Death Of Bill “Sputnik” Strain, One Of The Greatest Motorcycle Rights Activists.

“The Texas Motorcycle Rights Association is sad to announce that our great Leader, Sputnik, passed away suddenly at approximately 5:00 AM this morning. I woke up at 5:45AM to find him on the living floor at the state office. It appeared that he crossed over quickly and did not suffer, from a massive heart attack. I can not begin to even put into words how devastating the loss is to the biker community, to his family, and to us who live with him at the state office, for all TMRA2, and to all of his brothers and sisters who loved him dearly.

Sputnik will go down history as the greatest Motorcycle Rights Activist in the History of our Nation and we, as his Task Force, were truly blessed to be a part of this great Warriors life.God has a special place in Heaven for Sputnik and he told me yesterday that wanted all of us to continue the political work and to carry forward with his final Rally for the Birthday Bash in July. As soon as we know the Memorial Service information we will send out another broadcast. Our sincerest regrets to the entire Biker Community” Terri Williams-State Secretary TMRA 2. Stephanie Parks-TMRA2 Task Force

22 Responses to “Death Of Bill “Sputnik” Strain, One Of The Greatest Motorcycle Rights Activists.”

  1. 1 Wolfman Jun 24th, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Ride on Brother. See ya there. Wolfman

  2. 2 Jun 25th, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I am proud to have known “Sputnik” and looked forward to spending time with him every year when I covered the “Hot Rally” event on Groesbeck that helped raise money fot the TMRA.
    He fought hard for Motorcycle Rights and people around the country know that.
    Hopefully the people of Texas will continue his work with the dedication that he has.
    Ride Free Brother!

  3. 3 martin Jun 25th, 2010 at 8:34 am

    May there peace for you brother

  4. 4 Blatherbeard Jun 25th, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I never met the man but i had corresponded with him Via email when i moved down here to Tx from Nh. He came across as a great guy who would welcome you as one of his own if i had ever gotten to meet him in person.

    Hopefully someone of similar character will step into his shoes, but nobody could replace him.

    Rest in peace my man.

  5. 5 Jun 25th, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Sputnik, you will be missed my friend. Thank you for everything! Vaya Con Dios!

    Over & Out,


  6. 6 Jun 25th, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Love you brother…you are NOW “free”. You were a great teacher.

  7. 7 Jun 25th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    R I P Sputnik, here’s to a smooth peaceful ride.

    ray usa

  8. 8 JIM OWENS Jun 25th, 2010 at 6:35 pm


  9. 9 Jun 25th, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Sputnik, You will be missed my brother…………….R I P

  10. 10 Michael Jun 26th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Few folks will leave as lasting a mark as this man. Thanks for fighting for all of us. Thanks for everything.

  11. 11 Jun 27th, 2010 at 12:02 am

    SORRY . There is no rights for China riders. The China just has no the org just like the TMRA 2.

  12. 12 Jim Gilliam Jun 27th, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I haven’t seen Sputnik since we were kids in school, but I’ve sure heard about him. Where ever he is you can bet he’s raising hell and fighting for biker’s rights.

    Jim Gilliam
    Warwick, NY; formerly of Port Isabel, TX

  13. 13 Jun 27th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    As a TMRA2 Task Force Member, Sputnik was my Mentor… I would listen to everyone of his words wishing I could remember only half of what this man had forgotten… I would do anything for him… He was a very canny person and had quite a funny personality, oh & he just loved to give nicknames to people…. I was blessed to be able to get to know him as a friend… I will see you on the other side my Brother until then Ride on Those Wings….

  14. 14 Jun 27th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Sputnik was one of the greatest patriots this country has ever seen. His commitment and dedication to working on freedom issues of all kinds was unsurpassed by anyone. He was an amazing, inspiring leader and I am proud and honored that I got to know him and spend some time with him over the past few years. God Bless You, Sputnik!

  15. 15 PJ Jun 28th, 2010 at 8:19 am

    I met Bill a long time ago and still have the t-shirt he gave me for one of our Chicago shirts. There wasn’t a time when you could talk about motorcycle rights without his name coming up in the conversation. Sputnik will be missed in the motorcycle community and the Chicago Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. will hold a moment of silence at the next Board & Membership meetings in July.

