Hardtimes Chopper Show

New England’s Offering To The Chopper Gods

Article And Photos By Josh Elzey

Published May 2020

The fourth annual Hard Times Chopper Show was another great show held at Ralph’s Diner in Worcester, MA. The diner is nestled among some old industrial buildings in the heart of the city, making this a go-to event for many riders including out of state bikers from Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and even California! While several attendees may come from many states for this highly anticipated grassroots gathering, it certainly includes riders from the entire New England region.

The show started after Clint Worster took a trip to New Braintree Texas in 2015, where he met Matt Jackson (who was working out of the Austin Speed Shop at the time) who built the give-away bike for the chopper show there. It was such an awesome event, and Clint knew right away that he needed this to happen in Worcester as there was nothing like it at the time anywhere close to the area. Clint was a regular at Ralph’s Diner, which was known not only for its music but also for hosting several popular custom car shows. One night Clint asked Brian, the manager of the establishment, why no bike shows? He replied, “Why don’t you put one on?” So Clint picked a date, and with support of the local scene, the rest just fell together. The owners of the bar gave him free rein to whatever he wanted, that’s why Clint feels like it’s been such a success year to year.

The diner provides a perfect backdrop for the show. There is a neon ‘G’ displayed on the well- preserved 1930’s streetcar fused in the building that caters to live bands providing a Rock ‘N Roll ambiance In 1979 the streetcar was moved by the current owners and has since been a mainstay known for its burgers and chili with a side of novelty acts. Riders can attend the pre-party held the night before at Vincent’s.

The crowd that gathers for this show are of a grassroots and moto culture defined by anybody that wrenches, covered in sweat, tears, and blood day to day. They keep their two-wheeled menace on the road and out of the barn. Some might even have to wrench to get home at the end of the day, but they all manage!

Mother Nature finally played nice with warmer than usual temperatures, which meant the lower parking next to the diner was packed with nearly hundreds of epic traditional choppers. They ranged from fresh builds, survivors, and ol’skool z and displayed glistening to patina’d metal. This year’s was, of course, the biggest one yet. Attendance has been growing, and this year they had around 1,500 admissions throughout the day!

Surrounding the bikes were all the vendor wares, original art, and even a small swap meet with a variety of parts on hand while the band ‘Cruel Hand’ jammed to the crowd. The upper level contained many new styles or stock bikes, cool café racers, and a few custom builds. A white Ironhead brought by Mikey Fasulo won featured bike for Choppahead’s Full Speed Ahead show and was a crowd favorite.

There were several raffles, including some Biltwell helmets. Chicken Fried Choppers had a lowrider bike on display with several hand fabricated chopper goods on hand. Deadbeat Customs had a slew of bikes as they promoted their upcoming retreat in Maine. ‘Choppahead’ was in attendance and is known for supporting the Triumph scene as well as ‘Coffin Nails Co’ and local cycle fabrication shop ‘The Eazy Company.’ Iron Coffee Co. was on hand to help anybody needing a little pick-me-up to get through the evening.

One would have to walk the event several times to take in all the vintage motors, wild paint, rusted metal, tank art, and sissy bars reaching for the clouds that were sitting among the large crowds! Bikes would continuously come and go and provided something new at every turn. The show is always on the second Saturday in July, and to get the details you can follow @hardtimes_show and acebook.com/hardtimeschoppershow to get the latest details.

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