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Pierce finally won that bike race

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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Hanging out on a warm morning in the park with Lucky Dog, Jimmy Pierce thinks for a minute when asked what his story would be if it were in the newspaper.

"At 63, everything is a. long story," Pierce said.

Lucky Dog's story is a bit shorter, though. The playful pup was rescued from a shelter several months ago on the morning of the day he was scheduled for euthanasia.

Pierce attributes his long stories to a lifetime of "burning the candle at both ends."

He's lived in Florida for years, both in his younger days and somewhat more recently. He's also called Colorado home.

"I never thought I'd leave," Pierce said.

That was before he met Judith, his wife, on an online dating site a few years ago.

The two initially hit it off discussing some of their shared interests, like the work of author Robert Heinlein and theories about how human development may have been influenced by aliens from out in the stars.

The couple went out to Florida for a while so Pierce could spend some time with his mother and eventually ended up in the Verde Valley, an area his wife was already familiar with.

Pierce said there's a lot he likes about Arizona, including the state's gun laws.

"I'm libertarian," Pierce said. "Dictators like Stalin, Pol Pot, the people couldn't fight back."

Having an armed population is the "cost of freedom," Pierce said.

Pierce has worked many different jobs over the course of his life thus far.

"I've done things where I've had to wear a three-piece suit to working oil fields," Pierce said.

"Now I'm semi-retired and semi-broke," Pierce said with a laugh.

Back in his youth, Pierce said he was fairly involved with bicycles and bicycle racing.

As a child in Ohio, Pierce said it was nothing to take a 50-mile bike ride as a 12-year-old boy.

"Things were a bit different back then," Pierce said.

Constantly beaten in races by a neighborhood kid, Pierce took a job working at a bike shop for 75 cents an hour. The shop would fix up old bikes and sell them or give them to charity.

The shop owner helped Pierce convert his three-speed bike into a nine speed riding machine for the race.

"I was spending more time changing gears," Pierce said. "I still got whooped."

Undeterred, Pierce kept at his 75-cents-an-hour job until finally he had saved up enough to buy a new $56 Schwinn.

"I finally beat Frank," Pierce laughed.

Pierce stayed involved with bicycles for a while, but he, like everyone else, got a little older.

"Motorcycles and girls came along," Pierce said.

Sometimes, Pierce said he looks back and wonders how things might have turned out differently. What would have happened had Pierce stuck with bicycles.

Still, whenever Pierces thinks back to the might-have-beens, he always comes to another realization about the way things did turn out.

"I look back, and it was all a great experience," Pierce said. "I've done a wide variety of different things."

Copyright 2012 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: August 1, 2012

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