Article By: Chris Callen
Photos By: Penny Osiecki, Sara Liberte, Greg Friend and Chris Callen
Originally Published In The February 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Oh dear God we went to Vegas,’ is how I should start this report. The truth is man, it was a lot of work, a lot of driving and a lot of party time; what a huge honor to be included. Special thanks to Mindy and her whole staff for making Cycle Source the media partner of Artistry in Iron this year. It was a bunch of years ago that Lisa Ballard started getting us involved in the Vegas BikeFest show, but I would have never imagined we’d have the Artistry in Iron winner on our cover. This all starts out with my brother Bobby Seeger of Indian Larry getting invited to be part of the Artistry in Iron this year. We were just at his place a week before so I left a bunch of my crap with him, agreeing to meet on the highway as he would be coming across PA later the next week. We’d drive to Indiana where Gary Mauer met us to deliver the Cycle Source / Bikernet 15th Anniversary Chopper that was to be given away in Vegas. The bike was incredible and we were bummed that Gary and Ron Harris of Chop Docs couldn’t come with us for the show, but we had to keep making time. I would have much rather rode bikes across the country with Bobby, an adventure that is coming soon. I’m not sure if either of us or the country is prepared for it. In any event, we had too much to haul and too much to do, plus the extra time spent trying to stay awake at truck stops got me to buy some bitchin’ cowboy hats that I may have otherwise passed on.
Days later we arrived in Vegas, immediately got into an argument with the parking attendant at our hotel, who I believe was giving us a hard time ‘cause we were white, but that’s another story. We dropped the trailer and rushed to Hogs & Heifers for their 7th anniversary party. This is where the defecation starts to hit the rotary oscillator. Michelle Dell, who owns Hogs, is the undisputed queen of a good time and she pulled out all the stops for this one. I think at one point she told me that we’d come as close to getting thrown out of her joint as anyone ever had. Apparently, Darren got on the bar, which is no man’s land to begin with, but then he also took his pants down. Yeah buddy, this is exactly how you want to start your week where you are sponsoring several events at. There was a ton of work to be done between Cycle Source and Rally TV obligations so we had to run a tight ship.
Thanks to Lemme, Roadside and Darren for putting in the extra hours to make all this happen. Still, we found time on Thursday for a good ride. I got to cruise the “Ticket to Ride” down the strip in Vegas; yeah baby, rippin’ the strip in the very real sense of the words. On this day, we headed out of town to the Pioneer Saloon. Doug, who is always our tour guide when we are in Vegas, led the pack. It wasn’t long until I realized that my 63 year old, four-speed Pan was happier on the side roads than running at 95 with the big boys. I decided to drop off and Will and I went on a nice little side trip. It turned out that the road we were on took us right by the entrance to the exact spot where they run the Mint 500. Now for anyone not that knowledgeable about Hunter Thompson, this was the real reason he was sent to Vegas in Fear and Loathing. The Mint 500 is a race in the desert that Thompson was suppose to cover, but never really did. Just to know that in some way we were retracing his footsteps on a bike I had named for one of Hunter’s famous quotes kinda sent a chill up my spine.
At the Pioneer we got to talk with owner Noel Scheckells and his son Tom. This place was a real piece of history. They have been open every day since 1913, even through prohibition. It’s a great stop right out of an old west movie, and the place where I scored the best cowboy hat of my trip. We were having such a good time that the builders almost missed their call to be at Artistry in Iron so they split at a blinding pace to get back. Now here’s the killer part of that little interlude. Bobby was riding his Artistry in Iron submission. It was covered in dirt, dust, and grime from general abuse. When he got back to the Cashman Center where it was all going down, he pulled it right through the front door and it sat there, smoking, dirty and with illegal plates as the builders’ judged each others work. God I love him! When we got back to the Cashman, we had time to kill so we did some in-ring training with Sunset Boxing. Rani set us up with his people who took us through some training skills. It was killer, and man, we got to get ready for the upcoming magazine wars! Ha ha ha! See more about that here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTV51CTux08 Now the reason they had the ring set up was for amateur MMA fights during Bikefest, and it was a blast!
That night was the big award ceremony. After grueling hours, the builders finally decided who among them would win the Artistry in Iron title along with the $10,000 this year. We were thrilled to announce that Yaniv Evan from PowerPlant Choppers would be the man of the hour. His bike was unbelievable and you obviously can read all about it in the full feature in this issue. The rest of the week at the Cashman was filled with events like the bikini contest and the world’s strongest biker. They had a bagger show, we announced the winner of the Cycle Source/BikerNet.com give-a-way chopper and every night pretty much ended up being a late one at Hogs & Heifers. Saturday marked the first ever “Editors’ Choice” awards, and it would also be the Cycle Source 15th anniversary party at Hogs. This was the third of our crosscountry celebration to honor a decade and a half publishing every thirty days and would be the last one of the year. We had special collector patches made to honor the event and we also held our second annual “Best Bike on the Strip” show in conjunction with: DEI, Strong Arm, Twisted Tea, Spetro Oils, Wolfgang Publications, BikerNet.com, Baas Metal Craft, Hogs & Heifers, Darc Marc Tattoo, J&P Cycles, Slingin’ Ink Tattoo, Baker Drivetrain, Twisted Choppers, DeVille Cycles, Las Vegas Bikefest, Jack Daniels, North East Chop Shop and Miller Brewing.
After having such a good turnout last year, we decided to add some more classes and prizes this year. On top of Neto who took the title of “Best Bike on the Strip” for 2012, other winners were the Totally Twisted winner that won a year supply of Twisted Tea: Bones Legacy for a 1950 Panhead; Best Chopper: Jeffo for his Shovel; Best Bobber: Christian Sosa for a little Evo Bobber; and Best Hard Core: “Whiskey” for his ’72 Shovel. The party went on into the night and none of us could talk by the next day. Being the gracious hosts that they are, and lucky for us to get some down time, Penny and her man threw a nice little informal BBQ at their home for Cycle Source, Rally TV and other visiting dignitaries. When we arrived, she threw us an assortment of spray paint cans and let us loose on the back wall in her yard. Oh, graffiti time, you bet! We had a blast and covered the wall with art before scoffing down a meal set for kings. Yeah, Vegas baby; this is the shit!
The next day, the real adventure started. Bobby and I had added Bean’re to our list of truck buddies for the return trip. He had made it out to Vegas for the event as well and we loaded up his bike with the rest of our crap to head for the East Coast. Unfortunately, the problems we were having with Bobby’s truck coming into town only became worse and now we had to fix it before we left. Bean’re was on the case, and with some parts from a local dealership we were on the road by noon. Three people taking turns doing the driving helped us make great time, but it also made for hilarious conversation. The whole truck stunk like feet and ass by the second day; oh yeah, this is living! We managed to get in a visit to the world famous Cadillac Ranch on our way back, and other than a few times where one or the other of us was asleep running off the road, we did pretty good. We eventually parted ways one at a time. First was Bean’re who had a romantic interlude arranged somewhere midway across the U.S. Then it was me who Bobby delivered to Cycle Source HQ. In the end, we all made it home in one piece with plenty of stories and a sense of family that only a few ever get to know. We can’t thank Mindy and everyone at Las Vegas BikeFest or Michelle and all the folks at Hogs & Heifers enough for making Vegas so much like home to us. And to our own Lucky Penny who works tirelessly to make sure we do what we’re supposed to while we are in her town, and stay out of jail while doing it. You’re the best kid!