Pirate Alley, Pirate Ships, And A Rodeo King
Article By: Chris Callen
Photos By: Cycle Source Staff
Originally Published In The March 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
So Texas, hard to believe that one of the last humongous events of the year was upon us but alas, we loaded up the Cycle Source van with family in tow and headed west… Again! It was only a week or so out when I found out that our usual suspects for the Lone Star Rally were tied up with unforeseen circumstances and we would have to break in some rally rubies for this event. Well, in all fairness we had to bore them in to the business side of the event, they both had ample experience on the other side of the fence. None the less Tim Stull and Jeff Ruttinger agreed to hop on board for Lone Star and we agreed to pick them up at the airport. The staff that were traveling in the White Dragon would be Heather and I, Killer to run the booth and for the first time over the road, Mama Judy! That’s right, while most people would cringe at the idea of their mother in law going on a two day road trip with the family, our family is so like a circus that she was the one cringing. No seriously, Heather’s mom is a blast and runs a tight ship too. She pulled more than her own share of the responsibilities and by the end of the week she had us all on our toes. In spite of the fact that I had been getting phone calls about Big Greg from MC Creations getting the biggest parts score in history, I forged past Houston and we pulled into Galveston sometime late Wednesday night. There was the promise that on the way home we could stop and dig through some of the Panhead goodies and for me that would have to be enough. Galveston gets cooking pretty fast and I didn’t want to miss a thing this year. We had some big plans after all… A brand new destination for our ride, some big prizes on the line from KD Sunglasses for our bike show and the bike games that we hold in Texas have no equal in any others that we do. These cats invented the term rodeo so I shouldn’t be surprised that they take it so serious.
The week started off kind of lite since there were reports of bad storm weather heading in. In spite of that we set up our booth on the corner of seawall and 21st across from the historic Hotel Galvez and settled into the rhythm that is the rally. The second day Jeff and Tim made it to town, they had also heard of the great parts score from another mutual friend and had not opted to pass it up on the way in, bastards! But soon after they were boots on the ground we started to scout out the location of our half way point for the Run Down The Shore. This event is one of my favorites because of the local scenery. I mean in other parts of the country like Florida we go through the wet lands, Sturgis through the Black Hills, Vegas right down the Strip but only in Galveston can we take an hour long ride against the tide waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Beautiful white sand beaches to one side, old world Galveston to the other. Our new digs was a place called Pirates Alley Cafe on Surfside beach. It was the perfect spot, back in off the road, good prices and tons of food on the menu, but the view was epic. The next day we returned with about 150 of our closest friends on two wheels and raised a little hell with their great staff for a bit.
We headed back up the coast making our way to the harbor side of the island were the Lone Star Rally people had us set up with a feast at Nonno Tony’s, a free visit to the Elissa, a local sailing vessel type of floating museum. The day was perfect with almost perfect weather the entire ride. I found myself riding next to Clinton Wallace for a good part of the ride. Once I looked at the pictures I realized that his Panhead chopper actually makes the ticket look like she has a short front end. Either way you look at it, the sight of the two of us ahead of a pack of a hundred or so bikes was a trip. Among them good friends Tony and Lora who make it to so many of our events that it’s like they are on the staff. Lora just started a company called Deviant Diva Kuffs and I gotta tell you she is putting out some killer jewelry designs that are both entirely unique and not cheap trashy stuff like you might find at some events booths. Check out her Etsy store Deviant Diva Kuffs. Anyway, we mulled around the Harbor side for a bit then headed into town. If you haven’t been to the Lone Star Rally the type of lunacy that can be observed on the Strand, Galveston’s version of Main Street, is truly without rival. This part of the country gets a very wide variety from all ends of the motorcycle world and for what seems to be a ten block stretch they let it all hang out. There are crazy disco lights, chromed out dressers and two wheeled machines of all types and with the strictest of any burnout laws in the land the passing riders instead keep the city a buzz with blaring motors.
