A story about a wonderful and very entrepreneurial program building and selling choppers, from the Denver Post.
“CAÑON CITY — Rick Fitzpatrick was mortified when a cable TV producer proposed to make a reality cable show starring prison inmates in the custom motorcycle program at Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility.
“The last thing the inmates laboring in a program intended to teach good work habits and viable job skills needed was to face off against prisoners from Nevada in a sort of “American Chopper” meets “American Gladiators” showdown.
“It would be our death sentence,” said Fitzpatrick, machine shop supervisor, who created “Old Max Choppers” to teach inmates how to build a motorcycle with parts fabricated at the prison.
“This is a serious program, run in a long sliver of a shop behind the prison license-plate factory.
“Fitzpatrick had men who needed to focus on turning their lives around by learning new skills and work habits, without the drama of possibly becoming cable TV celebrities — like Paul Jr. and Paul Sr. on “American Chopper.”
“I’m not here to compete with the street. I don’t care about fame. I want to make a nice product,” Fitzpatrick said. “Word of mouth goes a long way.”
“The cable show never materialized, but this week the men of Old Max Choppers will deliver a $24,000 custom bike to their first customer. Called “Niteshift,” the sleek black chopper is signed by the inmate designers and emblazoned with the program logo — a view of a guard tower, a skull and “Old Max Choppers” written over it. And like the inmates who made it, Niteshift has its own prison ID number — 0006.
“Old Max Choppers originated from an offhanded joke.
“David P. Johnson, who is 51 days away from completing an 18-year prison term for burglary, said he joked to Fitzpatrick one day that they ought to start a program building choppers. A lot of people would love a bike fabricated in prison, he said.”