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Patti Waggin Commanded Our Eyes as the Motorcycle Stripper

Since the invention of the powered bicycle, stunning women have been responsible for elevating the status of even the most unremarkable motorcycles. It was the ideal media advertising strategy to pair a regular motorcycle with a photo of a stunning bombshell. Dozens of motorcycle magazines have relied exclusively on this strategy and have all found considerable success. However, Patti Waggin was a cut above the rest because her fascination with motorcycles was more than just a showy side interest. She was an extremely unusual combination of a gifted moto racer and a skilled burlesque dancer. Join FactsVerse as we discuss how Patti Waggin commanded our eyes as a motorcycle stripper.

Patricia, who was born in 1926, lived with her mother and several half-brothers in Northern California growing up. Despite being born Patricia Hartwick, she was better known by her stage name, Patti Waggin, for the vast majority of her life. Patricia’s mother used to be a dancer, but Patricia’s father remains a mystery. Without the benefit of modern paternity testing, Patricia’s mother could only assume that the father was either another dancer or an Italian stagehand. Either way, she had a natural flair for the stage and a competitive spirit that she attributed to having been raised in a household with four brothers.

Growing up, Patricia’s interest centred around two things: a guy named Doug Craig and motorbikes. It’s not clear whether Doug first got Patricia interested in motorcycles or whether she discovered Doug while out on her bike. But whatever the case, she never lost her passion for riding. By the time she was 14, Patricia was already racing her motorcycle in the local circuit. Doug was her childhood sweetheart, who she ended up marrying in 1942 at the tender age of 16. During World War 2, Doug left to serve as a motorcycle mechanic in the US Army. Their love story turned sour a few years later, and the bike couples divorced. After her divorce from Doug, Patricia set out on an adventure to Chico, California.

Since neither of Patricia’s parents finished high school, she felt it was important for her to make up for lost time and enrol at Chico State University. After getting cast in a school production of Pinocchio, she decided to pursue theatre more seriously. However, she quickly realised that the nighttime burlesque scene paid much better. In fact, she put the money toward her own university education. She was known by many monikers while performing on stage, including Patti Waggin, The Educated Torso, The Sex Oomph Girl, and the Fresh-Faced Girl Next Door. Despite her schedule being eaten up by classes and her nighttime job, motorcycling was an important part of her life. She still spent many weekends working at Nor Cal dirt track races. She wasn’t competing this time but was instead being compensated to present awards to the victorious. It was probably at one of these that she met her second husband, Bill Brownell. It turned out that Bill wasn’t just some guy who rode his bike on the track on the weekends; he was a true legend in the world of motorcycling. An accomplished dirt track racer who has won races all over the Golden State, he also founded a successful Indian-Cushman dealership in Chico that has since expanded to sell Triumph, BSA, and Honda motorcycles. He co-founded Cycleland Speedway in the 1960s, and for the next two decades, the venue was a magnet for dirt-track racers before switching to Outlaw Karts in the 1980s. Brownell joined the Booze Fighters Motorcycle Club and was honoured by being inducted into the Indian Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.

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Bill, ever the astute businessman, recognised the potential in Patricia’s growing popularity and used it to his advantage by making her the official trophy girl at the motorcycle races. Several men’s magazines highlighted Patricia’s story because they couldn’t get enough of her not only on the stage but also off stage. Speculative concepts like a “motorcycle stripper” captured the attention of their readers. Bill’s marriage only lasted a short time; by 1950, the couple had already separated.

Patricia’s acting career took off after the dissolution of her second marriage. She went on tour and gave shows in cities all over the United States. In no time at all, she was named one of the country’s top strippers. At the outset of the Korean War, her photographs were in high demand by American soldiers stationed abroad due to the popularity of her act among servicemen. Patti also caught the attention of Hugh Hefner, who highlighted her in the first issue of Playboy Magazine, released in October 1955.

Don Rudolph, Patti Waggin’s third husband, was a major league baseball player. Frederick Don Rudolph had a long and successful journeyman career as a pitcher. He made appearances all over the country, from Jesup, Georgia and Colorado Springs to Chicago and Washington, before calling it quits.

