Dick Cepek a Legendary Career

Only a select few in this world get to be inducted into the hall of fame of their respective career. It is a true recognition of greatness and accomplishment. For Dick Cepek, it was recognition for being one of the greatest men in off-roading history.

dick cepekDick Cepek’s hard work and dedication earned him a place in the SEMA Hall of Fame.

Early Life

Dick Cepek was born in 1930 in Hillsboro, Wisconsin, but his family soon moved to Columbus, Ohio. In Columbus, Dick’s father worked in the maintenance department of a trucking department, and it was there that Dick was first introduced to the automotive world. Growing up around automotive maintenance gave Dick an understanding of vehicles and heavily influenced the innovations that he would one day come up with.

Building an Industry of Greatness

Shortly after getting married, Cepek bought a Land Rover and started driving into Californian desert with his wife and young son. These hunting and camping trips became a regular happening for the family. However, with each trip, Cepek noticed that his tires were not wide or durable enough to handle the terrain.

At that point, he collaborated with the Armstrong Rubber company and designed a new tire that would better suit his needs. After friends saw the success of his tire, they requested that Cepek make tires for them as well. Soon, Cepek’s garage at home was filled wall to wall with tires that were being sold. The immediate success pushed Cepek into taking out an ad in Sunset Magazine and purchasing a barber shop in South Gate, California, which he eventually transformed into the first Dick Cepek Headquarters.

baja 1000The Baja 1000 is one of the biggest annual off-roading events in the country.

Impact on Off-Roading

Within a few years, Cepek’s company was so large that it was supplying tires nationwide. But, Cepek wasn’t satisfied with just being a tire manufacturer; he also wanted to get involved in off-roading. In 1966, Cepek and a few of his buddies drove across the Baja Desert in an attempt to set a new record for four wheeled racing.

Not only did they establish a new record, but they also decided that off-roading needed a more organized system to facilitate completion. It was at this time that they came up with the “National Off-Road Racing Association” (NORRA).The National Off-Road Racing Association’s premier event is the Baja 1000.

For over 45 years, the Baja 1000 has been attracting the industry’s top manufacturers and competitors, and is an essential part of the off-roading world.

Hall of Fame

Over the years, Dick Cepek was extremely influential in the off-roading world and has been inducted into numerous Hall of Fames. One of his earliest inductions was for the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1978. However, the most emotional induction may have been his induction into the SEMA Hall of Fame just a short time after his untimely death in 1983. The event served as a welcomed celebration of Dick Cepek, a man that forever changed off-roading and is one of the greatest examples of the American dream coming true.

By: Tim Snyder
Posted on October 7th, 2013
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