    Ride free my Brother,

    Patrick J. Jones
    Chicago A.B.A.T.E.

  16. 16 mike corbin Jun 28th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Travel Well !

  17. 17 Jun 29th, 2010 at 1:29 am

    Sput was an inspriation to all that knew him. we will continue to fight the good fight brother. the world could use more men like him. a moment of noise for you at this years hogfest!

  18. 18 Jun 29th, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Motorcycle rights activist Sputnik dies at 70

    By Bronwyn Turner Correspondent Published June 29, 2010

    Sputnik Strain, 70, of Alvin, a motorcycle activist who strode through the button-down world of the state Capitol wearing a Mohawk and with the word “free” tattooed on his forehead, died Thursday in Elgin.

    He had been working at the state office of the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association when he was apparently felled by a heart attack. Strain had just finished lobbying this past session for one of the most comprehensive motorcycle safety bills in the country.

    Strain also will be remembered for his determined push to repeal the motorcycle helmet law in Texas. The legislature approved the repeal in 1997.

    More than 1,000 motorcyclists from across the country are expected for the memorial service, planned for July 10. His ashes will be carried in a biker casket trailer, pulled by the Black Diamond Motorcycle Hearse, a 1992 Electra Glide converted to a trike.

    The parade of motorcyclists will lead to the Capitol grounds, where a memorial service is planned on the pink granite steps. It will be a fitting spot to remember the man legislators were hard put to forget.

    “His appearance was, shall we say, different,” said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who was a state senator when he met Strain in 1993. “When you saw Sputnik, you remembered him. I recommend all lobbyists get a Mohawk haircut.”

    Patterson authored the motorcycle helmet repeal law, with Strain’s support.

    “He was just not going to take failure as an option,” Patterson said.

    “He was jovial but determined. He was a friendly, outgoing guy, afraid of talking to no one.”

    Strain, who kept his Mohawk haircut even into his senior years, taught a valuable lesson, Patterson said.

    “Don’t be afraid of the first impression you leave because of your appearance because your persistence will always prevail.”

    Bill Strain had been called “Sputnik” since his days in the National Guard, when an injury put him on painkillers. Friends joked about him being “high” as the Soviet satellite. Strain later changed his official name to “Sputnik.”

    Strain was “the Willie Nelson of bikers,” said Terri Williams, secretary-treasurer of the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association.

    “I cannot put into words how devastating the loss is to the biker community, to his family,” she wrote on the association’s website.

    “Sputnik will go down in history as the greatest motorcycle rights activist in the history of our nation.”

    Williams met Strain when she was working at a motorcycle injury attorney’s office in Austin. He formed the association in 1992, organizing bikers to descend on the state Capitol annually to lobby for safety laws and other issues.

    Strain will be remembered not only as an activist but also as an encourager, Williams said.

    “He always taught me, no matter what happens to me, I should always have faith and keep going. He had a great deal of faith in God.”

    For Strain’s 70th birthday, he had additional artwork added to his forehead. Angel wings were placed on either side of the word “Free.”



    • Strain is survived by his wife, Gwendolyn; three children, Chance, Vernon and Lisa; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

    • For updated information on the memorial service plans, check the website,

  19. 19 Pete Waddell Jun 29th, 2010 at 8:07 am

    You are now completely free. You were the greatest and I learned a lot from you. The Good Lord willing, I will see you again.

  20. 20 lop Jul 1st, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    GOD amighty,…. Sputnik is gone,….. R.I.P. brother


  21. 21 jim brandon -just JB Jan 1st, 2011 at 1:04 am

    _ back in ’91 -at Durango,CO.-,for the 4 corners Ignacio run I met [email protected] a Denny’s-,and he said.. sit here at this booth,-so I did.. and we talked about many things over breakfast.Due to my out-of the loop ignorance,-only a few times since had we spoken-. I will always consider it an honor having met such a well respected motorcyclist rights freedom fighter.. God bless you sir;- Ride On- In heaven and forever..

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