Cam Johnson has had two passions his entire life: motorcycles and the military. He got his first mini-bike from some cousins at age four and his first motorcycle for his sixth birthday.
“I’ve been riding pretty much ever since,” Johnson said.
As for the military, Johnson comes from a long line of veterans who have served our country.
“My dad was in the military, he fought in the Korean war,” Johnson explained. “He was on the 2nd plane that jumped into Korea and was Airborne just like I was. It’s kind of hand me down, my uncle my cousins they were all military they were all army.”
Johnson joined the Army in 1990. Seven years later he went Special Forces and eventually became a Green Beret. As fate would have it, Johnson was in Arabic Language School when the planes hit the twin towers. Soon after, he was deployed to Iraq.
‘"I was there for the invasion in 2003 and did three more in 2004, 2007, 2006, 2008,” he said.
During those deployments, Johnson watched the chopper motorcycle craze take off. But he knew he couldn’t afford to spend $35,000 to $40,000 dollars on a motorcycle.
“So, after looking at them I was like, you know, I weld, I fabricate, I know how to do all this stuff, I’ll just build one,” Johnson said.
Between fighting overseas and training here at home, Johnson built his first motorcycle. Within three or four months, a man stopped him wanting to buy his bike.
“I said sure I’ll sell it, and he bought it the next day,” Johnson said. “And I thought, this could actually turn into something.”
For years, Johnson spent his time outside work building motorcycles in his garage.
“I would build one, ride it around and the next thing I knew someone would ask to sell it,” Johnson recalled. “I’d sell it then I’d buy another one and just kept going until I retired.”
Johnson retired in 2011 and moved his family to Central Texas. He opened his motorcycle shop, Badd Azz Bikes, a little while later.
“I like being creative and I like to build nice things that people look at and think oh ‘that’s badd azz’, and I thought that would be a catchy name Badd Azz Bikes,” he explained.
Years later, Badd Azz Bikes is creating some of the “baddest” bikes around. But it is not just the high-quality work, or the friendly shop dog Rocco, keeping customers coming back. It’s the family atmosphere and the brotherhood of other veterans. Veterans like Anthony Iglehart, who had his Harley customized there as a retirement present to himself.
“I don’t consider myself ever being a customer,” Iglehart said. “I was just always part of the family.”
Today, Iglehart is really part of the family. The 26-year Army Veteran recently started a new career at the shop, even with no experience. He is currently the Sales Manager, working alongside Johnson and the rest of the crew.
“I smile every day coming to work, and I didn’t expect that in corporate America,” he said.
Two veterans proving that with passion, anything is possible.