Butch Mitchell & Dawn Norakas started Stinger Custom Cycles after dreams of owning their own custom motorcycle shop. The odd thing is that Butch and Dawn only met 6 months before opening Stinger Custom Cycles.
Butch Mitchell, was born in California, but grew up in Lake Havasu, AZ. When he and Dawn met he owned a construction company in Las Vegas, another construction company and bar in Cedar City, UT.
Dawn Norakas, was born in Missouri, but grew up in Ennis, TX. She graduated with an Associate’s Degree from Navarro Junior College, where she was on a golf scholarship. Then went to the University of North Texas, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree. When she met Butch, she had just accepted an event planning position at a LasVegas Company after working for Chrome Specialties/Custom Chrome for 3.5 years.
The two of them had been separately invited to attend a Thursday Night Ride, in Las Vegas. This is an eclectic group of professionals that all work in Las Vegas, and they meet every Thursday to tear up the roads on their custom bikes.
Since it was Butch and Dawn’s first night they really didn’t know anyone. So they started talking about Dawn’s first bike that she built with help from a co-worker. All the parts came out of a CCI catalog, but she had designs in her head that she wanted to put into a bike. Butch shared his same frustrations. He had been in the process of building a custom for almost two years, but was having trouble getting parts.
Dawn helped get him the parts and they finished it together. Six months after that, they started Stinger Custom Cycles. The name came from their star signs. Butch and Dawn were born six days apart under the sign of Scorpio and their logo is a scorpion.
The shop consisted of Butch, Dawn and Andy Funderburk. Andy taught Dawn all about plasma cutting, shaping metal and welding, Now she could get all the designs she had out of her head and onto a motorcycle. Butch’s knowledge of bikes came from owning so many Harley’s and doing all the engine work, mostly on his 1974 shovel head, his baby.
Since then, Butch and Dawn have had over twenty features including international magazines and Art of the Chopper II. Dawn won bike of the year in 2004. Butch and Dawn have participated in Biker Build Offs with Paul Yaffe, appeared on V-Twin Television, have donated sheet metal for the Seattle Children’s Hospital auction bike, and built and donated two bikes for the V-Twin Biker’s Ball benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Butch and Dawn’s styles differ tremendously. But they find that to be an asset to their customers. Butch is a more hardcore, old style with exposed wires, cables, coils, with very little chrome and paint if he can help it. Dawn’s style is more sexy and sleek. Everything that can be hidden, is. Internal everything. Dawn has to have flow and consistency with everything. And she loves the bling of the chrome.
Stinger Custom Cycles designs and builds one off gas tanks, flush tank mounts exhaust pipes, air cleaner, motor mounts, gas caps, handle bars, oil tanks and anything else that people ask for. They designed and manufacture 1’ internal throttles and 1’ twistback clutches. Which are sold by Stinger, Custom Chrome and MC Advantages.
The shop currently has Butch, Dawn and one part time employee.
Andy has since, started his own company designing ornamental iron fences.