Like the purpose-built bikes he builds in his modest, well-stocked garage, Atomic Trent's Throwdown formula is equally simple and effective. One night of camping in the woods, a fair ride Saturday morning, and a block party and bike show on Saturday night. While the bike show, bar scene and simple vendor section in front of the Atomic Cafe was certainly fun, by far everyone's favorite part of the Atomic Throwdown is the riding, camping and chilling in the woods. Gabe from AHC catered this year's Atomic Throwdown, and the chow he whipped up was outstanding. The popularity of this laid-back vibe isn't lost on Trent, and I wouldn't be surprised if future Throwdowns have more camping and less city life. I was just a baby in the late '60s and most Chop Cult members probably weren't even born yet, but this is the kind of bike scene modern motorcyclers can only dream about.
The riding days were typical southwestern USA--wide open vistas with plenty of elevation changes combined with twisties and some long, arrow-straight sections. Storms brewed all around but we only got a little rain. After riding through torrential downpours in upstate New York the previous weekend, the weather we experienced in New Mexico seemed hardly worth the effort to put on rain gear.
Because riders come and go as they please at these events, it's hard to get a solid headcount, but I'd say there were around 60 bikes at the campground Friday night, and maybe a dozen less downtown Saturday. That may not sound like a lot of bikes if you are used to the chaps and bandana fests, but the bikes at Ground Zero were of exceptionally high caliber. With bare minimum fees for everything, the GZT is far from a cash cow, and is designed for a small group of guys who are into older, hand-built motorcycles. With a crowd full of pans, shovels, Triumphs and even a couple knucks you'd expect some attitude, but the half dozen or so younger guys on late model Sportys felt right at home. It's awesome to attend an event where nobody has anything to prove, and Ground Zero is exactly this kind of event. Totally fun and vibe-free.
George Counes' unstoppable Knuck. Spartan George gave away a brand new Spartan Frameworks frame at the GZT, and Lisa Ballard held the winning ticket. Thanks George, and congratulations Mrs. DB Custom Leather
I don't know if Mr. Schara has a mission statement for the Ground Zero Throwdown, but if he does, I think it would read something like this:
Just ride your motorcycle--preferably one you built--and have a good time.
Everything else is stupid
Mission accomplished from my perspective, Trent. GZT went off without a hitch, and I speak for everyone in my crew when I say we had a great time and are already looking forward to next year.
BFJosh shot several bikes on the GZT for future ChopCult features, so stay tuned