Dearly Departed: Hill-Climbing Icon Earl Bowlby Passes at 90
Earl Bowlby, AMA National hill climber, recently deceased. Media sourced from the AMA Museum.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of a key member of our Powersports industry.
Earl Bowlby was a fantastically talented AMA Hillclimb competitor, one of the best of the 1970-1980s, with 10 AMA National Hillclimb titles tucked into his proverbial belt. Born in 1933, the man began his career in hill climbing in 1966.
Bowlby’s long-running vertical weapon champ of choice was a 650cc BSA – the longest I’ve certainly ever seen – upon which he landed a Triple Crown as “overall points leader, US National Champion, and Canadian National Champion,” respectively (via AMA). He was the only hill climber ever to be awarded this triple title, and nobody’s beaten him – or matched him – since.
A leading member of the American Motorcyclist Association, Bowlby was husband to the late Shirley Jean (Swaim) Bowlby and is survived by his three sons and three daughters, as well as eleven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, as well as his two brothers and sister-in-law.
Bowlby wasn’t afraid to give his life – and his hills – “a little action;” if you’d like to contribute, the family suggests donations to the AMA Hall of Fame Museum, 13515 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington, Ohio 43147, “or to your favorite charity.”
“Your donation helps the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame continue its mission of preserving the legacy of motorcycling in America. Please consider donating to the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation today. www.amagive.org.”
The team here at WBW sends our deepest condolences to Earl’s family for their loss, along with the assurance that Earl Bowlby, the man, the climber, and the legend, will always have a place in our hearts.