For Rick LeShure and Andrew Strauser, their passion for motors does not cease when they close their shop doors at 5:30 p.m.
To the east of their shop, Power Pros on the west end of Main Street in Marion, is a small garage where LeShure keeps a Chevrolet Camaro. He is rebuilding a cruiser engine to place in the vehicle, the third such engine he will place under the hood.
Strauser’s love is for all-terain vehicles and motorbikes. He is fixing an old four-wheeler at his parents’ house at Marion Reservoir.
This passion bleeds over into race tracks and dirt rinks.
Strausser races motocross, planning to participate in future contests at Green Acres racetrack in Marion.
“For me, it’s being 20-feet in the air,” Strauser said of his love of motocross. “If I can hit a single, I’ll go for a double. If I can hit a double, I’ll go for a triple.”
LeShure formerly competed in demolition derbies. While using a pink hatchback car a few years ago, LeShure had one of his most dynamic moments in demolition derbies.
“It’s the biggest adrenaline rush you can imagine, being able to cream somebody’s crop,” LeShure said.
A gruesome collision bent the hood of the car in a 30-degree angle and destroyed the firewall separating driver from motor. He tried to signal surrender by waving the tell tale stick but it was knocked out of the vehicle by the crash. Instead, he exited the vehicle and waved his arms wildly, which excited the crowd in Hillsboro to an ovation.
“It’s all about entertainment,” LeShure said.
The “go big or go home” attitude has inspired work at Power Pros. One of their first customers brought in two lawn mowers. On the one, the motor worked but a malfunction in the steering column made the mower useless. On the other, the motor had been worn down and was beyond repair but the connections and frame of the mower held together. The partners combined the two mowers into one functioning machine.
The goal for Power Pros is to be bold but not rash. LeShure, 27, opened a shop in the same location five years ago, but he said he just jumped into it. There are several main differences this time around. Strauser, 27, provides LeShure with a partner who compliments his knowledge — Strauser is more adept at diesel engines while LeShure is more proficient at repairing gas engines. LeShure said, between the two of them, there is not much they cannot fix.
They have also created a business plan. Part of that plan is at least an early focus on smaller engines: ATVs, mowers, chain saws, and motor bikes. LeShure and Strausser were friends growing up in Marion but also worked together at PrairieLand Partners over the past four years. They understand the demand for simple motor work.
“Everybody needs a lawn mower,” LeShure said.
After accumulating most of the tools they will need working various mechanic jobs, Power Pros’ low overhead will allow the partners to make a profit but be relatively inexpensive.
“The biggest tool we’ll have is our knowledge,” LeShure said.
Another area of expertise where LeShure has improved from his previous ownership experience, and a skill that Strausser is refining as well, is an ability to diagnose electrical problems. LeShure said he would sometimes be stumped at his old shop when someone would bring in a vehicle that was consistently killing batteries.
“It’s a cat and mouse game,” Strausser said.
Now, LeShure knows all the tests, checking different spots in the link between battery and ignition where the problem may originate.
“Everything follows the same technical and mechanical principles,” LeShure said. “It’s all nuts and bolts.”
Strausser and LeShure agreed that they are constant tinkerers. LeShure repaired his first engine at 10 years old, it happened to be an old lawn mower.
Just as LeShure experienced the joy of bringing a mower back to life in his Marion yard as a child, Strausser and LeShure were both proud of the accomplishment of combining the working motor with the working machine Friday at their shop.
“It’s the greatest feeling you can have,” LeShure said.