Reporter’s Notebook: Fort Sumner grad featured on “Chopper Challenge”

Courtesy photo Ralph Randolph, a Fort Sumner graduate, places the gas tank onto his Jim Beam custom chopper during filming of Country Music Television’s “Chopper Challenge.”

Ralph Randolph, a 1984 Fort Sumner High School graduate, was picked as one of nine chopper builders for Country Music Television’s “Chopper Challenge.”

Viewers vote on the winner.

Randolph credits the success of his bike building company in Chandler, Ariz., to carpentry experience in high school and at the University of New Mexico, and growing up on a farm.

“Working as a carpenter gave me some building skills, and growing up in the country on a farm you learn some mechanical skills or you can’t survive,” Randolph said laughing. “But it’s where I came from.”

The episode featuring his Jim Beam-designed chopper aired June 18 ( Randolph said the design was inspired by NASCAR driver Robby Gordon’s vehicle.

Proceeds from the bike will go to Operation Home Front, an organization that supports military families.

Randolph, a former Marine, said the organization is special to him because he was raised near Cannon Air Force Base.

“Clovis is a big military town and I would love to let all of the military folks know there is somebody out there trying to help their families,” Randolph said.

Voting ends July 15, with CMT announcing the winner July 16. To view entries visit

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Keely McDowell. Suggested items may be mailed to Managing Editor Rick White at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is: