Article By: Chris Callen
Photos By: Heather Callen
Originally Published In The November 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
This year the good folks at the Iron Horse and Broken Spoke Saloons gave me the privilege to try something new during the Sturgis Rally. The premise was to take some of the top industry craftsmen and builders, outfit a stage as if it was one of our own shops, fit them with a headset and let the crowd watch them do their thing. During the entire time they were working we made them accessible to not only the audience on hand but the entire FaceBook world by streaming each show through FaceBook Live video. The stage was named the “Grease & Gears Garage” and I could not have dreamed how well this would have gone over. The whole endeavor began, as most things do, with me having an idea and then asking everyone around me for the help I would need to pull it off. Namely this came down to Mark and Heather who worked tirelessly the month before Sturgis to get the whole thing promoted and then pack up our whole shop to build the stage. Yeah, almost every tool I owned was in Sturgis and some that I had to borrow and pick up along the way. In any event, by Saturday night we were assembling the rolling chassis that would be given away as out best of show trophy late in the week. The tools were in order and the stage was set. Throughout the week we had every manner and interesting aspect from the T custom bike world represented: bending handlebars with Taber Nash, who gave his finished product out to the crowd upon completion. There was a frame building seminar from Will Ramsey of Faith Forgotten Choppers who used a frame jig to assemble raw steel tubing that was cut, notched and bent right on the stage.
Special thanks goes out to Mittler Brothers who has been our tool sponsor for years. Bagger Nations own Paul Yaffe took a brand new bagger and did a Bagger Nation Rehab in just a short three hours and for part of that time he and artists Darren McKeag shared the stage. While Paul worked to finish his build Darren custom painted a Biltwell helmet with a Sturgis design. Darren then auctioned the helmet off for the Aidan Jack Seeger Foundation, bringing in a cool $600. Two great human beings, since Paul himself ended up being the high bidder on that helmet. The scene during their combined show was a great reminder that there are no real boundaries in this thing we do. Sure, people have different tastes but working with your hands and creating rules all. Of course, one of the main highlights was the Led Sled crew who not only hardtailed a customer’s Sportster frame live but held a seminar on the proper mixing and consumption of Sailor Jerry Rum at the same time. Under the careful; guidance of Pat Jansen the crew went to work and even brought in Xavier Muriel from Buckcherry to handle the welding. Joe Mielke of Snap Fab fame brought people out of the crowd to teach hand shaping of sheet metal. In his three single hour seminars he used simple tools to show us extraordinary creations. At the point when we left Sturgis there had been just under a dozen performances on the Grease & Gears Garage and from those over 600,000 impressions came in from FaceBook. The audience on site loved it but the real treat was being able to give a little part of Sturgis to those who couldn’t make it this year. So, if you missed this whole deal, take a minute and look over the Cycle Source FaceBook Live videos and watch for news on the next time we open the doors for the Grease & Gears Garage.