Article By: Greg Friend
Photos By: Bart Mitchell
Originally Published In The December 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
The day was beautiful. It was hot without much of a breeze, and the women (and men, unfortunately) were scantily dressed in an attempt to keep cool in whatever shade they could find. The smell of oak and eucalyptus trees, mixed with partially burnt gasoline, permeated the air amid the deep rumbling sound of groups of American V-twins. This is according to their online media: The Born Free Show is about the love of old motorcycles and like-minded individuals having a good time and enjoying bikes of old. The show is meant to unite people from all walks of life by showcasing their passion for old two-wheeled machines in a oneday event that is family friendly and caters to all ages. There’s a little history behind the name of the event. “Born Free” is a collaborative between Born Loser (Mike Davis) and Freedom Machine and Accessories (Grant Peterson). It started out as a little “get-together” in 2009 and has grown every year since its inception. Held late in June 2013 on a Saturday, the show was located in a secluded venue called Oak Canyon Ranch off of a twolane highway. It wasn’t hard to find, but it was hard to get into if you happened to be driving a car to the event. While I try to ride to every event that I can, I’m usually cruising solo, so I felt sorry for the cages containing families that were locked in the two hour line of traffic that seemed to peak in the early afternoon. Lane splitting in California is not illegal, so bikes were able to thread their way through the snarl of cars — thank goodness!
Bikes were everywhere! Walking through the massive dirt parking lot there were hundreds of bikes of every year, make, and model of customized Harleys, plus a number of import bikes that looked to have been loved and ridden hard. Inside the venue revealed the massive amount of vendors and a huge number of amazing customs. Some were in the booths of the vendors, some were parked in the main field, and the rest were set up for judging in the bike show contest. The invited builder bike show included big names and was a veritable who’s who of incredible, up and coming and long-time builders. The winners of the show included: First place: Joey Cano; Second: Chopper Dave; Third: Kiyo; Best Knucklehead: Bobby Good Times; Best Panhead: Kevin Baas; Best Japanese Bike: Kiyo; Best Flathead: Jason Sheets; Best Chopper: Kouske; and Best in Show: Scott “T-Bone” Jones. When not emceeing the awards, Grant and Mike were often seen driving around taking care of vendors in an unmarked golf cart — one of the trappings of bike show success.
I was actually disappointed they weren’t on mini-bikes, but then catering to vendors and other show duties while carting around a cooler full of ice or beer can be difficult on a pint-sized scoot. The event didn’t last long, as it was only open from 10am to 5pm, but the beer flowed freely down the gullets of attendees, and smiles were found everywhere I looked. Judging from the amount of people that were still there at closing time when the temperature started to cool down it seems as though it could have gone on for a few more hours. Overall, the show was tons of fun and everyone I talked to said they couldn’t wait for next year’s event. Details for Born Free 6 are still being worked out, so check out bornfreeshow. blogspot.com for more updates and information about the 2014 event.