Laughlin River Run

Article by: Jack Shit

Photos By: Bart Mitchell

Originally Published In The July 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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I’m a firm believer in giving credit where it’s due and equally in admitting when you’ve made a fool of yourself and rather than hide it, share it with the world and give everyone a good laugh. A great many of you may have seen the video I shared, but if you haven’t, I’ll give you the gist of it here. In the 9 years I’ve lived out west I have had the joy of running without a lid most anywhere I go, with the exception of Nevada and California. Laughlin is right on the corner where AZ, CA & NV meet and there is no way to get to Laughlin without stopping to put that damn helmet on. Every visit, we pull over just before the bridge that crosses the arctic Colorado River and begrudgingly put on a helmet and I’ve become programmed to do it, without a second thought and that is just what I did this time too, in the midst of one of the nastiest dust storms I’ve seen yet. As I clicked the strap on my helmet closed, it finally dawned on me, I CAME HERE IN A CAR!

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I stood outside, beard blowing at a 90 degree angle, eyes squinting, I turned on the camera to capture my stupidity and share it with everyone. What’s the point in making a fool out of yourself if there is no one there to see it? When all else fails, operate on auto pilot, it will get you where you are going! This would be the fifth year that the World Famous Hog’s & Heifers Saloon would bring their high energy, bad assery, (yes, I just made that word up but sometimes you have to when there are no other words that fit more accurately) to the Laughlin River Run. Set up under a camo net roof so the helicopters can’t see the debauchery taking place, the Hog’s family made their home between the Edgewater and Colorado Belle hotels and planted their flag!

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This year for the first time, I got to cohost the event with the lovely ladies of Hog’s and it may very well be the best time I’ve ever had working an event! If you have never been to Hog’s & Heifers, I urge you to go, either NYC or Las Vegas, I promise you a night you will never forget! For the first few events the bar was set up as so many rally bars are and although successful, business was never really blockbuster, so to speak. Finally Miss Michelle Dell, the woman who built Hog’s into the icon that it is today met with the hotel management and asked “can we do it our way now” and the rest as they say is history. By Wednesday night, as we call it, the “soft opening” of the bar we had planned on opening, getting the bars all set for business the following day and getting our feet on the ground then getting to bed early for a good night’s sleep. When last call was announced at 1:45 am we realized that we were in for one hell of a ride. The bar had not only a whole bunch of folks still in it, but rowdy, ready to party ‘till the death folks! There is something about casino towns that just make people lose their minds altogether and I’m not going to lie, those are my kind of people and more so, those folks are the heart and soul of Hog’s guests. As people were walking out of the gates they were literally hugging us and the phrase we heard most was “thank you for bringing the party back to Laughlin.” We heard it over and over and this was our soft opening, holy good God!

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Each day we opened at noon and by 2pm the place was alive and well, by 4pm it was literally pulsating with energy and by 9pm it was asses to elbows as the saying goes and we were on a HUGE piece of property! Not a single night or morning I should say, came without having to ask a huge crowd to leave, the party would have never ended if not for the law! The Rally at Hog’s was filled with TV stars, rock stars, icons of the bike industry, beautiful women, both amateur and pro and an endless parade of smiling faces.

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Michelle wanted to make this event special, add some details that hadn’t been done before there and give people something to take home with them that they would never forget! Just to make sure nobody forgot, she brought in our pal Bart Mitchell to capture it all. With this idea in mind, the Paint Your Shit Throw Down Pit was born! It didn’t matter what it was, you throw it down on the table and the boys would airbrush it, pin stripe it, hell folks, with the crew that was there they would have rubbed their nuts on it if asked…. Items painted ranged from, license plates, to purses to you guessed it, BOOBIES! Ryan and the mad man himself, Horny Mike from TV’s Counting Cars showed up to paint but mostly spent time giving “personal” tours of Horny Mike’s truly one of a kind tour bus. Tank from Tank Bilt ended up doing most of the painting and pretty much closed himself off in a tent and went at it all day and night. I’m not sure if it was the paint fumes or this cat’s genuine personality but I don’t think there was ever a moment that he didn’t have a huge smile on his face!

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The tattoo inked into his belly says it all, HIGH CLASS WHITE TRASH! As a matter of fact that would be the one thing that I take away from this as a memory, virtually everyone had a non-stop smile on their face and after all, that is what it’s all about. The owners of the bar know how things are going by the register ring and normally I am not privy to that info so I’ve managed to figure out my own way to know if an event is a success or not and it’s really quite simple. I watch the faces in the crowd. At the beginning of the event most faces are those of strangers, as the event goes on those faces all become familiar and by the end I recognize those faces as if they were old friends and that is the blessing that is my life, at the end of each of these events I get to work, I come away with new friends and even find myself welcomed as part of the family in some cases, you can’t put a value on that! As it turned out in this case, my formula for measuring success equaled the bars method and the team at Hog’s & Heifers stone knocked it out of the park!

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It’s a pretty amazing feeling when every time you walk through the crowd someone stops you to thank you for throwing the greatest party they’ve ever been to. I couldn’t take credit for it, but it was still amazing to hear. People believe that you put the beer on ice, put a girl in shorts and turn on Pandora and you will be swimming in cash and it is the furthest thing from the truth. It’s all in the details my friends. Every moment of the rally is set to an exact timeline, the ladies work as one unified team covering each other’s backs when needed and clogging their way into people’s memories, the bar backs keep the bar stocked, the security keeps the lunatics from stabbing anyone, the store stays stocked with Hog’s gear for everyone to take home and the runners do just that, run, all day and night, virtually non-stop and at the end of the night, we all limp our way back and get ready to do it all over again the following day. I tend to limp a bit more than the others, but hey, I’m old!

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At Hog’s, we were incident free and I’ve got to give props to the team for that. Their keen eye for stopping shit before it gets started is a testament to their skills, not a single punch was thrown. I have to go on the record and say this and it may shock many of you, but I’ve got to say thank you to the cops that were assigned to our property! They let us do what we do and never busted our chops or asked us to change the way business was done. Okay, well one time when we had every women in the bar flash at once may have been a bit much for them but they handled it like gentlemen and like I said at the beginning of this piece, give credit where and when it’s due!

I heard a few vendors down at the Pioneer were not as lucky as we were, whoever was in charge down there had the SWAT TEAM raid the property with more than 40 officers and remove vendors from the property. Not because of anything that happened of course, but because something MIGHT happen. Is that the nation we’ve become? A nation that sends in heavily armed SWAT TEAMS to places because something might happen? Get your people together, get on your bikes and go make some memories, it’s the one thing no one can ever take from you! Thank you to all who made the 2014 Laughlin River Run truly amazing, especially the Hog’s & Heifers Road Regulars! See you all on the road this summer!

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