Article By: Milwaukee Mike
Photos By: Chris Callen
Originally Published In The May 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
As the header of this story so expertly says, this is round two for the little show in the middle of the winter in the middle of the frozen north. I find it an amazing testament to all those who brought the invite bikes and those who braved the less than ideal elements to make this second go round even better than the first. It still baffles even me, that in the middle of the harsh winter that we have experienced these last two years that so many thousands of people would come and wander around a motorcycle show in an abandoned warehouse in the Menomonee Valley. I guess it is a testament to the quality of machines and the true vibe of the Mama Tried show. Because of the bleak conditions we have to endure here in the north a show like this is just the kick in the pants we need to remind us that spring is just around the corner.
With that comes the taking of bikes from the forced exile that the snow, cold, and salt puts it in every year. So we all look forward to the break out with anxious anticipation, and some of us go just plain nuts, so why not do it in the company of a few hundred friends? That is why I was looking forward to this years show so much. I was missing my family something fierce and thank God a bunch showed up to brighten the weekend and remind me that another summer of their special stupidity is just around the corner!
The show had an unprecedented first year, I think it even caught organizers Scott “Fuel” Johnson and Warren “JR” Heir Jr off guard a bit, but in the best scenario. It amazed me how many people paid the $5 gate fee and came in from the cold last year. This year the anticipated crowd was even larger and the show had to be moved to slightly larger quarters and it was a great move in my opinion. The show became a two level affair with bikes and people moving about at every turn. It also turned into a two day event, with a thinner but still significant amount of spectators on Sunday as well. Between the amazing bikes from many different schools and the ability to meet and talk to all the different craftsmen/women and artists in attendance it made for a unique and amazing experience. All in all about 10k people came and spent the still $5 fee to wander thru the halls of bikes and displays and we at Cycle Source were very proud to be a part of it again this year!
The weekend had become a four day affair for those who were involved in setup, the show, parties, and then ice racing, a second day of the show and then breakdown and clearing out of the space . Myself and some of the local weirdos from The Shed started on Thursday by grabbing some way out of town family from the airport and having a crawfish boil at the Shed. Where of course things got out of hand in a quick minute. Friday brought show set up and my Cycle Source family showing up at 7 am to get a quick nap and then boogie down to the Harley Davidson Museum for a great Archives tour with the always accommodating Bill Rodencal. Thanks again Bill, always amazing to hang with that crew. Friday evening consisted of drinks and food at my local haunt Sabbatic, Then back to the HD Museum for the official pre party. It was the first chance that I got to see all the faces that I knew were coming, that of course put a big smile on my face. Totally surrounded, totally loved it! It was an extra special evening for me as I got to see my boy Bobby Good Times on stage with his band, Trouble, rocking it loud and heavy like a true rock God, and as a great warm up Mount Salem spread their special sound in the room to get everyone grooving, was a hell of a night. Don’t know what time I actually went to bed but I didn’t get much in the way of sleep.
Saturday was the day of the Main Event, the show was packed and it was literally a whole day of talking to people known and unknown about the Mama Tried show, Cycle Source, and how we do what we do, and what kind of trouble that evening and the rest of the year was bringing. In my case, I had to boogie to the Shed to prepare for the onslaught of folks coming to After Party with us and the Cycle Source. Chris and I were both tending the bar and slinging shots of Ol Smokey and glasses upon glasses of Pabst Blue Ribbon(thanks again guys we appreciate it!). Unfortunately our last band Vega got cut off so we will have to make it up to them some time soon, thanks again to Couple of Cocksmiths and Pay the Devil for their musical styling. We had a bit too much fun as I had to spend about an hour talking to the local police, but all went well and we pulled the handle until about 4 am, yikes!
Sunday came in cold but sunny and that shoved us all down to McKinley Marina to watch the varied machines throw around in the ice and snow at the impromptu track the guys have made to blow off steam from the week before. There was a little bit of everything rolling around, even a half naked Brad! It is a bit of a surreal scene with the natural ice sculptures in the back ground and all the different types of bikes rolling around on the ice, the pictures tell the story but it is better in person. So if you can be here for that next year it will be worth. After losing feeling in all my extremities I had to say my goodbyes to the Cycle Source Crew and went back down to the valley for the remains of the show.
It is always nice to be in the home stretch of a weekend like this, but also bittersweet because its only a matter of hours until everyone goes back to their original orbits and then we start planning when we will see everyone again. For some it will be Daytona, Sturgis, etc. For me, I am looking forward to the BMR and I hope y’all will join me in the mountains of West Virginia. If nothing else we will have the St. Louis Cycle showcase next January or at least Mama Tried in February of next year. All I can say is that Scott and Warren have done one hell of a job bringing high quality bikes and folks to our scene here in MKE and it rocks