He has goal in mind

Ancram man builds custom motorcycle to help support kids’ football team


ANCRAM–Dominick Buttner’s talent is taking things apart and putting them back together.


Now he’s decided to put that talent to work by custom building a motorcycle in hopes of raising thousands of dollars so local youngsters can keep playing football.


The Taconic Hills Storm is a youth football team for kids from 8 to 12 years old. Part of the Hudson Valley Youth Football Association, the team was organized by Copake resident George Frick in January 2011 and played its first season last fall.

Fifty-two youngsters signed up. Not all of them showed up to play, but the 45 who did were split up according to age and weight to play on either the junior or senior team. A cheerleading squad of about 15 was assembled as well.


The new football team needed equipment and Mr. Frick told The Columbia Paper Tuesday that $38,000 was spent on helmets, shoulder and girdle pads, rib guards, a three-man sled, tackle and other types of dummies, hand shields, practice pants and jerseys, game uniforms–jerseys, pants and socks. The team also had to purchase insurance.


The money for start-up costs all came from donations, mostly in the form of $25 or $50 checks from private citizens, who saw the team as a positive endeavor for kids. Mr. Frick looked into grants but found out the hard way that they are not for first-year organizations.


While all the checks added up, the team still finds itself owing $16,000 for last year’s expenses. Mr. Frick estimates this year’s operating expenses will run about $5,000. While the team doesn’t immediately have to invest in anymore new equipment, it does have recondition all the helmets annually.


That’s where Mr. Buttner comes in. His girlfriend’s son, eight-year-old Robert Burns, Jr., whom Mr. Buttner refers to as his stepson, is a Storm player.

Mr. Buttner decided he could build a motorcycle as a fundraising vehicle to keep the program going.


While his day job is as a maintenance mechanic at Sonoco Crellin, a plastics injection manufacturing firm in Chatham, Mr. Buttner’s gift is working on motorcycles. For the past 10 years he has been custom building and servicing them along with all-terrain-vehicles and dirt bikes part-time under–what he hopes will someday be his full-time business name–Motivation Fabrication.


The bike he is working on “started out life as a 1972 Honda CB750,” according to Mr. Buttner, 33, of Ancram, who said it was given to him by a friend who didn’t want it anymore. Though he initially thought he would someday use it to build something for himself, he opted instead to customize it as the prize in a raffle to raise money for The Storm.


Mr. Buttner said the Honda was one of the three most popular bikes to customize back in the 1970s, along with Harley Davidson and Triumph.

The only elements that are part of the original bike are about half of the frame and the engine cases. The rest of the frame is new and modified, as are the rims, sheet metal components like the gas tanks and fenders, a new solo seat, inverted front end, upgraded modern brakes and electronics. The motor, cam and pistons are all high performance.


The bobber-style bike is short and sporty-looking, as opposed to a “chopper.” Near completion, the bike still needs a paint job, which will include the team’s colors of orange white and black, and some finishing fabrication and welding.


Mr. Buttner has worked on the bike for more than 100 hours over the past three months. He has received a couple of donations to cover his costs and some discounts on parts from sponsors, but most of the $6,100 invested in the bike so far has come out of his own pocket. Once it is finished, the bike will be worth in the neighborhood of $15,000. To drum up interest in the sale of raffle tickets Mr. Buttner plans to take the bike on the road, to display it at community days, fairs and bike shows around the region. The raffle drawing will take place September 3 at the Columbia County Fair.


The start up of The Storm youth football team, grew out of Mr. Frick’s love of coaching and his desire to teach youngsters how to play “like when I was in school,” said the 63-year-old, who makes a living selling cars in Kingston.


“We’re teaching life experience through football,” he said, adding that he was proud to see that several students listed on both the sixth grade high honor and honor rolls were among his football players.


Mr. Frick spent 10 years as coach of the Marist College football team and another year coaching the semi-pro Twin County Vikings. He and Ted Jornov led the team that had never won a game to a ranking of 16th in the nation. But when he was offered a position on the coaching staff at the University of Tennessee with Johnny Majors, who had won a national championship with the University of Pittsburgh, Mr. Frick turned down the post in favor of spending time with his family.


Though The Storm did not win a game in its first season, Mr. Frick said neither he nor the youngsters were disappointed. “If you could have seen them at the end-of-season banquet, you would have thought we had won a championship, they way they came together as a team.”


The aim is that The Storm players will grow up to play on the junior and senior varsity football teams at Taconic Hills.

“I can’t wait to see it when our kids are on that first varsity team,” said Coach Frick.


And with Mr. Buttner’s help in getting past its financial difficulties, the team will get there.


Raffle tickets for the customized motorcycle cost $10 each and can be purchased by calling Mr. Buttner at 518 929-6631, Amanda Burns at 518 965-6686 or Coach Frick at 518 329-0397. Mr. Buttner’s bike building progress can be followed on Facebook at Motivation Fabrication.


To contact Diane Valden email .



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