Champion with her Goodwill Award
Laura Champion grew up in rural Humboldt County in Northern California, the daughter of a biker who taught her to turn a wrench when she was just a little girl and who she started riding with at the age of three. She first planned to come to Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI)
10 years ago, but the road to fulfilling her dreams took some twists and turns, and a had a few unexpected detours.
She put off school to stay in Humboldt County to take care of family and friends, experiencing the loss of someone important in her life every year, starting at the age of 17 with her beloved father. These losses have shaped her life and love for others in a way that has contributed to some of her wisdom and loving with reckless abandon.
“Life is like a drag race, we’re all racing towards the finish at incredible speeds. But in life, the lucky ones hit a speed bump and get more time; we never know when someone we love is going to end the race early, so we need to embrace them all,” says Champion.
Now, 16 years later, after helping raise a child and caring for family members, she is graduating July 10 from the Harley-Davidson program
at MMI-Phoenix at the top of her class, and she is ready to take the motorcycle world by storm.
When summing up why she decided to come to MMI, Champion said, “I’m in love with horsepower, I’m in love with motorcycles, and I’m in love with the road.”
This defines Champion’s approach to life‒ to know your passion, follow it, throw your entire heart into it without reservation and succeed, like a champion. Her approach to life requires not only living up to the family name, but all that carrying the name Champion implies.
Champion’s friends know without a doubt that they have a champion for not only themselves, but their dreams as well, even if it means she’ll need to put her life on hold. Many of her detours have been taken to care for those in her life, putting her dreams on hold for the good of others.
When asked what success looks like, she responded, “Success looks like kindness and goodness for other people. I like to find goodness in the universe and pay it forward, preferably when no one is watching.”
But people do watch Champion, and during her time at MMI she has been a leader. She was recently awarded a Goodwill Award by her classmates. The award is given to students who are an inspiration and leader to others at the school. Her enthusiasm for life, others and motorcycles is contagious and she throws it all into everything she does. She recently completed a rebuild of a 1979 shovelhead, her first repair for a motorcycle that wasn’t her own.
“I realized then just how big a responsibility it was to be fixing motorcycles,” she said, “Every bike is going to either be carrying someone I love‒ or someone that other people love. I have to do my job well to keep people safe.”