Ride & Leather’s Epic Journey: A Triumph in Marion’s History

In the heart of Downtown Marion, where history whispers through the streets, an entrepreneur’s journey unfolds, leaving an indelible mark on the community. This is the story of Pat Mitchell and his venture, Ride & Leather, a tale of resilience, innovation, and a deep commitment to preserving the essence of Indiana’s motorcycle heritage.

The Ride Begins: From Moccasins to Motorcycle Seats

Pat Mitchell’s journey commenced in downtown Marion, a town with a rich history and a vibrant community spirit. It all began in a small corner at Jerry’s Leather Shop, where Mitchell initially crafted moccasins. However, fate had a different plan when a customer, in search of comfort for their motorcycle rides, asked him to create a sheepskin motorcycle seat cover. This simple request marked the inception of Mitchell’s foray into the world of motorcycle seat comfort.

Outgrowing the confines of Jerry’s Leather Shop, Mitchell moved to Jonesboro, IN, expanding his operations and impact. Yet, the allure of Downtown Marion lingered, and in 2015, a natural evolution occurred as Ride & Leather set up its storefront at 314 S. Washington St., Marion.

Challenges and Triumphs: The Move to Marion

The decision to move was not a casual one. Intricate negotiations, involving attorneys from China, shaped the trajectory of Mitchell’s venture. Three months of intense deliberation led to a victorious outcome, with Mitchell emerging triumphant.

The Marion building, however, was not a blank canvas. Filled with assorted items and in need of substantial renovation, it posed unique challenges. Undaunted, Mitchell perceived the potential within its walls. For him, the hurdles were a small price to pay for securing his future and establishing a space of his own.

Revving Up the Community: Jonesboro River Rally and Hog Daze

Mitchell’s impact extended beyond Ride & Leather. In 2005, he initiated the Jonesboro River Rally, which grew to become the largest motorcycle rally in the state of Indiana. His quest for stories led him to discover the “Home of the Hog” tale, inspiring the creation of the Hog Daze Motorcycle Rally in 2010, which became a vibrant celebration of Marion’s rich motorcycle heritage.

Legacy in the Making: The Indiana Motorcycle Preservation Society (IMPS)

In 2020, Mitchell assumed the role of Board President for the Indiana Motorcycle Preservation Society (IMPS). As Mitchell’s reputation flourished, so did his curiosity and inventiveness. But what set him apart was his foresight. Even before a diagnosis that hinted at life’s brevity, he had been preparing for this juncture. Mitchell envisioned the continuance of his family, his work, and these stories.

The vision for the building is ambitious but it isn’t new — a motorcycle museum, restoration shop, retail space, business rentals, and living spaces – were all a part of Mitchell’s vision. Plans that echo Mitchell’s dream of a vibrant motorcycle community.

Call for Support

The board, acknowledging the historical significance of 314 S Washington St., accepted Carmen Mitchell’s generous gift on January 31, 2024. Immediate priorities are essential repairs to ensure the building’s structural integrity for generations to come. IMPS invites the community to be a part of this monumental project. Donations can be made online through PayPal or to our endowment through the Community Foundation of Grant County.

Help Us Out

As a historical society, we also focus on research. Do you have a story to share about motorcycling or motorcycle racing in Indiana? We are collecting motorcycle photos, memorabilia, and stories throughout the state of Indiana to share on our website, social media, and annual event. Email indianamps@outlook.com, or call (765) 268-0535.

Thank You!

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