Article And Photo By: Darren Mckeag
Originally Published In The June 2014 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
If you’re involved in the motorbike world in any way, shape or form, if you enjoy riding, traveling and hanging out with great friends, then Daytona Bike week can’t come soon enough. For me, being in the cold ass tundra of the Midwest, getting the fuck out of here, can’t come soon enough. But most importantly, Daytona means Willie’s Chopper Show. So, a long trip is planned, with great accuracy and attention to all the little details. Mileage, each little stop here and there and well, shit man, who am I kidding. I just loaded my bike, grabbed my 14 yr old hero, packed all of my art and merch and headed south for the greatest chopper show Daytona has ever seen.
Our first stop, Bareknuckle Choppers, to see what great parts Paul has been making, drop off some chopper parts and spend an evening catching up. You see, Paul is one of my top three in command and it’s customary to stop in on him and see what’s new. Next stop, Memphis, TN to show Kian how the King lived and played and finally, Roadside Marty’s for some great Gulf coast living, Mardi Gras and delicious seafood. My son absolutely loves the Gulf coast and everything that goes with it. This would be Kian’s second trip to the area, but his first Mardi Gras. Our dear friend Fatback was anxious for our arrival, to spoil us with his hospitality, which included fun, food and as always, participating in the Mardi Gras parades. Truly an amazing time and event to be a part of. As the week came to an end, I loaded my hero on to a plane to return to Iowa. A very tough task for the both of us, but we got through it. Once Kian arrived in Iowa, I could now focus on motorbike shit and the trip ahead.
As Roadside and I prepared for Daytona, we spent many hours doing our normal routine, eating great food, looking for old motorbike parts and talking about the industry. Now, as you’ve probably heard, there are no old motorbike parts anywhere near or around Roadside Marty, haha. So, I had to sneak out and around a bit. Roadside keeps a damn close eye on me when I’m around, as I tend to wonder off into the depths of motorbike parts heaven. Truth be known, he makes me go through a metal detector and he weighs me before and after we leave any buildings. It’s a very scarring experience, but I always manage to get through it.
This crazy two-wheeled motorbike world I live in has been very good to me. My life revolves around art and motorbikes, so I do what I can to combine the two. If I’m not tattooing, I’m painting and or pin striping anything I can get my hands on and if I’m not doing that I’m screen printing merch. Getting all of this stuff to any motorbike event in the world, is a lot of work. So, Roadside and I loaded up and headed east towards Daytona. Out of all the bikes he has, you can imagine which was the only one that would run, his oldest, his knucklehead. Roadside managed to navigate the inside of his eyelids most of the way, while I drove. We made great time and we were at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo by noon on Sunday, ready for an amazing week of riding and a Willie’s Chopper Show. For me, bike week revolves around Willie’s and his world famous Chopper Show. I’m certain I can say the same for Roadside.
Every day of the week is spent at Willie’s and this is where all of our closest friends hangout. Here is where we spend the week preparing for the greatest chopper show Daytona Bike Week has ever seen. This year would prove to be a record breaker for attendance and bike registration for the show. The famous chopper show brings everyone together from all around the world, for one common interest, on one common day, Thursday. I’m not exaggerating when I say that bikes are parked for blocks away, all around Willie’s and the cops have to be assigned to direct traffic in the streets. It’s absolute chaos around there in the best way. This year was a close call, as there were two naked men on the rooftop of Willie’s. One was flashing his tattooed ass and the other, well the other was a big, pale white ass, like nothing I’d ever seen before. The show almost got shut down. Not sure who these nude bandits were, but it was close. The show was full of vendors from all over, selling their goods and the artists inside were slammed with tattoo work lined up out the door. A truly great day for everyone. The next time you’re in Daytona for Bike Week or Biketoberfest, do yourself a favor and mark your Thursday for the greatest event ever, Willie’s Chopper Show. You won’t be disappointed. Willie and Mrs. Jean throw one hell of a party and I’m very thankful to be a part of it. Until next time, keep your bike dirty and covered in oil. I’ll see you two-wheeled brothers and sisters on the road at the next event.
Darren McKeag’s Choice – Bill Dodge 1953 Pan
BD Customs Choice – Grimey Davis 1948 Pan
Dave Perewitz Choice – Nate Jacobs 1974 Shovel
Best Knucklehead – BK Keenan 1947 Knucklehead
Best Twin Cam – Matt Harris 2000 TC Strutted
Trailer Trash – Dave Gross 1982 Yamaha
Best Panhead – Pete Massett 1962 Panhead
Best Flathead – John Landstrom 1948 Indian
Best Metric – Eric Allard 1972 Kawasaki
Best British – Jon Laurendeau 1968 Triumph
Best Sportster – Blake Branning 1994 Evo Sportster
Best Shovelhead – Chris Butler 1979 Shovelhead
Creative Custom – Joey Chanel 1979 CM Honda
Best Evo – Josh Brennan 2006 Evo
Best Paint – Jason Moody 1985 Evo
Willie’s Choice – Tom Plackis 1938 Knuckle
Cycle Source Pick – Nate Jacobs 1974 Shovelhead
Best Rat – Pat Maroney 1959 Panhead
Roadside’s Pick – Charlie Terwillger 1966 Shovel
The Horse Pick – Dan Carr 1941 Knucklehead