Wenatchee man, 53, still racing motorcyclesWe all wanted to own the toy store when we were growing up as kids, but Duane Marker wanted to own Wenatchee Honda. Duane knew even back then that the local Honda dealer had all the toys he would ever need.
Now in his fourth year as co-owner of Doghouse MotorSports and Wenatchee Honda, Duane began riding a motorcycle back when he was just seven years old, and riding in competition at the ripe old age of 9. Marker became a local celebrity as he took his riding skills to bigger and better venues all over the country, competing in the semi-professional motocross circuit. “I think I missed half of Junior High and High School because I was out of town racing,” he remembers, adding that all that school work was eventually made up.
The motocross racing continued well past the school years and on into early adulthood, and then into middle-age-hood and in fact is a big part of Marker’s life today at 53 years old. There was a 14-year period where an ACL injury kept him sidelined but modern surgical advances finally came up with a way to repair the damage and get Duane back in the saddle.
Of course that’s not the only injury sustained by Marker during his remarkable career in motorsports. He’s been knocked out, shattered his femur, and even broke his back, although the latter injury was during a snocrossing event. Oh yes, Duane Marker does that, too, along with racing watercraft, getting as far as the World Finals in 1992 and 1994. Not exactly a couch potato, that Duane.
Old age may be catching up with Marker just a little bit. While checking out another injury, doctors recently discovered some stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that is age-related. But after sitting out from motocross competition for some time, Marker now thinks he’ll be back on the course next summer.
Marker takes heart in watching people a lot older than he is competing in the “80-plus” class where a bunch of 80-somethings still get out and see who can go the fastest on a motorcycle. Marker actually competes now in 40-plus and 30-plus competitions, so he continues to challenge himself by going against riders who may be 20 years younger than he is.
The other big challenge in Marker’s life is operating Wenatchee Honda. His wife and co-owner, Kathy, is the fulltime manager at the store while Duane works in IT for Chelan County, helping at the store in his “off” hours. Kathy brings to the franchise some bigtime managerial experience with Microsoft and one can tell she enjoys the dynamic and fun atmosphere as well as all the other experienced motorsports people on hand to help make sure customers get what they need.
Duane may be out on the floor helping customers pick out a bike – although his first sales experience earned him the nickname of “lawnmower man” because he sold seven lawnmowers in his first few weeks at the store -- or he may even roll up his sleeves and get greasy building and repairing bikes. Kathy enjoys the people side of the business and is frequently found helping customers or laughing with them, so it’s clear the Markers not only have the toys they always wanted, but the ability to run a successful business selling those toys.
Doghouse Motorsports and Wenatchee Honda offer a wide variety of motorsports vehicles including ATV’s, side-by-sides, street bikes, dirt bikes, snowmobiles and snow-removing equipment. For more information, call (509) 663-0075 or please visit www.doghouse-motorsports.com.
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