About Bobby's Territorial Harley-Davidson®
Shortly after the beginning of 2005, Yuma's only authorized Harley-Davidson® dealership moved to it's current home on Gila Ridge Road. The new 20,000 square foot building sits on the hillside, overlooking Interstate 8 and Highway 95and lays claim to a beautiful view of the valley from its shaded deck at the back of the building.
The owner, Robert Erxleben, better known as Bobby, a long time Yuma resident moved to the area when he was just a toddler. Bobby's long history with the dealership began in 1971 when he started to hang around the motorcycle shop. Nine years old and too young to drive, he rode his bicycle from his home every day after school and every Saturday to work at the shop. When asked what he did at the shop at such a tender age, Bobby replied, "I washed bikes, cleaned the floor, wiped off tools, anything to get greasy. That's where all the fun was!" Bobby remembers the company's name sake (and then owner) Jim Siemens telling him, "You're just gonna hang around here until I pay you, aren't you?"
And hang around he did. For the next 10 years as a part-time employee. In 1981 after, attending Kofa High School, Bobby went to work fulltime at the dealership. Over the years, watching and learning from Siemens and teaching himself, Bobby became a full-fledged motorcycle mechanic and welder.
Bobby learned from his predecessor, Jim Siemens in much the same that Siemens had learned from his predecessors. Siemens came to work at the shop, part time, in 1959 while he was still in the Navy. At that time, the dealership called Skip's Harley-Davidson® owned by Skip Costly, was housed in an approximately 500 square foot building located at 141 S 4th Avenue. Out back an old parachute was used as an awning.
During the early years of the dealership, not only did they work on and sell motorcycles, the shop did lots of machine work and welding for the Marines and YPG. They even worked on lawn mowers. The dealership also sold Triumphs and even Hondas, but in the 1960's Harley was King! according to Jim Siemens.
When he got out of the service Siemens worked for the local Ford dealer but when Costly broke his arm and needed someone to run the store Siemens was called back to the dealership where he stayed until his retirement.
In 1961 the first Yuma Prison Run was held at 16th Street and 1st Avenue, the current site of the Yuma Police Department. The run was then, and still is now, sponsored by the Norwalk Centaurs Motorcycle Club of California. The first year Siemens worked closely with the Centaurs. "I cooked the burgers, emptied the trash... the works! What ever it took to make it a success." And a success it was, as 2008 brings with it the 47th Annual Yuma Prison Run.
Ownership of the dealership changed again in 1962 when Reginald Hadlock of Michigan bought it from Costly. Siemens stayed on as the manager of what was then Hadlock's Harley-Davidson®. Hadlock had actually purchased the dealership for his sons. As it turned out, his sons were not interested in the motorcycle business so after owning it for just 3 years he sold the dealership to Siemens.
"Jim's Harley-Davidson first opened its doors in 1966. Although it had changed owners 3 times it remained at its original location on 4th Avenue. During the 1970's, sometimes known as the AMF Years, Harley-Davidson struggled a bit but Siemens says that things were not all that bad for his dealership. Also during this time Harley-Davidson tried branching out in the market by selling a line of Italian motorcycles. These models included a 65cc Shortster, a 100cc Baja, a 125cc Rapido, and a Sprint that came in both 250cc and 350cc versions. Siemens said remembering, "Harley-Davidson® made you take 3 little Italian bikes in order to get one big bike!"
On November 1, 1976, Jim's Harley-Davidson® was relocated to 1981 S Avenue B. The new home of the dealership had a whopping 3,700 square feet! It felt spacious at the time but by the end of the 70's the dealership had so out-grown the shop that the staff had to push the new bikes out under the awning each morning so there was room inside for the customers to walk around. The showroom was literally outside.
Although there were a few employees that came and went over the years, the mainstay of the dealership staff was Siemens, his wife Bonnie and Bobby Erxleben.
At the turn of the century the dealership was selling nearly 100 bikes a year and its staff had doubled. Jim's had outgrown the space that had once seemed so huge. In 2001 the Siemens purchased property on Pacific Avenue and in March of 2002 the dealership relocated once more. In May of that year, after 36 years, Jim Siemens retired. Bobby Erxleben bought out Siemens share of the partnership and took over the dealership. Almost as soon as the staff had settled the product into the Pacific Avenue site the dealership had once again outgrown its building.
The future for Yuma's only authorized Harley-Davidson® Dealership looks bright. Very bright indeed for the kid who used to like to get dirty wipin' off the tools.
Bobby's Territorial Harley-Davidson® is conveniently located near the areas of Tuma, San Luis Rio Colorado and Mexicali.