loom," he said.

Curry, 53, who is confined to a wheelchair, currently works for a watch repair company in Dyersburg and also spends his time promoting a new wheelchair accessible Boss Hoss motorcycle.

As a Boss Hoss representative, Curry will travel with other Boss Hoss representatives to various shows around the country to demonstrate and show off his handicapped accessible trike, which he says is the first of its kind.

The trike features a small truck bed, Curry said, into which a rider can roll their wheelchair. A lift then raises the wheelchair and rider, Curry said, and the rider moves to the driver's position on the motorcycle.

A lid on the truck bed then closes, he said, hiding the wheelchair. The wheelchair does not have to be folded or disassembled in any way.

"It's all enclosed, so you don't see it," he said.

Curry's trike is a black cherry color, he said, with flames.

His involvement with Boss Hoss began when a friend, who lives in Clarksville, Tenn. and is also confined to a wheelchair, built a motorcycle for himself.

Curry said he had never really been interested in motorcycles until he saw the one his friend built.

"I hadn't given it much thought," he said.

He said he talked to a man who helped his friend build the motorcycle, the founder and president of Boss Hoss Cycles Inc., Monte Warne.

According to the Boss Hoss Web site, www.bosshoss.net, the company was established in 1990 when Warne created his first Chevy V-8 powered motorcycle.

Warne, a commercial aircraft pilot and degreed aviation airframe and power plant technician, was the first to design a V-8 powered motorcycle that has a traditional cruiser motorcycle style, look and feel.

Curry said Warne asked him if he wanted a handicapped accessible trike. He told him he did, and Warne went to work building one.

Boss Hoss operates a factory in Dyersburg, Curry said, and about five months later, his motorcycle was ready.

Warne said his company has received several inquiries about the possibility of making motorcycles for those who are confined to a wheelchair because of a disability or for those who rode a motorcycle and suffered injuries in an accident and can no longer ride. He said he got to know Curry and asked him to help the company promote its new prototype.

"We gave him the keys and said, 'Go promote,'" Warne said. "He's got the best of both worlds, [he gets] a little freedom without the cost."

Warne said he hopes to begin producing the trikes in the next two to three months for others who are confined to a wheelchair but want to get out and ride a motorcycle.

All of the trike's controls are hand-operable to accommodate individuals who do not have use of their legs.

The cost of the trike, Warne said, has not yet been determined but will likely be at least $5,000 more than Boss Hoss' other bikes.

The trike is pretty intricate, he said, with a remote control and lift feature. Those details add a bit more mechanics to building the trike.

Curry's post as a Boss Hoss representative has already begun with a show in Daytona, Fla., where the Boss Hoss' handicapped accessible trike debuted.

Warne said Daytona Bike Week, Feb. 29-March 8, was the first time the Boss Hoss Advantage Trike was unveiled to the public.

Warne said his company has already received a few dozen e-mails from those wanting to know about and purchase the trike.

Curry said he spent eight days in Daytona and used the trike as his main transportation. He said several people who attend the show in Daytona showed interest in the trike.

Boss Hoss is currently making a few modifications to the trike, however, so he currently can't use it.

As soon as the trike is finished and the weather improves, Curry said he will be spending much more time on it.

"Now that I have it, it sure is a lot of fun," he said.

- Staff Writer Calen McKinney can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 235 or by e-mail at reporter@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.