A small mining town founded in 1880, Bisbee is nestled precariously on hillsides and ravines in southern Arizona. It's now become primarily an artist community, with a population of less than 6,000. As such, it's probably the last place you'd expect to find a motorcycle show, but, given that Howl N Prowl is a grassroots, family-first based show, it's the perfect venue. Brewery Gulch, as the name implies, is a series of bars and breweries situated along the sides of a steep gulch in the heart of Old Bisbee. As the bikes roll through heading to City Park, the sound of the engines reverberates off the walls of the gulch, creating an endless deep roar of sound.
Loading into the park for the show means a blast up a short, steep hill with a sharp left turn at the top, and has occasionally proven to be too much for the occasional rider. Every year, one, two, or more take a spill at the top or in the turn, and the group as a whole descends to pick up the bike and rider and roll them into the park.
City Park isn't large, and the bikes are packed in tight side by side, it makes for an awesome display as the variety of vintage and custom bikes is wide and far-ranging. You can wander down a row and see a polished, flaked out, custom knucklehead right next to someone's well-loved, rust flaked, daily rider shovel. As a photographer, I carry gear around, and I can tell you it makes for a lot of opportunity for either good fortune or blasted disaster. Thankfully, no disaster occurred this time!
Howl N Prowl is a vintage motorcycle and chopper show, and your bike must be pre-1984 or a custom chopper to sit in the park. However, this in no way means that those newer bikes aren't welcome, and they show up in droves to line the street all the way up Brewery Gulch creating a show all their own as people wander slowly past them admiring all the individual style on display as they head to the park. When you got to the park and continued the Tour O' Bikes, you could hear DJ Apple and Banana spinning vinyl through the afternoon. Or, if you hung around, the awesome sounds of Musk Hog performing live.
The show was created five years ago by Sam Donaldson and Matt "Tiny" Romero as a way to come together with like-minded people who were doing their own thing in garages and backyards. It was always intended to be a show for the people living the chopper life their way, and it has stayed true to its roots. Even as it rolled into its 5th consecutive year, the basis of the show remains about family and friends showing off their hand-built hard work. I can tell you, having been to a few different types of shows, this little Arizona show remains the friendliest, most laid-back show run by some of the hardest working people you will ever meet. Another highlight was the giveaway tank painted by Andrew Riffle at Triple's Paint Works. He killed it once again!
In years past, there has always been an unofficial campout at the property of Naco Chris because he was generous enough to lend the use of his land to a bunch of wayward souls. This year, however, he had a prior commitment, so Sam and Tiny decided to hold an official campout on some donated property outside of Bisbee. It was a raucous good time with lots of good people and fantastic food given and prepared by Ty Farris. As an addendum but by no means a footnote, check out the book "American Road Runner" by Bob Marshall when you've got a chance. He's a true blue chopper guy documenting an American lifestyle.
Sam and Tiny would like to thank this year's sponsors, vendors, and supporters ChopCult, Biltwell Inc., Lowbrow Customs, The Wheel Shop, Machine Age Tattoo, Choppers Magazine, and Electric Squeegee.
I want to thank Colin and Terry at Enthusiast Motors for their hard work getting my Triumph running in time for the show. Be sure to give Old Shit Rules and the Howl ‘N Prowl show a follow for updates.
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