Dylan is a frequent visitor at Farmer & Co. in Unionville, Pennsylvania, where PennBilt’s quant office is based. “Farmer” is a bit of a communal hub, serving exceptional coffee and farm-to-table treats, attracting a bit of a creative crowd. As it would happen, Bill’s wife Lisa knew Dylan through the photography world and made the introduction. One day in the spring, Bill and Dylan struck on a conversation regarding Dylan’s summer plans to backpack in Europe and run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
Traditional clothing for The Running of the Bulls required a white shirt and light-colored pants, offset by a flaming red scarf. Historically, khakis were used as camouflage - so what better way to blend in to the sea of half crazed men running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain? A pair of the stone Plainsman, equipped with just the right amount of stretch, seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
Photo Credits from Pamplona, Spain - Madison Smith Photography
Photo Credits below, Lisa Thomas
We’re happy to report that Dylan and his PennBilt's returned from Europe relatively unscathed (with the exception of some well earned stains) ready to tell his story. Bill’s wife Lisa, who manages the marketing for PennBilt, sat down with Dylan to interview him for this article, and after the conversation unfolded - we felt that the true spirit of his adventure is best captured through Dylan’s voice.
So grab your favorite libation, get comfortable, and enjoy this first hand experience this adrenaline pumping account of Pamplona's Running of the Bulls (Dylan Francis style)!
Interview and Article
Lisa Thomas, Brand Farm LLC
The following article was featured in the 2023 Coatesville Invitational Vintage Grand Prix program.
Returning from their scenic home base of New Boston, New Hampshire, Brian Carroll and Heather Carroll Wiggin are featured participants in the Coatesville Invitational Vintage Grand Prix. This father-and-daughter sidecar team will amaze onlookers with their impressive showmanship and driving skills.
In 2022, Heather and her father Brian were originally entered in the 6th annual CIVGP, but sadly had to withdraw as Brian was diagnosed with cancer, requiring a series of aggressive treatments. His successful recovery from cancer is what makes this year much more sweet.
“We had to put everything on hold and get him back to being better. We set small goals and he was back recently on a solo bike for the first time. Once he was feeling stronger we decided to do Coatesville. It was a good goal. We are super excited to be back!” stated Heather.
The Carroll/Wiggin families hail from generations of horsepower enthusiasts. As a child, in New England, Brian and his father were into vintage bikes & motorcycles. “Anything that had a motor and went fast, my Dad was into it. He went into the service, and when the Vietnam Vets came back from war - the open road was appealing to them”, said Heather.
As an adult, Heather has continued her own obsession with the sport, partnering with her father in a variety of competitions and exhibitions throughout New England and down south. In addition to her husband and son being serious motocross competitors, Heather is also the Director of the UCRA/FIM Vintage Classic at Loudon which kicks off Bike Week in June where they just celebrated their 100th anniversary hill climb!
The 1971 BMW R75 Sidecar, which they will be competing in the CIVGP, was custom-fabricated by Brian Carroll for racing purposes. Twenty-seven years ago, when Heather was 21, they originally purchased a BSA sidecar out of California and raced it together for 10 years. They then upgraded to the Super Vintage Sidecar class in 2006, which required a faster more modern motor. The 1971 BMW R75 engine had faster displacement and fit the bill.
They purchased the current rig from a taller father/son team, so the entire sidecar deck had to be modified and custom fit to Heather’s size and height. Through trial and error, they went back to the drawing board and did the math to shorten up the deck. In the early days of modifying the sidecar, Heather’s husband Sam would give her anniversary gifts in the form of safety equipment as a humorous nod to the amount of bruises she endured.
Together Heather and her Dad have raced the USCRA series at the Loudon, New Hampshire Speedway (their home track) and the Super Vintage Classes through the ARMA & USCRA, which are all sanctioned by the AMA (American Motorcycle Association). With the help of their mechanic, Peter Tallibeck from Mock I Racing, they have also competed in Cananda at Shubenacadie (Shubie) in Nova Scotia, Shannonville Motorsport Park in Montreal and Mosport International Speedway in Toronto.