Don Rudolph, Patti Waggin’s third husband, was a major league baseball player. Frederick Don Rudolph had a long and successful journeyman career as a pitcher. He made appearances all over the country, from Jesup, Georgia and Colorado Springs to Chicago and Washington, before calling it quits.

Don’s life was forever altered by a trip to a nightclub he took one night in 1954. The evening’s performance was by the well-known burlesque dancer Patti Waggin. When she first met Don, she was already a well-known stripper who had made it onto a list of the top 10 in the country. Rudolph claimed he fell in “love at third sight” after watching three shows in a row that evening. After the last performance, however, he approached Patti and was rejected. But Don was a determined man, and when he saw a poster for another show of hers in Baltimore, where he grew up, he went to check it out. Again he was initially rejected, but eventually, he won Patti over and bought her a soda. Their relationship flourished from there, and they tied the knot in 1955.

Don was a member of the Chicago White Sox minor league system and soon after became Patricia’s manager while still actively playing baseball. For maximum time together, her manager made arrangements for her performances to take place in cities where his team would be playing away games. With Don’s no-motorcycles clause in his contract, Patricia gave up two-wheeled racing and took up go-kart competition instead.

Patti was just as enthusiastic about Don’s success as he was about her own. The Sporting News claimed that she had a portfolio of ten trophies won in motorcycling and that she regularly warmed up her husband by donning spikes and a catcher’s mitt at baseball games. She kept a chart of his pitches, gave him pointers, and rooted for him at games. It didn’t seem to phase Rudolph that the other team constantly made fun of Patti and her career choice. It didn’t seem to phase Rudolph that the other team constantly made fun of Patti and her career choice. Don claims that he initially found it annoying but has since grown accustomed to it. He learned that it boosted sales for both the ballpark and Patti’s theatre. He added that a hard punch under the chin often does a good job of getting them to shut up when things got too rough. Patti, who was aware of the jokes, insisted that she would stop stripping if it hurt his career.

Don had many aspirations for his post-baseball life. He’s on record as saying he wants to start a business so he and his wife can call it “Don Rudolph’s Patti Waggin.” After some thought, he finally decided that he wanted to grow avocados.

In 1960, Patricia finally decided to settle down with her husband Don and start a family, so she put away her pasties and fishnets. They welcomed a daughter in 1961, and he was called up to pitch for the Washington Senators of the Major Leagues in 1963. Don played for the Senators for two seasons before hanging up his cleats to focus on his business. After retirement, Rudolph went on to found Underground Utility Company, a contracting firm. However, his time in the post-baseball world was cut tragically short. While driving up a steep grade near his home in Granada Hills, California, on September 12, 1968, Rudolph’s truck flipped, and he was ejected. His body was crushed when the truck turned over on him. It was reported that Don Rudolph, 37, had passed away that same fateful day.

Despite her grief, Patricia was able to keep going thanks to the encouragement of her loved ones and the joy she found in riding her Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Patricia was only 66 when she died in 1992; she never remarried after her first husband died.

From the beginning of her career until the end, Patricia always responded to fan letters. A collection of them, titled “Fan Letters to a Stripper: A Patti Waggin Tale,” was published after many were discovered and preserved. The letters, along with 280 photos of Waggin, have been compiled by author Bob Brill into a book that provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of a burlesque performer viewed through the eyes of her adoring fans.

Despite his eccentricity, Don was often overshadowed by Waggin’s burlesque stardom. Waggin’s name won’t pop up in every Rudolph article, but she was in a lot of them. It’s too easy to blame the fact that he was never as successful as other notable players of his era. Without a doubt, famous athletes rarely end up being their wives’ appendages. Rudolph had his best season, playing with the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Senators in the major leagues the entire year. Even with two shutouts during the streak, “exotic dancer Patti Waggin” was still mentioned in the media coverage.

It is now time for us to hear from you. Let us know in the comments section which part of Patti Waggin’s story is your favourite. And also, who do you think is the Patti Waggin of our generation? Remember to show your support by liking this video and subscribing to the channel. Enabling post notifications will ensure that you don’t miss any of our daily uploads. Catch you in the next one.

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