Article & Photos By: Milwaukee Mike
Originally Published In The May 2014 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
About 4 years ago in Sturgis, I had the unique opportunity to see an amazingly different bike. It was the severe St. Louis derake bike that we featured approximately 2 years ago. That event also gave me the chance to arrange the photo shoot and make a friend. That friend was Randall “Gentleman of Leisure” Nolge. Randall had mentioned then that there were so many great bikes in the St. Louis area, and that he had an idea to show them to the world. I didn’t quite understand what he was saying, but he continued to talk about it through the meetings we had over the next couple of years. I knew that he was getting closer to making this dream a reality when he told me that he had sold a beloved Shovelhead hardtail to make it happen.
Randy told me, “I was becoming a bit bummed out at the lack of good bikes to be seen at the local Hooters’ bike nights. I know that better bikes are around. I have seen them over the last 10+ years. So I thought if I could pull the best of the best out of the hidden away places, people would come to see them.” That is exactly what he did, and in grand fashion. I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend this show and was quite wowed at the diversity of the bikes on display. He had hit the dead center of the target and showed the world what this Midwest City has to offer. Randy was lucky enough to obtain bikes from the backroom collection of Donaldson Cycles as well as offerings from the Dave Munginast Museum. For those who don’t know, Dave is an AMA Hall of Fame racer and all around good guy. There was also an antique Indian that was brought by the man who restored it. He then later took it all the way to the Isle of Man to have it do a celebratory lap with a number of other survivors, quite the sight to behold. A St. Louis local brought a Cannonball bike and some unique Brits for the mix as well. There was an impressive display by Stevenson Cycle and Shawn from Imperial House had some kick-ass chops that I will bring more details on in some future features. Brian Elliot from Black Sunshine also had one of his amazing bikes to add to the fray. As always, Jay Allen was kind enough to loan the use of the military bike display to round out the stage. The assortment crossed all the Ts with great examples from all genres: choppers, Euros, sport bikes and touring models as well as some great vintage examples.
I went through the bikes at least a dozen times and still feel like I didn’t see it all. This was not all that Randy had planned. He was so amazed by the show that the American Wall of Death did in Sturgis all those years ago that he felt he had to share that experience, especially with the kids of St. Louis. Randy wanted them to have a similar experience as he had as a child.
This was not the end of the treats that the eyes could drink in. There was also a great motorcycle based art show in the Arts’ Council building. It featured works by George the Painter, who was working and answering questions while slinging his new book as only George can. There was also an impressive display by some local artists that included: sculpture artist Miss Mandy with her amazing works and Joanne Kargus with her beautiful oil paintings. There was also clothing and prints by Iveich & Asbed. None of the art display would have been possible without Carol helping to coordinate and make it happen.
The one thing that made his show truly unique was the coming together of the community of The Loop. There might have been an invitational bike show taking place inside of The Pageant (the music venue Randy works at), but the whole block became a bit of a motorcycle Mecca for the day. There was a great Italian bike display courtesy of the local Ducati club at Tavola 5 — a local Italian restaurant. There was also a vintage display held by the AMCA in the parking lot of the Moonrise Hotel. The Pinup Bowl (my favorite joint on the strip) had a chopper “show” on the street and also showed some old biker B movies on their large screen TVs over the lanes, thanks to the hard work of Roy and the staff there. Just a side note on the Pinup: it is a very cool place that made me feel at home with their mix of great music and fun atmosphere. If you are visiting St. Louis, this should be a definite stop. The whole vibe was quite electric and made everyone smile.
If you missed this first time event, don’t despair because 2014 will bring the 2nd annual event. The date will be August 24th so mark your calendars, clear the day and head to St. Louis, you will not be disappointed! The 2014 show will bring at least 40 invite bikes to The Pageant and the Wall of Death again. The art display will also return, but this time there will be some new surprises. I am sure The Loop will be ready for the even larger crowd with their ever present happy demeanor and great Midwestern smiles and attitudes. This event would not have been possible without a lot of help. Randy was lucky to have a great crew that made this happen and would like to thank first and foremost Joe Edwards and Pat Hagin for their unequaled help and the use of The Pageant. Also, thanks to Darrin from Liquid Illusions for being a great sounding board and a connection to the people he didn’t already know. Thanks also to Rich Philips and Jay Allen as well as Patty from Docs HD. Of course the event would not have happened without the invaluable help from Tiffany, the best unpaid assistant ever. But it was the love, support and understanding from Randy’s girl DeDe and her brothers, the Dooleys, that made it all possible. I am truly looking forward to what the 2nd annual St. Louis Showcase will bring. So who’s coming with me?