A Week on the Road with Bandit, Hammer, Englishman, and Edge

by Jeff Najar, Partner

Awards Ceremony on the Big Stage @ the Harley-Davidson Museum
AMD Invitational Awards Ceremony on the Big Stage @ the Harley-Davidson Museum

Choppers, Bobbers & Custom Bikes

I’m sitting here at 30,000 feet coming in exactly one week from the time I started this campaign beginning at the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary celebration. Along with my co-hort, Bob Kay, we produced the AMD Invitational Custom Bike Show at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

It was a kick ass show with 31 exceptional bikes. Over 1.8 million in rolling iron. You can see the write up at Bikernet, IronWorks Magazine or Cycle Source Magazine.

Speaking of Bandit, I twisted his arm for about a month until he relented and flew into Milwaukee to award the Bikernet Editor’s Choice award at the AMD Custom Show. He’s media royalty so we sent the limo and chauffeured him around during the Harley-Davidson 110th Celebration.

Editor's Choice Winner
Don Weimer’s Bastard Deluxe Won Editor’s Choice
Bandit Awards the 5 Ball Trophy
Bandit Awards the 5 Ball Trophy

He selected Don Weimer’s Bastard Deluxe, a 2012 Weimer Pro Street /Drag motorcycle. It’s a low slung board tracker that is powered by a H-D Twin Cam 107 and painted Kandy Tangerine over Black. Bandit is featuring the sled in an upcoming issue of Bikernet.

For 2013, Bandit as well as Marilyn Stemp of IronWorks were awarded the participation support plaque for supporting custom motorcycle industry.

Marilyn Stemp receives the Biker Pros Participation Award
Marilyn Stemp receives the Biker Pros Participation Award
Bandit Receives his Participation Plaque
Bandit Receives his Participation Plaque

When not doing video interviews with the builders, he was paling around with Willie G and Bill Davidson. After 2 days he had enough of the celebration and raced off for an early morning flight to SOCAL for sponsorship meetings on his Bonneville project.

Details on sponsorship are forthcoming. And since I’m in charge of sponsor procurement, give me a jingle at jeff @ BikerPros.com if you would like to talk about the 2014 campaign and how it can further your business goals and/or personal prestige.

At the AMD Custom Bike Show I averaged 16 hour days. Lordie, it was hot and the people watching was even hotter. There is no way to way to see all the bikes and experience all the activity over the 3 day event. As Jeremy Cupp of LC Fabrications and Clay Rathburn of Atom Bomb Motorcycles belched in unison, The Pabst Blue Ribbon beer tour was killer.

AS GTP sez…

All I can say is, “God bless the modified motorcycle.” “And us idiots that ride ‘em!”

Next Stop, Detroit

On Monday I flew to Detroit to talk with Edge, producer of the Smoke Out Rally, Hammer, Publisher of The Horse Backstreet Choppers Magazine and Englishman, Editor.

The Horse World HQ
The Horse Magazine’s World HQ

We completed our negotiations on Tuesday early and Edge and I left for Detroit to check out the sights. We decided to follow Hammer’s ride article in the September 2013 edition of the magazine.

We blasted into the city on I-75, pulling off Rosa Parks exit. Just a block or so away was Slows’ BBQ, near the old train station.

Hammer and Englishmen found Slows just “ok.” We found it outstanding. The fresh squeezed lemonade was killer good. The ribs cooked to perfection and the mac n’ cheese as good as the locals boast. And, Edge wouldn’t shut up about their Pit-Smoked Beans; they are smoked for hours and full of pulled pork.

Hammer and Englishmen also found the service to be just like their name… slow. We found just the opposite… Hmmm, I think difference is we are much better looking.

The Detroit Experience
As seen in the September Issue of the Horse

Across the street is an old Hotel that went by the name, The Roosevelt Hotel, which is on 14th Street. It was built to accommodate travelers from the train station. Today the hotel and the train station are dilapidating messes. But not so fast, as I looked into the Roosevelt Hotel I saw electricity hooked up and lights on… “I’m thinking a crack franchise.” No workers but building supplies and electrical power. I’ll keep in contact with Hammer to see how the reclamation project comes along.

The Detroit Experience
The Detroit Experience – Edge Strikes a Pose

Last Stop, Vinsetta Garage

Considered a Top 10 Restaurant in Detroit's Metro Area
Considered a Top 10 Restaurant in Detroit’s Metro Area

Before heading to the airport there was just one additional landmark to check out. Along Detroit’s famed Woodward Avenue sits the Vinsetta Garage, an art deco building that is the oldest automobile repair shop East of the Mississippi River, built in 1919. It was big in the cruise-seen back in the muscle car mastodon age.

Vinsetta Garage off Woodward Avenue
Vinsetta Garage off Woodward Avenue

Back in 2010 it was bought by Autoweek’s publisher and converted into a restaurant. Vinsetta is not a car-themed restaurant; it’s a true garage that houses a restaurant. Out front, two old-fashioned gas pumps have been converted to electric charging stations where customers can charge their electric vehicle at no charge.

It has a cool vibe and patina. Automobile, racing memorabilia and old repair receipts are used as wallpaper. The bathroom floors are laid with pennies and old Stromberg carburetors are converted into desk lamps.

Walking out of the garage, I picked up one of their calendars. A couple of our Ultimate Builder competitors, Whiskey Bent Choppers and Voodoo Choppers, along with Hot Rods and pin ups from around Detroit are prominently displayed.

As Edge and I headed to the airport I realized that Labor Day is the final custom bike show of the season for Biker Pros. We have produced 16 events, seen millions in rolling stock, met 500 builders and awarded over $140,000 in cash and prizes. What a crazy trip it’s been.

Our 2013 – 2014 season is just around the corner. Check the schedule at Custom Bike Shows as the first show kicks off in NORCAL on October 25, 2013.

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