Published In The December 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source
Article By: Ian Smith Photos By: Kustom Jeff Dailey
idea for The Catalina Wine Mixer came about over breakfast in Ensenada, Mexico. A few of us were dining with Harold “McGoo” McGruther and he was giving us the rundown on how the El Diablo Run came to be. Like all good events, they start small with a core group of people in year one. The following year’s edition usually grows significantly, based on how well the inaugural was put together. The gist of McGoo’s story was simple: Don’t talk about it…be about it! I told my friend Shandra about my inspirational breakfast and asked if she had any ideas on what we should call it. She said, “Call it The Catalina Wine Mixer!” My wheels were turning all the way home from EDR. I wanted to get everyone together for a good old fashioned party. No bike show, no bands, no BS, just a day and time for everyone to converge and get loose. The Catalina Wine Mixer was a go!
My buddy Kevin has a great piece of land just outside of Winfield, AL (about an hour and a half NW of Birmingham) that is perfect for a chopper hootenanny. There’s plenty of shade, good grass, a bass pond, and trails cut all over the property for some Choppercross action! People from California emailed wondering when we would be showing up on Catalina Island. Sorry folks! This party is being held in Northwest Alabama!
I decided to tap into the charitable spirit of our community and raise money for The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Several companies/people kicked in items to be raffled off at the event. Biltwell, Lowbrow Customs, Chop Cult, Miller Brewing Company, Cone Engineering, Steve the Machinist, Twisted Tea, Violent Choppers, Red Bull, Rick’s Cycle Parts, and Sunny Delight all stepped up with awesome support! The world famous Roadside Marty kept everyone entertained during the raffle. I greatly appreciate everyone’s generous donations. They made for some really excited motorcycle enthusiasts.
Late September in Dixie is usually the best weather possible. Of course a tropical depression formed in the gulf the week before TCWM and it looked bleak a few days out. Friday night a few of us braved 12 hours of torrential downpours and camped on site. The skies cleared early Saturday morning and chopper jockeys from all over the Southeast set their sights on Winfield. By early afternoon the party was in full swing. The raffle was held at sunset, and then it was party time. Tents, hammocks, campfires and jars of moonshine appeared and friends, both new and old, swapped stories from the road. After dark, people began to cut loose and a truck tailgate was slung up for some impromptu arm wrestling action!
Sunday morning greeted us with cooler temperatures and crystal clear skies. Bro hugs, bottled water, and Instagram handles were exchanged, and riders headed out for the journey home.
I really appreciate everyone coming out in support of a new event. We raised just over $1,000 for CCFA and had a great time doing it! I want to personally thank my buddy Kevin for hosting us, Boss Ross Lenoir, Mississippi Whit, Kustom Jeff, Michael Lewis and Barry Harper for braving the elements Friday. Thanks also to Ross’ wife, Lauren, and my wife, Kristin, for logistical help during the event. Plans are in the works for next year so stay tuned!