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Charley Sikes – OC Chopper and WyoTech’s Bike Build Team

Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with a manual. And what defines success for one person may be totally different from how it’s defined for another. Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper,” which aired on Monday September 19 at 9 p.m., showcased the commitment that four WyoTech students brought to the task of helping assemble a custom-designed motorcycle under the guidance of OC Chopper’s immensely talented crew.

Charley Sikes, 42, has been around the block a few times. He’s like a lot of people who continue to search for life’s elusive meaning and ask themselves questions like, “What’s my calling? What can I do and where can I go to make sense of it all?” Some may find the answer early on; others may find the answer years down the road. And there are those who may never find an answer. Sikes was fortunate. He found a number of callings in life along with WyoTech, which gave him a new direction to pursue his love for motorcycles.

Love Affair with Bikes

Sikes got the motorcycle “bug” at an early age. There was a deep passion for riding and fixing bikes that WyoTech training was able to bring out in him. Entering WyoTech’s Motorcycle Technology program in Daytona Beach, Sikes specialized in the Harley-Davidson discipline and finished his motorcycle mechanic training in the Off-Road Power concentration. He was able to draw from his past successes and figured out how to make the career-focused training work in the classroom and on WyoTech’s shop floor. In Sikes’ words, “I put in a lot of hard work and now it’s paying off.”

Staring in early June of 2010, and ending his program in June of 2011, he remains awed at the scope of knowledge and information that could be conveyed in such a short time by WyoTech’s talented and knowledgeable instructors.

“The instructors at WyoTech have a lot of leadership abilities and experience that’s transferable to the students in the classroom and on the shop floor,” said Sikes. “WyoTech provided a focused and supportive environment for me to grow my knowledge and confidence. I had no idea what the flow would be like, and there was even a moment I considered leaving the program.”

An Outlet for His Talents

“Fixing bikes is at the top my list, and fishing doesn’t follow far behind,” said Sikes. He’s a man of many talents, and his college degree has allowed him to work at a managerial level in retail. His commitment to hard work and getting the job done always seems to get the attention of those who can help move him to the next level of opportunity in life.

WyoTech’s director of education at the Daytona Beach campus thought Sikes would be a perfect fit for the WyoTech/OC Chopper custom bike build. Sikes maintained a stellar 4.0 grade point average in his program and was selected as president of WyoTech’s EagleTech Ambassadors. He also earned national technical honors. Was Sikes happy about being chosen for the project? You bet! Family members and friends all shared the joy of his good fortune.

Preparation for the Bike Build

Sikes was on the tail end of the bike’s assembly and got prepared by doing research about the bike’s build. He also conducted research on OC Chopper’s shop culture to get a feel for how the crew flows. Once he did his homework, it was just a matter of utilizing everything he learned at WyoTech.

A Desire to Give Back

“I’d like to give back a measure of what I’ve received,” Sikes revealed. “I was impressed that a lot of the same tools we used on the shop floor at WyoTech were used by OCC’s team.” Charley, as he’s called by friends, dreams of being a teacher/instructor on the education side of the motorcycle industry. Sikes feels WyoTech’s brand of training allowed him to hit the ground running when it came time to get to work.

A Lasting Impression

“I was totally impressed,” he says. “They had a tool available for everything you could imagine. And the crew at OCC gets things done.”

Sikes was also impressed with Paul Teutul, Sr. “He’s a nice guy,” Sikes said.

“We talked about the bike build and he shared some things about life. It was all an exciting experience. And it took me a little time to get used to being filmed,” Sikes admitted. “But after awhile, you got used to it and the film crew was just like family by the time the filming ended.”

When asked to summarize the experience, Sikes paused and said, “This was an experience I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”

You can click here to watch the clip on YouTube
If you missed the episode, “Gears of War”, it will air again on the Discovery Channel on
Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m.  Click here.

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