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Women Riders Now - Motorcycling Lifestyle. Women. Men. Men Riding with Women.

Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Backroads With Betsy: Run Wild, Run Free

Samantha Morgan, Queen of the Motordome, passes away

By Betsy Huelskamp
6/18/2008

My little brother, a deputy sheriff in Lander, Wyoming, took me way back into the deserted mountains of Wyoming to look for wild horses. After many hours of searching we found just two. Surviving in these dusty, windy, barren hills, the horses are unkempt, and their mane and tails are twice the length of a tame horse. Yet the moment you see them, a feeling comes over you that they are the most beautiful things you have ever seen. There is beauty in the element of freedom that is unequalled. Wild and free is not something you see, it's something you feel. And the moment these skittishly wild horses see us, they are off and running, wanting nothing to do with us and all that loss of freedom represents.

As they are running away, their mane and tail flow in the wind behind them. The horses stop a few times to look back, but keep moving until we are a dot on their horizon. We just don't want to take our eyes off of them. We are captivated completely by their wild and free nature. That is what it was like to watch Samantha Morgan in action.  

Sam rode the "Wall of Death," which if you had ever seen her, you will never forget her.
Sam rode the "Wall of Death," which if you had ever seen her, you will never forget her.

Betsy, Samantha and her friend Goth Girl.
Betsy, Samantha and her friend Goth Girl.

In England, if you get the chance to meet the queen, it is customary to drop to one knee to pay your respect. We have no queen in America, but there was a woman I found so remarkable that she warranted that kind of respect. In the world of motorcycles and bad asses, Sam Morgan was the queen. So, long live the memory of the queen! 

Even if you had seen the amazing Rhett Rotten, or anyone else riding the wall, it wasn't the same thing as seeing Sammy girl in action.
Even if you had seen the amazing Rhett Rotten, or anyone else riding the wall, it wasn't the same thing as seeing Sammy girl in action.

Sam riding the wall.
Sam riding the wall.

Sam was just a skinny little thing; her riding style was fast and furious. As she would whip up and down the wall, she would kick her back wheel right up into the thin cable that separated your face from her bike. Her long ash blonde hair would fly through the wind as she snatched dollar bills from your outreached hands. All the while, her infectious smile shares with you how much she loved what she was doing. Sam loved to ride. She was born to ride. Every time I watched her was a privilege.
Sam riding the Wall side saddle.
Sam riding the Wall side saddle.

If that paragraph sounds familiar it is because I wrote it just over a year ago, when I wrote the story of Sam crashing on the wall. Just after that accident, Sam called me from her bed where she was recuperating from having smashed her teeth, broken her right wrist, left shoulder, and a couple of ribs. Her back, leg and knee were bruised and sore. When I asked her how many accidents she had in her career, she didn't know the total. From ground up, she had broken her ankles, foot bones, tib and fib, pelvis, numerous ribs, and her back--the latter three times, all in different places. She'd blown out a knee, broken wrist and shoulders, and smashed her face, temple and head several times. Maybe it would have been easier to ask what hadn't been hurt? To that, she replied with excitement that she'd never hurt either elbow!      

The Motordrome as viewed from above.
The Motordrome as viewed from above.

We talked about many things that day, and we even talked about death. I was about to leave the country to attempt climbing Mount Everest, and Sam and I both agreed that it wouldn't be so bad going out doing what you love to do. OK, maybe old age in your sleep would be a more peaceful way, but she explained that at the speed she is traveling, she probably wouldn't even know what hit her. We talked about living your truth, so that when your time was up, there would be no regrets. Sam didn't die riding the wall, but she did die living life to its fullest. She said she would rather die living, than live dying, and that is exactly what she did. She passed away in her Loxahatchee, Florida, home on April 24th. How she died doesn't really matter. (As of this writing, the cause is still being determined.) It was how she lived that touched us all.

In Nepal, when a person dies, the body of the dead is burned, and the remains become a part of the river. Sometimes from built up gases, a body will actually move, sit up, or its head will shoot off during the burning process. I was told that they actually perceive this as the spirit rapidly ascending into heaven, which is a special honor. I envision Sam flying through the pearly gates of heaven on an old Indian motorcycle with a smile on her face, and a crowd of old souls circling the gate with dollar bills just waiting for the finest entertainment to arrive! If anyone would have the special honor to rapidly shoot into heaven, it would be Sam. 

Beautiful doesn't begin to describe Sam. She had a light that shone from within, and a twinkle in her piercing blue eyes that lit up her tan face.
Beautiful doesn't begin to describe Sam. She had a light that shone from within, and a twinkle in her piercing blue eyes that lit up her tan face.

In a world where class is often measured directly by your bank account, I must disagree. This dusty old biker chick would refer to herself as an old circus carnie. In my opinion, she had class to spare. Anyone who watched her give her acceptance speech upon being inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame could see that. Having gold in the bank and having a heart of gold are two very different things. Sam's heart was made of gold. She was always humble and understated. 

Sam gives her acceptance speech upon being inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame in 2006.
Sam gives her acceptance speech upon being inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame in 2006.

She was also fearless -- I mean truly fearless. People think I am a fearless woman and admire me for that quality. When Sam said to me, "I'd like to teach you to ride the wall, would you be interested in learning," I was standing inside the Wall of Death gazing up at its sides, every part of my body was saying ?maybe not today." I admired Sam's unbridled courage more than any other person I have ever met, man or woman. She was a warrior in the truest sense of the word. 

Sam riding the Wall side saddle.
Sam riding the Wall side saddle.

My entire life I've had a quote on my refrigerator that says, "Warriorship is a continual journey. To be a warrior, is to learn to be genuine in every moment of your life." Perhaps even more than her balls of steel, I admired Sam for her ability to try and live her truth. What a treasure on earth her inspiration has been. I know the image of her riding wild and running free will stay with anyone who was ever lucky enough to witness it.

If you'd like to read more about Sam's life and accomplishments, visit ThrillArena.com, or revisit my March 2007 column in the archives, Crash and Learn. If you'd like to post your memories of Sam, you can so at the end of this column by posting it to the Reader's Comments section.         

Tributes to Samantha
Some of Sam's closest friends contributed to this column dedicated to Sam by providing their thoughts on this amazing woman. Click here to read comments from Sara Liberte of Garage-Girls; Goth Girl and Sasha Mullins, co-stars of Discovery Channel's "Motorcycle Women," and Jay Allen, owner of the Broke Spoke Saloon. 

Sam Morgan with Goth Girl and Sara Liberte.
Sam Morgan with Goth Girl and Sara Liberte.

To read more about Betsy, visit her Web site at BetsyHuelskamp.com.

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