After the Coatesville Grand Prix, they will head south to the ARMA events in Jennings, Florida, Savannah & Leads, Georgia and their season will conclude at Barber Motor Sports in Birmingham, Alabama. Barber Motor Sports is a destination event, where bike enthusiasts flock to for the Vintage Bike Museum and Barber Vintage Festival in October. “One of my most favorite memories was riding my sidecar off the track into the museum with my Dad,” reminisced Heather.
The Coatesville Grand Prix Committee is proud to have Brian and Heather back on the course. This team is always a crowd favorite! ~ Lisa Thomas
Capital Square Honors Owners Who Support the Sport of Eventing!
Bill Thomas announces the launch of PennBilt Brand, defining the faithful evolution of authentic American Khakis.
Bill Thomas has spent his life creating, launching and building consumer brands. PennBilt Brand, Bills Khakis, Duck Head, Levis/Dockers and Scott Barber are all household names that Bill has either created, launched or contributed to over the past 30 years.
As the founder and CEO of Bills Khakis, the company was ranked 5 times in INC. Magazine’s Inner-City 100 and Bill was honored as Pennsylvania’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
2022 marks a new era for Bill Thomas with the launch of PennBilt Brand, a continuation of a life’s work, focused on American-made, that started with the discovery of a pair of WWII khakis.
From the PennBilt Brand website:
Today, PennBilt's design philosophy has evolved to blend the best of old and new.
PennBilt Brand will continue to support American manufacturing as a first alternative and choose supply partners
who respect their employees and the environment.
Our mission is simple.
Design & Produce Khakis of Exceptional Quality and Lasting Value.
~ Bill Thomas, PennBilt Brand
PennBilt Brand will soft launch to retail stores in the Fall of 2022.
Marketing efforts, website design and social media strategy will be done in partnership with
Brand Farm co-founder , Lisa Thomas.
Full site launch expected November 2022.
For more information please visit, www.PennBilt.com.
The 2022 Coatesville Invitational Vintage Grand Prix was a roaring success! The 6th annual CIVGP experienced many impressive successes including; a sold-out crowd at the Western Chester County Chamber's Thursday night PrixView Party, the largest number of car enthusiasts coming to the Friday Evening Cruise-In, the first year of hosting the new Jeff D'Ambrosio Beer Garden and overwhelming enthusiasm for the area youth's first annual Soapbox Derby!
In her second year as Sponsorship Director, Lisa Thomas is very pleased to announce that our CIVGP Event Committee raised record sponsorship dollars, allowing the city of Coatesville to continue to host this premier event, which benefits Parks & Recreation initiatives.
In addition, the event garnered the attention of many of our region's major media outlets, including the Daily Local News, Vista Today, Telemundo 69 News and a segment on Kelly Drives, Fox 29 News! Below is a sampling of 2022 Press Coverage
Coatesville Vintage Grand Prix Attracts Thousands of Spectators as Drivers Roar Through City Streets
Thousands flocked to the City of Coatesville for the sixth annual Coatesville Invitational Vintage Grand Prix. Fans were treated to the thrill of watching drivers of vintage racing cars and motorcycles dating from 1900 to 1977 compete individually over a challenging 2.2-mile road course that wound through the heart of historic Coatesville, complete with old-style straw bales.
Telemundo 62 and NBC10 news anchor Jaime Becerril and professional motorsports announcer Bobb Rayner called the action as spectators lined the streets for an up-close look at vehicles and mingled with drivers in pit row. The free, family-friendly event included shopping, games, a soap box derby, a beer garden, and food vendors. The Coatesville Invitational Vintage Grand Prix is the only remaining Grand Prix in North America still run through city streets........
READ FULL ARTICLE IN VISTA TODAY
Community shines during citywide Grand Prix celebration