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Harley-Davidson’s Battle of the Kings: Buddy Stubbs Teams With MMI Students

May 6, 2019 ·

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Harley-Davidson’s annual Battle of the Kings (BOTK) contest has finally arrived here in the United States. Since the contest’s inception in 2015, U.S.-based dealers and Harley-Davidson enthusiasts have watched from the sidelines while 500+ custom motorcycle builds have entered the contest from around the world.

Now in its fifth year, the build-off adds a twist to keep things exciting. All participating dealerships in the United States will partner with a local tech schools, using students to assist with the design and execution of the build.

A Natural Partnership Between Buddy Stubbs and MMI Is Formed

Buddy Stubbs Service Manager Danny Wilson, who also happens to be a Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) graduate and Master Technician, put word out on campus that he was looking for volunteers to assist himself and Master Technician Andrew Martin with the contest. Dozens of MMI students responded with enthusiasm, aspiring to be part of a custom motorcycle build where they will participate in design, fabrication, building, testing and more.

After reviewing the initial applications, Danny narrowed the candidate field and interviewed a handful of students. He selected Breeanna Myers and Clayton Young, two Military Veteran students who stood out among the rest.

Coming Together as a Team

The newly formed build team consisting of Danny, Andrew, Breeanna and Clayton worked within strict guidelines set in place by Harley-Davidson to design and plan their build. Some of the project guidelines included:

  • Starting with a current new Harley-Davidson® model from the showroom floor
  • Staying within a budget of 150% of the MSRP of the bike
  • Using primarily Harley-Davidson parts on the bike, unless parts are fabricated in house

Throughout the process, Breeanna and Clayton had the chance to work alongside Danny and Andrew, Master Technicians who bring years of experience to the table.

Danny Wilson’s diverse and extensive background is a natural fit for team leader. Not only is he the current Buddy Stubbs HD Service Manager, but he has experience as a custom bike builder, Harley-Davidson corporate trainer, as well as being a graduate from MMI Phoenix's tech school. His skills as a machinist may be self- taught, but the quality of the parts he created for this bike speak for themselves.


Andrew Martin also got his start at MMI Phoenix. Over the years since graduation, he has worked at a few shops, both aftermarket and dealerships, and continued to develop his skills resulting in his current role as Master Technician. Achieving Master status is no easy feat, but his hard work and patience have paid off. He also credits getting a good vocational school foundation at MMI as a big head start.


Vision and Execution

The build team decided to pursue building a race bike. They felt that with their knowledge of increasing power and handling, they would have a big advantage over the competition. They didn’t want a bike that only looked good, they wanted to back it up.

They also had a few tricks up their sleeve in the looks department, like custom paint, powder-coating, modified fairing and more. In the end, they decided on a track bike that would pay homage to long standing history of Buddy Stubbs HD, using the shop’s dealer number of 93 in the custom paint scheme.

Currently there are almost 1,500 Harley-Davidson dealers worldwide, but Buddy Stubbs has been in operation in Arizona since the mid 1960s.


MMI’s Relationship with Buddy Stubbs

Across the country, Harley-Davidson dealerships have relationships with MMI to help fulfill their need for entry-level technicians in their service departments.1

Not only does Harley-Davidson support the MMI program with motorcycles, tools, parts and diagnostic equipment, they also help write the curriculum for the Harley-Davidson specialized training program. This collaboration between Harley-Davidson and MMI ensures that when graduates start their new jobs, they are prepared for what’s ahead.5

Buddy Stubbs HD has a unique relationship with MMI since, in addition to hiring their entry level technicians from the Phoenix campus, their close proximity to the school gives them insight into the operation.

In addition to Danny’s prior experience as a student of MMI Phoenix, he is also an informal liaison to the school, helping to shape expectations and keep a laser focus on career readiness. Danny was recently invited to make his relationship with the school more formal when campus leadership asked him to join the Program Advisory Committee (PAC). PAC is a cross section of industry professionals from employers to manufacturer representatives who meet on campus throughout the year to guide MMI on their mission to give students the skills needed to be successful upon graduation.

MMI’s Relationship With Harley-Davidson

The official relationship between MMI and Harley-Davidson dates to 1983.

Since that time, students have been able to enjoy training and experience on current model motorcycles, and in addition to that, the manufacturer and dealer network recognizes their training. MMI is the only technician training vocational school that offers a Harley-Davidson specific curriculum that is aligned with Harley-Davidson University™.

Looking Ahead

The Buddy Stubbs BOTK build team has its eyes set on the International Motorcycle Show in Italy later this year. If the team's creation can beat out the competition from here in the U.S., they will take on custom builds from around the world to see which bike is crowned the winner.

Interested in learning how MMI can prepare you for a career in the motorcycle industry? Contact us today to request more information.

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1) MMI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

5) UTI programs prepare graduates for careers in industries using the provided training, primarily as automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a technician, such as: parts associate, service writer, fabricator, paint and paint prep, and shop owner/operator. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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