Dee and Tim Dimmick

Dee and Tim Dimmick

Mechanics and Heros

“I’ve been working with automobiles for most of my life. My dad did his own mechanical work. When he went out to work on our car, I liked to be out there with him.”

Tim Dimmick grew up in Riddle, Oregon. (Near Salem) “I should have finished school, but I didn’t. Our kids don’t want to finish school either. But, they will finish.”

When he was 18, Tim’s family moved to Tucson, AZ,  where he took training in diesel mechanics at ABC Tech. “I learned some things there. Quite a few things. It was different than working on the gassers I was used to.”

“Then, I met Deanna and about a year later we got married. We tramped around the country for a while. Colorado and Arkansas and Washington and back to Oregon and then to Arizona again. We didn’t have kids, then.”

Tim did a little bit of a lot of jobs along the way. “But, you always come back to mechanical work. You’re always fixing something. Even if it’s under a tree and you’re own stuff.”

Tim worked in the septic business, pouring concrete for ten to twelve years before coming to Montana. But, his passion was racing cars. “I raced cars for eight years. Went from an old beater to a Chevy Malibu, late model Sportsman.”

Dee was the cameraman. “Women used to ask me, ‘How do you let your husband do that?’ Well, I had much rather he be working and spending his money on cars than sitting in a bar drinking.”

Tim tells the story of one of his early cars, a ‘72 Plymouth Satellite. “I sold it to my uncle who turned it into a race car. After we came back to Tucson from tramping around, I went looking for sponsors for racing. One of my stops was at Frodo Auto Salvage. I asked the woman owner if she might sponsor me and she said, ‘I think there’s a race car out there right now.’ It turned out to be my old Plymouth. She gave me the car and parts and tires.”

Sponsors paid for entry fees and parts, high-dollar parts. “I did my own mechanical work, body and paint work.”

How much time did you spend on racing? Deanna answers for Tim, “Every single night after work, often till midnight and all day Saturday. At first, I got mad about it. But, I enjoyed the racing and I knew where he was.”

Dimmick started racing on a dirt track. After a year, it was asphalt. “We raced every Saturday night, April to November. We paid $100 yearly license to NASCAR and a weekly entry fee of $25 to drive at Tucson Raceway Park.

“We drove on a 3/8 mile track. The races went 25 laps. We got up to hundred-mile-per-hour speeds on the track. We had qualifying rounds, heats and finals every Saturday.

“There were a lot of crashes. I ended up doing lots of body work during the week. But, we got to meet famous people like Chuck Norris.”

Tim only had one major crash in his career. That one put him in the hospital and out of racing. “It just knocked me a little dingy.”

That crash occurred when one of Dimmick’s main sponsors attended the race. The crash upset him and his wife quite a bit. He pulled his sponsorship and told Tim, “I couldn’t live with myself if you got killed or injured.”

Before he gave it up, Dee says that, “Tim was in the Winner’s Circle a lot. He was Rookie of the Year in 1992.”

Did Dee ever drive a race car? “I wanted to drive at one time, but I got pregnant and started having a family. They used to have a Powder Puff division in racing. But now, they don’t. They stick the women in right there with the men.”

The Dimmicks moved to Montana in 1999. “My dad (Harold) always wanted to come up here to hunt and fish. We had a septic tank business which we sold just before moving to Montana. By that time, he was starting to get sick. Dad passed away in ‘03.”

Dimmick’s Auto Repair opened up in Roundup shortly after the move. Tim was doing mechanical work for Hard Drives Asphalt Company in Billings during the day and auto repair at home at night. Before long Hard Drives sent their business to him in Roundup.

After Tim’s father died, the Dimmicks decided to come over to Harlowton in September ‘04. They started business here in the old service station west of Dick’s Barbershop. In a year, Gordon Jones offered them the chance to buy Dempster’s old gas station and they took him up on it.

Dee says, “We do a lot of tires and oil services, brakes and mufflers. Timmy Frick has been working for us, lately. He knows a little bit about everything. Hopefully, by the time he leaves here, he will know a lot more. He is very polite, considerate and a good worker.”

The Dimmicks plan to add two bays on the east side of their building and an office space on the west this year. Then, they will have more space to work and and more space for the “hangout” which sees different crews come through in the morning, afternoon and early evening.

With a separate office space, Dee will be better able to keep up with clerical work. Mrs. D. is the bookkeeper, secretary, parts person, and all round gopher.

Lately, she has been spending lots of her “free” time on an EMT-Basic class at the hospital. “I always wanted to be a paramedic or a cop. Actually, I wanted to be a CSI.” For the time being, Dee is taking the 110-hour EMT class with 11 others. The class started in January, is held on Monday and Tuesday evening and is led by Kim Miller, Scot Mitchell, and Dwight Thompson.

The Dimmicks have three teenagers to keep up with. Travis just graduated and is getting ready for a job in Billings. Tiffanie is a sophomore and Ryenn is an 8th grader.

There is a fair amount of musical talent in the Dimmick family. Tim took up after his father with the guitar and Travis has done much of the same. “Tim has been singing his whole life. He plays the guitar and keyboards and bass. Travis follows in his father’s footsteps too, at least with music.”

Tim took up Karaoke in 1990 after a friend introduced him to it. “He practices every night in spells. He performs for holiday functions.”

One night not too long ago, “Travis came and asked me if he could take my Karaoke system up to the Sportsman’s. Then, he begged me to come up and sing. So, we went up and sang for an hour and a half, and had a good time.”

Dimmick sings mostly Country and Christian music, again following his father’s lead. “My dad was my hero. Things aren’t that way these days. But, my dad played the guitar. I had to be like him. Being left-handed, I learned to play upside down and backwards.”

Doing things upside down and backwards is not so unusual for most mechanics. Hopefully, Tim Dimmick can remind us to do things like Dad used to.

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“You don’t make no money when you work and you don’t make no money when you don’t work.” Tim Dimmick