4-year-old wins award at Uncle Buck's

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2011

By Susan Shinn
For The Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — You could say that Sawyer Sifford has been riding motorcycles all his life. His vehicle recently won the Best Bike award at Uncle Buck’s Bike Night.
Sawyer enjoys hanging out with his grandfather, Steve Goodman, who rides a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic motorcycle. Sawyer himself rides a green mini-bike.
After all, he’s only 4.
“This is their time together, to come on Tuesday nights,” explains Sawyer’s mom, Crystal. She sits on a bench outside Uncle Buck’s with her husband, Randall, and mom, Lou Goodman. Sawyer’s bike is parked among all the other motorcycles, the line stretching up and down the block in front of the restaurant. There can be anywhere from 80 to 120 bikes on a given Tuesday, says Scott Howard, Uncle Buck’s owner.
More often than not, DJ Fast Freddie is there, and folks like to gather outside on benches and at picnic tables, admiring all the bikes parked nearby.
Sawyer’s bike, included.
Steve’s been a motorcycle rider from way back, since his own daughter was a baby, he says.
When asked how many bikes he’s had, he just laughs and scratches his gray beard. He’s only recently been able to afford Harleys.
“I’ve been riding him on the back of my motorcycle since he was 2 — old enough to sit up good,” Steve says of his grandson. “He cries to ride that thing. He wants to come to Uncle Buck’s. He loves Uncle Buck’s.”
Steve gave Sawyer the mini-bike for his 4th birthday, which was just a few weeks ago.
“I had to put training wheels on it so he could ride it,” he notes.
It’s got a 3-horsepower engine similar to a lawn-mower engine, and the little green machine reaches a top speed of 15 miles per hour.
“As soon as he saw it,” PaPaw Steve says, “his mouth flew wide open and he said, ‘I want to take it to Uncle Buck’s.’ ”
So Steve left his own Harley at home in China Grove and brought Sawyer’s mini-bike to Salisbury on the back of his truck.
Sawyer calls the mini-bike his first Harley, according to his mom. “When he misbehaves, he’ll straighten up when I say I’m gonna take away the Harley.”
As with any other mom, Crystal is most concerned about safety. Sawyer always wears his helmet, and he and his PaPaw only ride around China Grove — well under the posted speed limit, no doubt.
But like any other biker, Sawyer dresses the part — black T-shirt, jeans, black boots. He doesn’t have much to say in an interview. He only nods his head when he’s asked if he’s ready to ride, but his big, brown eyes take in all the action going on around him.
“He’s got all kinds of leather,” Steve says. “He’s got doo rags and boots.”
And just who bought all this paraphernalia for him?
Steve’s eyes light up behind his dark sunglasses.
“Me,” he says, a bit sheepishly.
Randall says that besides riding motorcycles, Sawyer likes to play T-ball in the backyard. Sawyer attends South Rowan Academy and will start kindergarten in another year at China Grove Elementary School.
Scott says that Sawyer is the restaurant’s youngest Best Bike winner — which suits this business owner just fine.
“We’ve always promoted Uncle Buck’s as a family place,” he says.
Bike Nights typically run from the spring ’til late October, beginning at 6 p.m. and wrapping up around 9 or 10.
“We try to be respectful of our neighbors,” Scott says. “We’ve gotten nothing but support.”
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.