More Than A Bike Show
Originally Published In The March 2020 Issue
Article By: Missi Shoemaker Photos By: Missi Shoemaker, Camel & Jimmy Jouny
Bill Dodge’s BC Moto Invitational is held during the Tennessee Motorcycles and Music Revival. This was the third year for the invitational and there is no better place to have it than the picturesque backdrop of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. The horse stables at the ranch made a perfect location for the custom motorcycles to be put on display. This year the barn was home to around 40 iron horses, all built by some of the most talented builders in the industry.
The BC Moto Invitational is much like a family reunion, the custom motorcycle builders are hand-picked by Bill Dodge himself, and each bring their own unique style to the show. One of the great things about this show, is that the builders are on hand and are very approachable. Most set up a small booth in the pavilion outside the barn. They sell swag and specialty parts, and all are eager to speak to the rally-goers and answer any questions they might have about their bikes or their products.
Of course, this also means that they have a great opportunity to socialize with each other and build even stronger bonds. This is why the TMMR & BC Moto Invitational are often referred to as a “Family Reunion!” As with any family, it sometimes gets pretty dysfunctional and crazy… nighttime brings on the party, and there is so much fun to be had. From riding minibikes around the campground (there might even be fire involved at times) to racing on the dirt track or just hanging out and listening to the nightly bands. Fun is definitely part of this equation. The fun isn’t limited to the builders, as I said before, they are very much approachable, and many new friendships are made during this event.
I had an opportunity to sit down with Bill Dodge, founder of the BC Moto Invitational and hear his inspiration for the show and some of his thoughts now that it is growing.
Bill stated that he had wanted a place to showcase a diversified group of builders, where they could get noticed by the public, show off their talents to their peers and meet other likeminded individuals in the industry. Dodge wanted to provide place that they could get together in a fun atmosphere, make new friends and have their personalities shine farther than “Hey look at my bike”. It is a perfect cost-effective setting to show off their craftsmanship! When he first started out on his own as a builder, there were others in the industry who invited him, and he now wants to be that guy for others.
He enjoys bringing together all levels of builders, the older guys who have been doing this a while, those whose momentum may be slowing a little, those who are at their prime, knee deep in it and have a good momentum going right now and those unknowns just starting out, who have a lot to offer but haven’t been noticed yet. His hope was to get this group together so they could feed off of each other and for everyone to get fired up! His thought was for it to be an extension of his Daytona Shop Party, which if you don’t know about that, boy are you missing out! His party is a legendary industry party where everyone mingles over an amazing BBQ dinner, with no formalities. It has grown so big that anyone who is anyone in the industry attends. The idea of it was to get these industry greats together so they can make connections and share ideas to help keep the industry going. This idea has transitioned well, and Loretta Lynn’s Ranch is the perfect setting for this get together.
“When you walk into that barn, knowing that it’s Loretta’s Barn, and you see all the bikes, these things that these guys made, it’s just an amazing vibe – It’s something that you just can’t buy. The ranch is a place where you become family” He went on to say that seeing these guys in a fun atmosphere is just amazing. When asked about his favorite part of the BC Moto, his response was not what you might expect, or if you really know Bill, yeah, you’d expect this answer…. “My favorite thing is sitting at the top of the hill and just watching everyone having an amazing time.” They may not have been close friends when they arrived, but they are leaving as family, and THAT is something.
Bill always takes a day during the event, this year it was Friday, and spends a couple of hours getting the builders together for a group photo and presents them each with a token of his appreciation and love. He calls them up one by one and says a few words to them and about them. This is probably the most emotional part of the weekend. Tears are falling from just about everyone by the time the presentation is over. It really is the best day for the group, their families and their friends.
Motofamily – lifelong friendships, bonds made through one common ground, motorcycles. What more could one ask for? I, for one, was amazed by this giant family of motorcycle people!!
Be sure to follow Bill Dodge @blingscycles for upcoming information on next year’s BC Moto Invitational!