Daytona Bike Week

Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Heather Walker

Originally Published In The June 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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Nothing better than breaking out of the cold weather’s clutches in the Northeast and beating feet to Daytona to kick off the bike season. This year the winter seemed to drag on and after the 20 degree below zero weather during Mamma Tried, I was ready for some Florida Sun! The one saving grace this year was that we were back at the Broken Spoke. Now under new ownership the Spoke would be like coming home and in the sea of other property’s in Daytona, which is a welcome thing my friend. With less than thirty days to promote whatever we would do in Daytona we were scrambling all month but given the chance help to resurrect this beloved brand, we were in for a penny or a pound. For this year we had a full schedule of events planned and the one I was most excited for was the return of the Editor’s Choice Show.

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Tuesday came early after we got into town later the day before. Tired from 24 hours of white knuckle driving after deadline and screen-printing, we did little but unload the White Dragon and hit the sack. That morning the skies looked a little ominous but as the noon hour approached we had a nice flow of traffic heading into the Spoke and clear skies for the Editor’s Choice Show. In the event that this is the first time you are hearing about the Editor’s Choice, let me first refer you to the BookFace page and then tell you all about it. This is a show where Cycle Source along with eleven other national magazines and motorcycle media outlets gathered for a one day show where the winner’s that each magazine picked would be featured in that publication. We all got together in 2013 and did three of these shows, Daytona, Vegas and Sturgis and this year they are back for another round. This is a great way for any builder or collector to get their machine in front of many members of the motorcycle media at once. It’s also a great way for those of us in the business to get some face to face time with each other and our readers, which is a rare commodity. There were over 50 bikes in this year’s Daytona Editor’s Choice Show. All of them were rock stars, not bad for a late start in promoting this one. Every style of motorcycle was represented from choppers to baggers, vintage to café racers. In the end, there was no way we could pass up Around the World Doug on his famous “Cannonball” Flathead. It’s an amazing bike and I can’t believe it has never been shot before. You can see it in this very issue as well.

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I should mention the bitchin trophies we had for this show. At the last minute Heather called S&S and asked if they had anything cool we could make trophies from. They sent out some Super E carb bodies and intakes. They were top notch and since we were short by two I pulled out some old greasy Bendix carbs I had on a shelf and used them for us and The Horse which just seemed fitting. Everyone who won got a nice prize bag with swag from the magazines, goodies from the, Spectro Oils, J&P Cycles, Old School Choppers and more. I want to thank the editor’s who made time for this show in their otherwise insane Daytona schedule, especially Tony from American Bagger for speaking his mind during the awards ceremony… Haha. The folks at the Spoke were more than accommodating and took red carpet care of us and we are expecting to hold this show during the Sturgis Rally this year at their Campground on 79. Stay tuned for more information.

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With the first event under our belts, and a pretty good one at that, we got our second wind and got the Source booth set up and settled in for an evening with one of our favorite rally bands: Hairball. These cats are amazing and if you missed our “Full Throttle Rock” column on them in the March issue, it plainly states that they are the kings of the rally music scene. Priest, ACDC, Guns & Roses, no one covers glam metal like Hairball. Wednesday was the Cycle Source Ride in show at the Spoke. It was another beautiful day and first in the gate were our great friends Tony and Lora Baccari with two insane metric choppers. These two are the best and the picture you see of the red head on the hard tail is Lora. No wonder she took home the Asian Import award. With 18 awards to give out and prize bags full to the rim, we always get a nice turnout. One of my favorites from this show was Rob Claque On his 53’ Panhead that came with an amazing story; It was his old man’s bike…. He even remembered one time that he accidentally scratched it and kept the scratch hidden from his dad. I love bikes with history and especially when it’s one that gets handed down through the generations. You can see this beautiful Pan first hand in an upcoming issue of Cycle Source as well. Larry Fridella from Old School Choppers was on hand and gave one lucky participant a brand new jacket from his new company. These things are incredible and I gotta tell you, having one on during the cold nights in Milwaukee last month was a life saver. American Metric Motorcycle Company threw in a $100 gift card for both the Editor’s Choice and our show for the Metric Classes.

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We had friends in from outta town, actually back home but with so much running there was little time for any down time. We did manage to squeeze in a jam session one late night sitting around the Spoke. Rob Keller busted out the acoustic guitar, Jim Red Cloud sat in with his harmonica and I had an acoustic bass. These are times that I’ll cherish forever. The booth was kickin’ and it was so good to see Amelia getting to talk to people who read her “Killer’s Chronicles” column. I mean, you hope to see your kid do well but when it’s in the same community that you do your thing, it’s all the better. Thursday is usually the day we refuse to do anything other than Willie’s Tropical Show. Everything and everyone we want to catch up with is there for his Choppertime Show that being said there is little reason to hold any other event that day. This time we did try and host a ride to head to Willies, but I fear it may have been leaving too late and we had a light turnout. Thanks to those of you that joined us our on our little jaunt through the Wildlife Loop. If you are in Daytona and don’t know where to ride, ask a local how to get to the Loop, you will not be disappointed. We enjoyed it so much we did it again at the end of the week with Roadside and Willie and this time made an extra stop for a seaside lunch at a little joint on A1A.

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Willie’s was off the hook. Bigger and better than ever and this month’s cover bike was our official pick from that show. As always there were crazy killer bikes and great times. Of course Nikki Lynn was on hand for the Arni Foundation and artist Darren McKeag was painting live in our booth out back. This is a safe haven for the greasy crew we run with since it’s a day of bands and good times with $2 beers and no hassles. Willie was nice enough to have us along for their staff’s traditional victory dinner and then we were off to the Spoke for the after party with Warrant. Cherry Pie is still a big hit and the night was long and hard baby! By the end of the night we had enough and called it an early night by 3am.

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At last came Friday and we had some free time. We started off to the Swap Meet but got side tracked by a chance to catch up with Billy Lane who has some big things coming up this year. You’re gonna wanna watch for more info on that soon. In any event we ambled around the event areas and eventually found our way back to the Broken Spoke for the evening’s events. It was gonna be a full on smoke show with both our Metzeler Burnout contest and the S&S Circle of Honor Tribute. The guys from S&S brought along one of their X-Wedge powered Morgan 3. We scrambled back stage to get the contestants ready. Buck from Harlot was riding one of their incredible custom builds, which needs mentioned since not only do all their bikes run but you can see them in action like this on many occasions. Nick from FTW Maine was killin it and even I got in on the action with the Black Pearl but no one put on a show like Blind Bob. I have to admit that earlier when his van pulled up and I saw this cat get out with a full alligator costume on while his buddies unloaded a bike, I thought it was ridiculous but when a stone blind man climbs on a bike in front of a couple thousand people and smokes the tire off while wearing an alligator costume, that’s a whole other story. When the smoke cleared it was time for Uncle Kracker and some Ol Smokey we had stashed off to the side. All in all it was a great Daytona and a fantastic way to start off the year although I wouldn’t have minded a little extra time to catch up with some of the racing and that damn swap meet, but that’s the beauty of bike week coming again next year. It’s another chance to do it all over again, with a new plan and a different story each time.

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