• 39°

Hot wheels: Crowd-pleasing ‘Merica’ motorcycle especially a favorite among firefighters

By Mark Wineka


SALISBURY — “Merica,” one of the more popular, custom-built and painted motorcycles in the country, might be coming to a fire station near you.

“I had to share it,” said Jay Moore, a volunteer with the Liberty Fire Department and a custom painter of motorcycles himself. “I can’t show it to all of them (all firefighters in Rowan County), but I can show it to a few.”

The motorcycle, also known as the “9 eleven” bike, is a tribute to those who lost their lives during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the Twin Towers in New York. The modified Harley-Davidson features a 32-inch wheel in front and is otherwise low-slung and tight to the road.

The elaborate custom paint job features firefighters in the back, a red-white-and-blue flag motif throughout and scenes showing the Twin Towers intact one one side of the bike and the towers in ruin on the other side.

The custom motorcycle was built by Joey Hensley, owner of Back Yard Baggers in Winston-Salem, and it was painted by Jody Goodwill of SRM Paintwerks in Elkin.

Moore works with Chris Fox at Fox Motorcycle Paint Shop at High Rock Lake. They had a bike that competed against Merica at Nationals, and Moore used that connection to bring Merica to Rowan County over the coming week.

He hopes to take it to several fire stations in coming days.

On Thursday evening, Moore especially wanted to share Merica with Director Roger McDaniel and students in the Fire and Emergency Services programs at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

Moore recently obtained his N.C. firefighter certification through the school, and now he’s enrolled in its Emergency Services Training (EMT) program.

Moore can’t say enough about what McDaniel and RCCC are doing for firefighter training in Rowan County. RCCC has the top EMT program in the state as far as students trained, and fluctuates between No. 1 and No 2 in its annual fire service training.

“This particular program doesn’t get the credit it deserves,” Moore said. “It’s the real deal. You’re going to learn how to be a fireman here.”

There’s a brotherhood among motorcycle builders and painters, just as there is a brotherhood among firefighters, Moore said.

When Merica has appeared at shows, Moore said, it’s interesting to witness how quiet people are as they walk around it, getting a closer look.

“It can draw a crowd without anybody saying anything,” Moore said.

According to Hensley’s Facebook page for Back Yard Baggers, Merica has been retired from shows and is now for sale. The asking price: $75,000.

It was introduced to the public on Sept. 10, 2015, and did well on the 2015 Geico Hot Bike Tour.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.



Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases


‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack


Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store


Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem


West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant


Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team


All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18


Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts


City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed


Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack


Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations


GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post


Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures


Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County


Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison


City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday


Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses


A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day


Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham


RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates


East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation