Former biker chick, Motorcylce Mary, brings common sense to managing finances in a special presentation in Pratt on Thursday.
There’s more to “Motorcyle Mary” than the motorcycles of her past life and the bejeweled instruments she now creates in her spare time.
Mary McCune of Pratt will soon be giving another financial seminar, sharing what she terms a “life shift” that can help others deal with financial problems.
Motorcycle Mary’s next seminar, sponsored by The Hope Center, will be Thursday night at the Pratt Senior Citizen Center, 619 North Main Street. There will be a light dinner provided at 5:30, followed by the seminar from 6 to 8 p.m. and childcare will be provided.
Registrations for the meal and seminar should be made with The Hope Center by 5 p.m. Wednesday with the first 20 registrants receiving a $20 gift card. Call 620-933-2166 to register.
Those completing the course successfully will receive $50 to open a Savings Account.
Motorcycle Mary said she always opens her seminar sessions with these words:
“I especially want to thank my last four husbands who didn’t think I had anything to say and now people are paying me to talk.”
Several years ago McCune wrote a book about dealing with everyday financial issues called “Motorcycle Mary’s School of Finance: Let Us Whip You into Shape!” It is a mainstay of her seminars and is also available on CD.
The book is prefaced by this disclaimer: “I do not teach finances – I teach spending habits. I can’t teach what I don’t know and I don’t know stocks, bond, and investments.”
However, spending habits are something McCune knows very well from her “wild child” biker years when her own spending habits were pretty much out of control.
“I could paper the wall of a room with my bounced checks in those days,” McCune said.
It was her cousin Ed Logan whom she visited in Florida in 1997, seeking help to get a handle on her finances, who made her realize that she wasn’t stupid about money.
“I had just been spending stupidly, “ she said. “That was the first time in my life where I was totally honest and upfront about my income, my outlay of cash, and how much I really had leftover, and I was 44 years old! Boy, did I feel dumb!”
Now, McCune said, the goal of her seminars is to teach others how to spend wisely.
The seminars are based on how to open a savings account with as little as $10 to $25 month and how to improve daily spending habits.
In the early days, when she was starting to give the seminars, friends Jeanne Asbury and Vickie Fincham were McCune’s comrades-in-arms. They passed out flyers and relied on word-of-mouth to draw attendance for the seminars which were held upstairs in the old Jetts building, corner of Main and Third streets.
Her published book followe after Linda Hedden told McCune that if she didn’t write a book, she would have no credibility.’”
McCune credits former Chamber of Commerce Director Jeanette Siemens with an early-on suggestion to take a Franklin/Covey time management workshop, which she said set her on a course of goal-setting and prioritizing.
According to McCune, her first venture into the financial seminar arena came in October 2000 through Jean Tharp of First American Title Insurance Company, who asked her if she would teach a workshop for first home buyers that was presented in two segments: budgeting, followed by buying a home.
Christa Smith, loan officer at The Peoples Bank, attended one of McCune’s presentations in Liberal, Kan. and recommended to Peoples Bank President Porter Loomis that the bank hire McCune to present seminars on controlling personal finances.
“And he did!” McCune said.
Later, after McCune had made a presentation at Pratt High School sponsored by The Peoples Bank, she ecalled that she was giving a manicure at her North Main salon when Loomis and Smith walked in.
In Chapter One of her book, McCune wrote that she thought there wasn’t an overdraft she could have written that would warrant both of them coming to see her.
But they weren’t there to harass Motorcycle Mary about the bounced checks from The Peoples Bank that could have papered her walls in years past.
“Instead, Porter sat down and read me every thank you letter from the kids I had taught only two weeks before,” she said. “They were all positive and a lot of them were quite moving. I felt my life shift, actually shift, like a definite movement in my soul.”
McCune said she likes it that her mix of humor and practical advice have coined her as a “motivational financial humorist.”
As for the motorcycles that made her memorable in Pratt history, McCune doesn’t really have one anymore. But it will always be part of her legacy of being a “biker chick” a few decades ago, she said.
McCune’s artistic career of bejeweling musical instruments, plaques, light switch covers, whatever she takes a fancy to, started six years ago when her mother, Mae Steckman, was in her last stage of life at age 98. McCune was having trouble sleeping and started getting up in the middle of the night, looking for something to do with her hands to distract her from thinking about losing her Mom.
“I had some costume jewelry and a fiddle and I started disassembling the jewelry and using the stones to decorate the face of the fiddle,” McCune said. “It kind of got out of hand and I kept looking for the next project.”
One of McCune’s decorated string instruments will be included in a display at Vernon Filley Art Museum starting October 5 through April 13, 2019, with a listed sales price of $3,500. McCune is also on standby to exhibit her bejeweled creations at a museum in Hutchinson.
Back to her personal history, McCune said, when it came time for her to go house-hunting, she purchased her home at 314 W. Second Street because it was in need of repair and the price was right. She spent the next two years living with carpenter tools and help from friends to transform it into a comfortable home with her artist workshop in the basement.
Her good friend Susie Farmer helped McCune set up her workshop. Farmer, through her Susie’s Estate Sales business, is also a good source of materials for McCune’s projects.
McCune said most of her art projects are not for sale.
“I like my stuff so well, I like to keep it. Why should I sell it?” she said.
On the first floor of her home, McCune set up a room for her other business of manicures, pedicures and haircuts, after closing her salon on North Main Street. She doesn’t do perms or provide any chemical services.