We had a great day of bike games planned for the good folks of Galveston on Friday. These cats are willing to come to blows over this shit, so it’s no joke running the games right and fair. We had the hand crafted leather belt from Bare Bones Leather ready for the days champion and we went at it. The games started with the slow race, the barrel roll, the weenie bite and the ring toss to finish things up. At the end the combined overall points total would decide the grand champion and give one man or woman the bragging rights for an entire year. For the second year in a row our champion was Scotty Tripp, a Galveston local. He kicked ass from one event to the next just like last year and then busted our balls because the belt was made for a skinny little sissy instead of a real man. Damn these cats are tough! After a good day at the games we spent some time on The Strand again. They have so many killer bars set up for the event, many of which have special events and right in the center of town the main stage sits, where national entertainers like Brian Howe and Hairball played. Back on the Seawall Jarred Blake was bringing the house down. There was a little twist to the Seawall this year, the cats from Full Throttle Saloon brought in the entertainment and along with their giant stage and truck under the banner “Throttlefest” that featured Jackyl. We headed into the room sooner than later but our newbies Jeff and Tim were ready to get in it deep. That next morning we saw the results of their evenings jocularity in some long green faces. It would seem that the dynamic duo had been thrown out of a bar or two that night, one asked them not to come in right at the front door. Tim had an ID card from an unknown woman who apparently was visiting from Idaho and in general I was glad there would be no need for bail money.
Saturday did start off with a serious downpour though and what would have been our natural ambitions to erect the proper registration amenities of the bike show was put off. We decided that breakfast with the girls from Las Vegas BikeFest and the guys from Three Two Choppers would do nicely as a distraction. J.C. and Jimmy are two of our favorite human beings on the planet so any time with them is a good time. It would be a few hours later when the rally promoter made the call, it was damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead for the bike show. I guess that Tony and his boys from Ultimate Bagger had put their show off until Sunday so it was up to us to hold crowd rain or not. As hard as it is to believe, what started as a total loss of a day found the sun at about 3pm and from there the bikes just poured into the show and the traffic was mad. J.C. and Jimmy Lee had one of their killer custom builds on hand and Clinton brought a few of the other Texas most wanted poster boys with him. All in all it turned out to be a great show. Three of the five bikes in this very issue are from that show and man, I gotta thank each and every one of the cats who spent the day with us. Top honors of course went to this issues cover bike and its owner Jason Ochoa. He got a $500 prize from KD Sun Glasses to boot. On the other side of the coin was the People’s Choice Award who also won $500 from KD and that went to Nikki Weatherly, who kinda cheated since her bike was painted with a Dallas Cowboy theme… I mean, it’s Texas…. Just like where I come from in Pittsburgh, it would have been sacrilegious for it to go to any other bike.
Unlike previous years where the last day of the event was thin and found people pulling out of town, this year Sunday was the big day. It almost made me sorry that our tent blew to pieces the day before, but never the less the people were out looking to get their kicks for the last day of the Lone Star Rally. Tony and the guys from American Bagger had the street packed on Seawall and I was quite surprised I didn’t have to pry Jeff and Tim out of their home room for the early morning airport run. They were consistently the last men standing from the Cycle Source crew every night, you did us proud boys! By noon or so Tim and Jeff had been delivered to the airport in Houston and I was back in town. Instead of packing up and splitting I grabbed Heather and we took some time on the Strand. You see in between all the blocks of insanity are the vendors who for us rally folk have become like family. We did what any family does when they are in the same town together, we spent the day visiting. Goose from EagleRider was our first stop but we also ran into Doug from Sickboy, the cats from Voodoo Hatter and Chris from Cycle Solutions. Everyone was busy as hell but it was good to get a chance to say hi here and there. As the late hours of afternoon rolled in it was time for us to hit the road, another successful year at the Lone Star, another year that we hated to say goodbye to Texas… But not before one quick stop in Houston!
MC Creations was the objective where Big Greg was still sorting through piles of stuff that he scored from Bud’s. Bud’s collection was infamous and people are still wondering what all came out of there, well brother I saw a bit of it and man, you cannot even believe. How about an entire room full of star hub wheels, 100 individual Panhead heads, another room full of original frames for Pans and Knucks and let’s not forget my personal haul. I scored an original Rowe trueing stand, an original 1949 only rear fender and tail section, original fender hinge and twilight housing, original left side tank and a repop front fender for a springer. The prices were better than right, Greg is one of the best you’ll ever meet and he knows how to take care of people. If you are on the hunt for some original parts, buddy you better take down this number! 281-807-1099 I could have stayed in that place for hours, the girls were even enthralled with the amount of what had to be priceless treasures by my expression alone. We grabbed up Greg and his lady, Buddy Johnson or OG from Texas and made tracks to a killer restaurant. It was the perfect ending to the perfect Lone Star Rally, Texas we love you! Can’t wait for 2016!!!!