Holiday Party

Bare Knuckle Choppers Annual Carnage In St. Louis

Originally Published In The February 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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When it comes to holiday parties, several things come to mind: cooler weather, lots of people, plenty of delicious food, great gifts and some really good times. Now step it up a notch by adding some live metal music, motorbikes, moonshine, flaming burnouts and you’ve got yourself the Bare Knuckle Choppers’ 9th annual holiday party. I decided to make my way to St. Louis a few days early in order to help Paul and the crew get things ready for the party. My trips to BKC are always at the top of my list. I look forward to being knee deep in chopper parts, the Missouri countryside, Nicole’s amazing cooking and of course, sleeping with their dog, Lulu. Upon arriving at BKC, it doesn’t take a person long to realize W how talented Paul and his crew are and how hectic things can be when a shop like his gets busy. Jay was welding everything in sight, while Nicole was on the phone with customers and packaging parts for shipping. Paul, well he was busy overlooking the CNC machines, shaping fenders, machining on the lathe, all while taking orders via his cell.

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There was still plenty of work to be done as the next few days would prove to be very busy. We had to have three bikes partially ready for customer viewing on Saturday, the day of the party. Frames still had to be welded up, painted tins had to be picked up several hours away, while Springers and fenders had to be welded, assembled and shipped by Friday evening. Rest assured, there was plenty of time in between all of this for me and Paul to find some barns with motorbike treasures, have a few beers, and spend $80 on scratch tickets. We agreed we would split the mega winnings; we traded tickets and scratched away. Paul came up empty handed, while I had a $20 winner. True to our plan, I graciously gave Paul a $10 bill. With Friday evening upon us, we had managed for the most part to have everything ready, while also cleaning out of the local drinking holes of their inventory the night before. Several friends and close brothers were already starting to roll in early Friday afternoon. Knowing what Saturday had in store for us, we decided we should retire early Friday evening so that we could go all night on Saturday. That, and Lulu was waiting for me.

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There was still plenty of work to be done as the next few days would prove to be very busy. We had to have three bikes partially ready for customer viewing on Saturday, the day of the party. Frames still had to be welded up, painted tins had to be picked up several hours away, while Springers and fenders had to be welded, assembled and shipped by Friday evening. Rest assured, there was plenty of time in between all of this for me and Paul to find some barns with motorbike treasures, have a few beers, and spend $80 on scratch tickets. We agreed we would split the mega winnings; we traded tickets and scratched away. Paul came up empty handed, while I had a $20 winner. True to our plan, I graciously gave Paul a $10 bill. With Friday evening upon us, we had managed for the most part to have everything ready, while also cleaning out of the local drinking holes of their inventory the night before. Several friends and close brothers were already starting to roll in early Friday afternoon. Knowing what Saturday had in store for us, we decided we should retire early Friday evening so that we could go all night on Saturday. That, and Lulu was waiting for me.

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With Saturday morning upon us, Chris and Zach had found their way in from Pittsburgh late the night before. Up early and ready to work, we all made our way over to Nicole’s horse barn so that Paul could demonstrate his horse training abilities. Riding motorbikes is truly a wonderful thing. I can honestly say however, that watching 3 large horses race by you, inches away at top speed, hooves pounding the ground while their tails are in the air and their nostrils flared, is truly breathtaking. A true appreciation and representation to what we all would have had under our asses before motorbikes were around: true horsepower. As the four of us made our way to the shop, the sun was shining and the day was going to belong to Bare Knuckle Choppers. We opened up all the garage doors and began preparations. By early afternoon, many people were starting to show up. Motorbikes were rolling in and the bands were starting to unload and setup. Before our eyes, people were everywhere, helping out, setting up tables and preparing for the scavenger hunt and 50/50 raffle for one of Nicole’s pitbull foundations. Billy from Twisted Tea was kind enough to send us a care package of banners and beverages that would make any alcoholic happy during a holiday party.

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It was around 6 p.m. and the scavenger hunt was under way. This would prove to be two-wheeled entertainment at its best. One or two person teams per motorbike received points for everything from cinder blocks, horseshoes, prosthetic legs and tattoos. Watching these competitors ride in with their amazing finds was truly more entertaining than after dark on Main Street during Daytona Bike Week. Needless to say, all the teams did great and they brought in some very amazing items for the hunt. Congrats to all the participants and the winners. When the sun started to set over the Missouri hills, the nosey helicopter flying over decided he had seen enough of my middle finger, and disappeared with the sunset. The first band up was Lions of Hazelwood, followed by Sixes from Oklahoma, and last, Final Drive. During all of this great music, this amazing spread of homemade food that covered a huge table, showed up and was prepared and delivered by Paul’s amazing parents.

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As the music was blasting, and the spirits were flowing, everyone was getting loose and having a good time. The 9th annual holiday party was in full swing, and it wouldn’t be complete without some aerial explosives. Enter stage left, Alva and Big Will, my two brothers from Indiana and Kentucky. Now please keep in mind that with me standing in the middle of these two meatheads, it’s obvious they don’t workout (please don‘t tell them I said that), but seriously, back to the fireworks. Apparently, some people think that aerial bombs sound like gunshots; crazy, I know. Well, at least that’s what the cop said was reported during the 9-1-1 call. Once Paul and I assured the fine officer that none of our personal weapons were being discharged, yet, and that it was in fact fireworks, the officer thanked us and continued on his way; thank you Lincoln County for the understanding. This little visit didn’t slow things down. The party not only didn’t skip a beat, but the music got louder, the bonfire burned taller and motorbikes were starting in on the burnouts. Being the great sport that I am, and promoter of fine, flammable, high RPM rotating rubber, I easily convinced my good friend Matt into lighting up one of his rides. His first weapon of choice was his Triumph chop. That was good, but the bike hesitated a bit up against the BKC building. Matt’s second weapon of choice, his mini bike.

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Now, before you laugh or say anything, let me assure you of one thing: I can honestly tell you firsthand that this flaming mini motorbike had the loudest tire explosion I’ve ever had the pleasure of having my head next to. It not only scared the hell out of me, but as I jumped, I’m certain I shit a little. It was all very impressive, but Matt had one more trick up his sleeve — his Big Twin. With a little financial persuasion from me (yeah, like a slutty stripper I slipped him some cash), Matt kindly pulled his big bike up against the wall of the shop and let her rip. I came in with flaming backup and it was nonstop until the tire blew. Going through a new tire in a matter of minutes, while on fire, always puts a smile on my face, and is always a crowd pleaser. As the early hours of the next day approached, Final Drive had finished up and the crowd was starting to thin. Like any great party, there’s always a few people still standing around hours after everything gets quiet. Many great family and friends had come and gone throughout the day to show their support and help entertain us with a scavenger hunt and raise some $900 for Nicole’s pitbull foundations. “No Nuts Charlie” was proud of us all that night. Thanks to so many people that helped out that day with everything as well as the people that showed up to support. The day wouldn’t have been a success without you all. The party was bigger and better than last year and sure to be better next year, so mark your calendars. The Bare Knuckle Choppers’ holiday party is getting to be more impressive every year; you don’t want to miss it! See you on the road my brothers and sisters.

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