bill brownell Patti Waggin harley davidson motorcycle

A young Patti Waggin presenting 1950 AMA Grand National Champion, Larry Headrick, with a trophy. His career prematurely ended in 1950 when he was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle on the street. The accident shattered Headrick’s left leg, making it impossible for him to race again on the dirt ovals. The rider from San Jose, California, was tragically forced into retirement just has his career was taking off. via

“If there’s one word to describe shapely Patti Brownell, it’s excitement. The young lass lives by it–and for it. Into her existence, Patti packs a triple life: During the day, she’s a student at California’s Chico State College: at night she draws tremendous crowds into the cafe where she presents her whiz bang strip act: and on her off moments, Patti is a death-defying motorcyclist. As far as our luscious blue-eyed blonde is concerned, there’s nothing unusual about her life. Patti’s been winning trophies for motorcycle riding since she was 14. She loves the sport.

Show business is also old hat for Patti. Her mother and father were adagio dancers in vaudeville, and it was only natural that they should teach their little girl the art. Patti wanted a college education, and she was able to pay her way with her show business savvy. As for the future, Patti wants a home in the country, four kids–and lots of motorcycles.”

patti waggin brownell stripper motorcycle

“Bumps are nothing new to luscious Patti–either on a motorcycle or in the strip tease profession.” Born Patricia Hardwick in 1926, she also used the stage name Patti Waggin. Her 2nd marriage was to Chico, CA local legend, Bill Brownell, a well-loved motorcycle racer. Not sure who her 1st husband was…


bill brownell motorcycle racer

“In 1946 Brownell moved to Chico and started Bill Brownell Indian-Cushman Motorcycle Dealership. Later he added Triumph and BSA brands to his business and finally Honda motorcycles in 1959. Bill’s love of motorcycles made him a legend in the sport. He was also an avid racer himself, winning many awards all over California. Bill was instrumental in starting Cycleland Speedway south of Chico in the ’60s when dirt track motorcycle racing was very popular. Bill Brownell also belonged to the “Booze Fighters Motorcycle Club,” whose annual gathering in Hollister, Calif., draws national attention, and which was the basis for the movie “The Wild Ones” starring Marlon Brando. In 1999 Bill was inducted into the Indian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Massachusetts.” via


patti brownell waggin harley davidson motorcycle

Patti Waggin Brownell


pinup-stripper- patti-waggin

Patti Waggin Brownell


patti waggin burlesque stripper backstage

Patti Waggin Brownell


patti waggin burlesque stripper

Patti Waggin Brownell

.patti Waggin burlesque stripper vintage photo

Patti Waggin Brownell and the 6’8″ Ricki Corvette


patti waggin pinup girl

Patti Waggin Brownell


don rudolph patti waggin baseball

Patti Waggin’s 3rd husband was a professional baseball player– “Don Rudolph was known as an eccentric throughout his career but was often overshadowed by the fame of his burlesque-dancer wife. Known as a confident, quick-working hurler, Frederick Don Rudolph pitched everywhere from Jesup, Georgia, and Colorado Springs to Chicago and Washington during his journeyman career before his untimely death at the age of 37.

One night in 1954, Rudolph made a fateful visit to a nightclub that soon changed his life. Performing that night was Patti Waggin, a popular burlesque dancer. Patti, whose real name was Patricia Artae Brownell, was born into a family of vaudeville performers. After dropping out from Chico State College in California, where she was known as the “Coed With the Educated Torso,” she performed burlesque numbers throughout the country. By the time she met Don, she was well-known in her field, appearing on a list of top 10 strippers in the country. Rudolph said that after sitting through three straight shows that night, it was “love at third sight.” However, when he tried to approach Patti after the last show, he was rebuffed. But Don was a persistent man and when he saw an advertisement for another performance in his hometown of Baltimore, he went to see her again. After another initial rebuff, he was able to charm Patti and buy her a soda. From there, their relationship blossomed and in 1955, they were married.”

don rudolph baseball patti waggin stripper

“Patti was as supportive of Don’s career as he was of hers. An athlete herself (The Sporting News reported that she had a “collection of ten trophies won in motorcycle racing”), she often donned spikes and a catcher’s mitt to warm up her husband on the field. During games, she charted his pitches, offered advice, and cheered him on. The opposing team often had things to say about Patti and her chosen profession, but it did not seem to bother Rudolph. “At first it bothered me, but not anymore,” Rudolph told The Sporting News. “Don’t forget, it usually helps business, both at the ballpark and at Patti’s theatre. But when it gets too rough, a high, hard one under the chin usually shuts them up pretty good.” Patti, aware of the razzing, held that if her stripping hindered his career in any way, she would quit.

Throughout his career, Don had many plans for life after baseball. He once said he wanted to open a club for his wife named Don Rudolph’s Patti Waggin. Later he said he wanted to be an avocado farmer. But Rudolph ended up starting a contracting business called Underground Utility Company. Tragically, he did not have much time to enjoy his post-baseball life. On September 12, 1968, as Rudolph drove his truck up a steep grade near his home in Granada Hills, California, the truck overturned and he was thrown from the vehicle. The truck rolled over and crushed him. Don Rudolph was dead at the age of 37.”

via the Society for American Baseball Research, written by Mike Hasse



For kicks, here’s Bill Brownell’s restored Harley-Davidson WR that was featured on BIKEEXIF 


  1. I grew up in San Francisco Calif born in 1949 both Parents (Lance & Babe Prestidge) belonged to the San Francisco Motorcycle Club.

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