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Meet Brett
How to write about myself in a short interesting way… hmmm, seems like an easy task until one starts to really look at it, wow, there is no way to account for all the blessings... 

I have one brother, and am blessed to have parents that stuck together through thick and thin, sickness and health, Thanks Butch and Val.  Born in the Twin Cities area, and my father had inherited a family business, a nursing home, which he sold and bought Delano Sports Center, a motorcycle, snowmobile, lawn care, boats, and outboard motors dealership, which has evolved over the years.  By the time I was able to hold a can of kleen and shine and a rag I was at the shop, doing whatever I could, some of it productive, most of it not. 

I started riding motorcycles at about the age of 5, started racing at age 14 with the Dirt Track Racing Association (DTRA), running in MN and also with District 23 of the American Motorcyclists Association (AMA) all over Wisconsin.  While my brother and I raced all through school I struggled with school, being someone that learns hands-on, school was difficult for me. 

One things I still enjoy watching but no longer play is hockey,  I played from mites through high-school.  After high school I took almost a year off and worked at the shop then attending a motorcycle mechanics class in Hutchinson MN the spring of 87, graduating in 88.  While I was attending school I ran into some guys that were road racing motorcycle, at Brainerd with a group called the Central Roadracing Association (CRA).  I spent plenty of time ‘enjoying’ my youth with my school mates, partying and carrying on, attending the CRA races and an occasional DTRA event.  Making these choices led to the demise of my racing career, which I was rather bummed out about for a long time.  But in just a few years an opportunity would arise from out of nowhere.

I was still working for my father at Delano Sports Center, and he and I were attending a local meeting with Harley-Davidson called a town hall meeting.  At this meeting were most of the Harley-Davidson dealers from Minnesota and close neighbors, including the owner of St. Cloud Harley-Davidson, who at the time was also the mayor of St. Cloud if I remember correctly.  Anyway, as Sam (St. Cloud H-D owner) came into the meeting my Father (Butch) asked him, “when are you going  to sell me that dump?” to which Sam replied “TODAY!”  I was oblivious, being 24 I was still pretty green behind the ears at business stuff, Sam and Butch were scribbling stuff on a cocktail napkin and tossing it back and forth across the table during the meeting.  As we were leaving Dad looked at me and said, “I think I just bought St. Cloud Harley”, my response was,  “What are you going to do with that?”  His response… “You’re going to run it for me”… “WHAT?”  I was a clueless 24 year old punk!

And that is the story about how the Donahue family ended up with 2 Harley-Davidson Dealerships.  August 11th 1992 we took over, I remember coming in to the store in St. Cloud and seeing piles of paper and stuff everywhere, the cleaning and the work seemed overwhelming.  You know when you walk in the woods during the fall and the paths have the leaves piled up by the sides and the path itself is clear?  Well that is what the scrap paper was like behind the parts counter!  We started scooping and hauling, and then we found some checks!  They had never been cashed!  Being we found that they had received the products we sent them through for deposit, and our first profits were made!  Anyway I’ve been running Donahue Harley-Davidson Inc. since then. 

In 2005 we expanded and bought a building in the Brainerd/Baxter area and opened up an Satellite store, which Harley-Davidson refers to as an SRL (service and retail location).  So from a humble store with myself and 2 employees it’s grown to 2 locations with just over 30 employees, and I cannot describe the blessing and burden it is to have this business, and all the awesome employees I have been blessed with, and knowing that my decisions can affect their livelihood is the burden.  This business supports about 28 families!  Hard to believe that I could ever be this successful!  Another one of those things that as I look back I can see God was and is and always will be in control, even when I thought I was!   

My son Mitchell is grown and moved to Texas.  I’ve been through 2 marriages.  And for the first time in my life I am aligned with God, I have an awesome new family, including the most wonderfully supportive, loving, and beautiful wife.  Her two kids live with us, Jim and Sydney, they are great kids!  We’ve started our own racing things together.  It started with taking Jim to the local BMX track, Pine View Park BMX, here in St. Cloud.  I had taken Mitchell BMX racing a bunch of years ago, and I had purchased a bicycle back then.  Jim and I went to try it out!  Jim was hooked right away, and after a few more visits to the track his sister decided she would like to try it, and I also invited my God son along, so now we have Jim, Sydney, and Mason (my God son), and me riding BMX bikes… looks like I’ll have to find a small trailer to haul all these bikes to the track! 

I have a strange affliction, I  cannot seem to be a spectator at racing events, I have this constant urge to be on the track, and whether it is go karts, motorcycles, cars, at whatever level, I just feel the need to compete.  I hope that this affliction will help me in my new racing adventures.

Anyway, this is a VERY short bit about me, as this website progresses we will be looking at the possibility of adding a public comment or ‘blog’ section, until then send comments or suggestions to me through the contact page!

God Bless and Happy racing!
Brett

 

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