On Sunday, April 11, this world lost a truly unique soul. He was a brother, an artist, a gifted motorcycle builder and mechanic, and one of the most genuine people anyone could ever be lucky enough to know on this earth.
Steven Lee Cluff was his name, but to those who loved him, he was Steve-O.
Steve-O was gifted at anything and everything he took an interest in. When he rolled out the build of his personal bike, a generator lower end/evolution top end motor, a transmission oil level site glass, and so many self-engineered one of a kind parts of just sheer brilliance, there was a comment from one of “our group” that pretty much summed up his capabilities… ”F--- a bunch of Arlen Ness!”
Now, Steve-O was well known in many motorcycling circles. His wit, charm and easygoing demeanor afforded him access anywhere he went. Steve-O had the ability to meet someone in passing and speak to them like a lifelong friend. These attributes afforded him people’s confidence. If he worked on anything of yours, you already knew it would be done to perfection.
He was a partner in the Wyoming Performance Motorcycles shop, and he and his partner Dano turned out some fine work and many beautiful motorcycles. He was also a mechanic for Salt Lake Harley-Davidson, and a member of the pit crew on the Top Fuel motorcycle racing team. Steve-O truly loved racing and cherished the time spent traveling around the country and going fast with crew chief Mike Sullivan. He always said, “there’s nothin’ like the smell of nitro first thing in the morning.”
He was always a big part of the annual motorcycle rally in Evanston. More than once when there was a rider brokdown, Steve-O would come to their rescue. Complete stranger or a close friend, didn’t matter. He would take a part off his own motorcycle to get another rider’s bike running and back on the road. I saw him do this more than once. For more than 40 years he was a staple ingredient of the annual Stag Run. He was a part of so many of the incidents “our group” calls the classics, they are too numerous to list here. He is one side of the heartbeat to that run.
Steve-O’s artistry went far beyond motorcycle building. He was a gifted painter, a scrimshander, and a pinstriper. His work included life-sized paintings of motorcycles, pin striping on bikes and vehicles, and intricate carvings of goose and ostrich eggs. Everything Steve-O did had his unmistakable imprint of talent, perfection and love of craftsmanship.
Steve-O had the innate quality of making everything he became a part of better. Everything. A motorcycle build. A motorcycle ride. Any conversation. Anyone’s life. Anyone’s day. A re-run of Leave it to Beaver or Andy Griffith. Everything. He had a sense of humor that was absolutely inescapable. Three minutes with Steve-O on your crappiest day would end up in laughter. His sense of humor extended to himself, too. He could laugh at himself just as heartily, which is a prized asset amongst “our group.”
Anyone who ever knew Steve-O, even for a short time, will feel his loss greatly, and harbor many fond memories of him. That is a testament to the influence and goodness that was just Steve-O. The world truly lost a wonderful and unique fellow. Our group lost a giant.
Steve-O is survived by his brother, Ben; and wife, Tanya; three nieces and one nephew, and everyone of you who shed a tear at his passing — especially the care givers from Cowboy Cares who made Steve-O’s last few years so much easier. In our book, you gals will always be a special part of “our group”
RIP, Big Casino.
A memorial will be held June 5, at the Knight’s Inn in Evanston.