From industry lifers to ex-pro racers to custom bike builders and everything in between, there are hundreds of compelling stories to be told by (and about) Tucker and MAG employees. Each month in the “Tucker Team Spotlight Series” we showcase a different employee and share his or her story about living the powersports life.
Like many in our industry, Donna Gigout has a fascinating story to tell about her path to powersports. She and her husband wanted a motorcycle for some time when one day they saw a beautiful red 1979 Harley Shovelhead with white flames sitting in front of a tiny shop on the north side of Fort Worth. They bought the bike on the spot; the trouble was, neither of them knew how to ride. Not letting that stand in the way, a friend showed her the controls and basics, and she was off and riding in no time. It didn’t take long before Donna wanted a motorcycle of her own. After a move south to Highlands, Texas her husband bought himself an RC51 and purchased a bike for her at the same time. Although a 1988 Ducati Paso was not what she was expecting (her first reaction was “NO”) after she fired it up it was love at first sound.
A job at a BMW/Triumph dealership in 2006 helped Donna decide the powersports industry was where she wanted to make a career. After moving back to her hometown of Fort Worth, she landed at Tucker where she started in the warehouse as a receiver, a year later was promoted to Customer Service, before moving to her current role as Product Support Specialist for the BikeMaster brand. Learn more about Donna Gigout in this Tucker Team Employee Spotlight.
Tucker Powersports: Donna, like so many that make their way to the powersports industry you have a unique story to tell. What is it about motorcycles and motorcycling that pulled you in and helped you decide that powersports is where you wanted a career?
Donna Gigout: The first time I got on a bike I was hooked. Not to sound cliché but it truly is a sense of freedom. My love of motorcycles is what drew me to the industry, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
TP: Your first industry job was at a BMW/Triumph dealership in 2006. What was your role there and how do you think it helped get you to where you’re at today?
DG: I was hired on as the Service Writer, and I was horrible at it! I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing, but I did get to test-ride all the bikes after they were repaired and that was the best nine months of my life! (Laughs).
“…. the number of women riders continues to grow every year. I’m able to relate and use that to bring new products to market for women riders.”
TP: Having dealership experience helps one tremendously when moving to the manufacturer and distribution side of the powersports business. How much does your dealership experience help you in your current role as Product Support Specialist for the BikeMaster brand?
DG: I’ve always worked on my own vehicles, and that makes doing my job so much easier. Also, having been out there on the dealer side of the counter, I can understand their needs, and I’m able to relate to them in a way a lot of others can’t.
TP: What’s something unique that you bring to the Tucker Team because of your experience and passion for motorcycling?
DG: Well, I’m a girl (laughs). Honestly, being a woman motorcyclist can be a benefit or a hindrance. There’s still a lot of “old school mentality” out there, but the number of women riders continues to grow every year. I’m able to relate and use that to bring new products to market for women riders.
TP: Would you say a lot has changed in the powersports industry since you started back in 2006? If so, what stands out as a defining moment?
DG: The industry was on the top of a wave when I entered it. Everybody in the world wanted a motorcycle, then it all came crashing down. I got laid off in 2008 because of the crash. It was sad to see so many shops closing and people leaving the industry.
TP: What’s your favorite thing about working in the powersports industry?
DG: Motorcycles! Seriously though, it’s the people. I’ll sit at my desk sometimes or be walking down the halls of Tucker and hear people talking about bikes. We’re a passionate group here, and it’s fun to sit and swap stories.
TP: Here you are five years in at Tucker, and you’ve already made the cover of the 2019 Street catalog on your 2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer. It must be an excellent feeling. Tell us about that experience and how the opportunity came about.
DG: That was so awesome! I had no clue they were even considering me, and I’m truly honored. The shoot itself was somewhat grueling. It was cold, and I had to ride around in parking lots at very slow speeds. I was just praying I wouldn’t drop my bike and have it on film! (Laughs). I did almost eat it going around a corner when I hit some gravel. I don’t think any of the photographers caught that though!
TP: As motorcyclists, we don’t typically like to think about the possibility that things can wrong. At one point you had a crash and stopped riding for a couple of years but eventually got back on a bike. Did that experience change you as a motorcyclist?
DG: Absolutely. I had a V Star 1100, and I rode that thing like a total squid. I high-sided it and ended up in the ER. Thankfully, I came out of it with just a badly jammed shoulder, but it changed the way I ride. I don’t take as many chances as I used to. Well, not as many anyway.
TP: If you weren’t working in the powersports industry what you would you be doing instead, and why?
DG: That’s a tough question. I think I would like to have my own shop working on classic cars and motorcycles, or maybe have my own antique/boutique store. I just like building things.
TP: Is there a motorcycle experience that stands out as one of those memorable moments you’ll never forget?
DG: I remember when I first started riding, I was on my Ducati Paso and there was something in the middle of the road. I moved over to go by it, and it was like my bike was reading my mind and responded on its own. It was the moment we had become “one.” If you ride, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
“…. it was like my bike was reading my mind and responded on its own. It was the moment we had become ‘one.’ If you ride, you know exactly what I’m talking about.”
TP: What’s on your powersports bucket list? Are there any rides you’ve always wanted to do or events you’d like to attend?
DG: The Bonneville Salt Flats or the Goodwood Festival.
TP: What about a motorcycle that you’ve had your eye for a while on that’s a must-have to add to your collection, and why?
DG: I’d like to have my old Buell XB9 Lightning back. That bike was so much fun to ride! Honestly, I’d like to have just about every bike out there. (Laughs).
TP: Thanks for sharing your story, Donna. Any last words about living the powersports life you’d like to share?
DG: Live your passion. Even when it sometimes becomes drudgery, it’s what fuels that spark inside of you.