Michael Dean Shedd
By Kay Powell
Mike Shedd was a musician motorcyclist; lover of bikes, music and stories
Licensed to race motorcycles at 140 miles per hour, Mr. Shedd set a slower musical pace when he picked up a fiddle, accordion, banjo or a set of bagpipes, all of which he taught himself to play. He raced a 1971 Kawasaki G31M Centurion, modified from a flat track motorcycle to a land speed racer, said his son, Travis Shedd of Conyers. Mr. Shedd's other musical instruments — which he never taught himself to play but enjoyed owning — were guitars, a harpsichord and a Dobro, he said.
"He was very musical. That's where his artistry was," said his daughter Cassandra Shedd of Cumming. "He was a natural musician. He could just hear music and play it." Mr. Shedd was just as in tune with the motorcycles he raced on tracks from Maxton, N.C., to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He set most of the many records he held with his 1971 Kawasaki, a motorcycle designed for flat track racing. He kept the motorcycle when he gave up flat track competing, then 30 years later overhauled it to compete in land speed racing through the East Coast Timing Association.
"He did most of his own fabrication," his son said. "He was real clever at that. It is a twostroke motorcycle, and he was proud of the engine that has only four moving parts." In the sport, Mr. Shedd was known as "No Muffler" because his Kawasaki was built for racing and didn't have any noise suppression. "It really is the most god-awful sound in the world when he revved it up. But he loved to hold it wide open," his son said. His music was a mellower sound. He favored bluegrass and, besides songs he made up, liked to sing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and "Boil Them Cabbage Down."
The memorial service for Michael Dean Shedd, 62, of Conyers will be 6 p.m. Saturday at Community of Christ Church in Milton. He died of a heart attack Jan. 20 at Piedmont Hospital. The body was cremated. Byars Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Mr. Shedd worked in his family's concrete pouring business in Lithonia until it closed in 1993. He became night manager of Rooster's Barnyard Etc. in 1997 and was at the club 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., said Joseph Buffin of Marietta, who worked with him. Mr. Shedd was popular at the club and always had a tale ready, Mr. Buffin said. "He was a storyteller and a story collector. He loved a good story. He loved to tell a good story," he said. Mr. Shedd was a man of faith and welcomed a group that ministers to strippers into his club. "It's so admirable what they are doing," he said in a 2005 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. "If they reach one out of 10 girls, I think they've done their job."
"He was very iconoclastic. He could care less what anybody else thought," his daughter said. "He had a really deep faith in God. As Bohemian or hard-living as he was, he ardently believed in redemption of the soul. He had a sense of faith that always surprised me."
Survivors include his wife, Susan Shedd; another daughter, Courtney Windey of Long Island, N.Y.; two sisters, Diana Koehler of Smithfield, R.I., and Sara Tubbesing of Overland Park, Kan.; and a granddaughter.