Article By: Milwaukee Mike
Photos By: Jeff Ruttinger
Originally Published In The August 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
January brought the third incarnation of the Cycle Showcase STL, an event that I have had the pleasure of bringing to the faithful readers since 2013. This go around was different than the previous with a change of venue, and the time of year that it took place. It changed from The Pageant, a famed venue in the part of St. Louis known as “The Loop” to this year being held in a long abandoned nightclub/ warehouse with a nefarious past. The show is now a late winter event, occurring at the end of January instead of the dead of summer when the weather in the St.Louis is, well…let’s just say steamy …. to be nice. Thanks to our lovely El Nino winter, daytime temps this year were in the 60’s and with the venue all shined up the show was on! Because of the uncertainty of the weather, the outdoor portion of the previous years’ event was scaled back, but that didn’t mean Cycle Showcase STL favorites, The American Motordrome Wall of Death didn’t come. They just didn’t bring the whole wall along. They came with an old Indian Scout and a set of bally rollers to show off their skills to the unaware. This was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg; the show was a sight to see as Randall “the Gentleman of Leisure” Noldge outdid himself again as he always has in the past. I was lucky that this last winter afforded me the time to come down a couple of days ahead to watch the whole show come together, it was magical to watch. It also gave me great perspective into how much work goes into putting a show like this on, most folks just see the beauty of the day not the herculean amount of work it takes to make it all happen. There is an art to set lighting, create ambiance and construct a setting in which everything has the perfect balance of art and badass, and Randy is a master at it.
The show this year maintained the theme of amazing pieces of rolling art on multilevel papered platforms. Each bikes basic info was artfully hand scripted onto those blank white canvases by local tattoo artist Kelly Lee. It was quite a treat to watch her work her freehand lettering magic. The variety of bikes were of course the stars of the show, there were machines from Bare Knuckle Choppers, Flat Broke Chops & Rods, Twisted Choppers, Imperial House, and Walking Tall Cycles just to name a few. The St. Louis chapter of the AMCA always shared a few treasures, as well as Munganast Motorsports Museum who brought in a couple of the vintage competition bikes from their vast collection. There was a host of antique brit bikes from the Donnelson Collection as well as Classic Motorcycle Co., which had the ease of being only one door away from the venue. One of these days I will return to St. Lou just to tell the story of this amazing place. Other highlights included the his and hers bikes from Shortsters of Nebraska, the hundred-year-old Indian, the drag bike and vintage Cleveland motorcycle of Cabana Dan. Another bike that was front and center was the super clean shovelhead from Majic Mike, which our faithful readers will see very soon. Making the trek to the show with two custom Cushman based long bodied scooters was Insanity Scooter Works, an Austin TX based shop. Flying Tiger Motorcycles brought a super 1916 Triumph that was positioned next to a 2016 Victory electric powered motorcycle, which further emphasized the diversity and variety that Cycle Showcase STL has become synonymous with. Another aspect of the show was the walls and small spaces filled with art from artists like Darren McKeag, who brought surfboards, helmets and gas tanks all adorned with his one of a kind art. Also on hand were Mandy Morazotti with her motocentric sculptures, Missi Shoemaker with her photos, and JoAnn Kargus with her paintings to round out the artistic side of the show.
As I mentioned earlier the Wall of Death brought their bally reels and about every 90 min they would throw open the overhead door and the building would crackle with electric excitement as the old Indian was kicked to life and the exhaust note and smell of hot 50 weight would fill the air. I watched the show a handful of times over the weekend and I noticed that the faces of grown men and women had the same expression as the young kids that were on parents’ shoulders, the look of pure fascination. I found myself with the same goofy smile everyone had that runs right to the core and for a glimmer of a moment you dream about running off to join the circus, man I love when that happens. The final icing on the cake of the St Louis Cycle Showcase 2016 was the basement of the venue holding some of the best micro brewed beer that St Louis has to offer. Let’s not forget Sugarfire BBQ that smoked the tastiest brisket, pulled pork and chicken I have had in ages.
The Cycle Showcase STL wasn’t just about the show, Randall had a whole weekend of planned merriment, after Fridays load in the Pin-Up Bowl hosted a preparty sponsored by Bare Knuckle Choppers, and a certain goof from Milwaukee got a bit smashed, all par for the course on a weekend like this. On Saturday night, legendary Trader Bob’s Tattoo sponsored the official Cycle Showcase STL after party. After a load of door prizes were handed out, St Louis favorites, the Spark Thugs, made some musical magic and brought the party to a head. It was a great night that rounded out in great conversations on the rooftop bar at the Moonrise Hotel. This 4-star boutique hotel where all Cycle Showcase STL exhibitors are put up is another must do if you are in St Louis. Sunday brought another beautiful day and the show was on, the vibe is always a little different with daylight looming. Everyone was moving a little slower, it was still a good time but a bit bittersweet because the load out was looming and I had to say goodbye to a lot of true friends from the area. If you’re looking for something cool to do in the dead of winter or just want to get your gears turning for the next motorcycle season be sure to schedule a trip to St. Louis and check out Cycle Showcase. You can stay up to date with 2017 planning at cycleshowcasestl.com or on Facebook Randy sends his heartfelt thanks to Ackerman Toyota for sponsoring this event, and to his family and friends for their support, without all of them Cycle Showcase may not have been possible.