The Born-Free 6 madness is finally behind us. Garages are getting re-organized, tools are being put away, e-mails are being answered, and it’s now time to reflect on this past weekend. Everyone experiences an event differently, so it’s hard to give an objective account of the whole weekend. I figured the only way to do Born-Free six justice was to allow some of our contributors to each submit their take on the event. You will see many Born-Free features in the weeks to come, but we’ll start with my take on the event.
As the main sponsor for Born-Free 6, it’s ChopCult’s job to share and promote all things Born-Free. This cross promotion was generated through our grass roots program of rotating ads on our site and promotion through our social media outlets. Born-Free receives months of extra promotion as it’s our most significant event for the website and our community. Working together has allowed ChopCult to capitalize on the event as well. For the past two years, Mike Davis and Grant Peterson have made sure we have logo placement on their promotional items and a prime vendor spot. Having Lowbrow Customs, Biltwell Inc., Noise Cycles, At the Risers, The Speed Merchants, Chopper Dave, Loser Machine and Cycle Zombies as our neighbors made the weekend extra enjoyable.
Show Class Magazine’s People’s Champ 2 at Cook’s Corner set the tone for the whole weekend. Bikes from near and far wrapped around Cook’s and went down the street as far as the eye could see. Duane and I were fortunate enough to ride down early and park our bike in the shade. The industry’s finest rubbed elbows and helped crown Mike Nielsen (@themightyawful), and his beautiful panhead, The People’s Champ. Big thanks to Tim Lind for allowing ChopCult to have a small role in his event. It’s been awesome to watch the People’s Champ gain momentum over the past two years.
During the night, I met fellow ChopCult contributors Jason Ochoa and Mikey Arnold in person. Jason traveled with some friends and hand-delivered Scott Hoepker’s tank for the Art and Fuel exhibit. Mikey rode out and is documenting his roundtrip for an upcoming book that I promise won’t disappoint. Bear was also on location for the third year promoting his California or Bust Run. This year he was also riding for The Wounded Warriors Project and the Aidan Jack Seeger Foundation. They have all taken the role of contributor to heart and are each coming into their own in the industry, as it should be!
Most “editors” get to arrive at an event with their booth set up and employees running the booth. This dream is not my world nor do I want it to be. My world consists of my husband Duane, my son Wayne, and me loading the bike, truck and booth wares. I then work the booth all weekend and break it down with Duane’s help. This is my world, and I wouldn’t change a damn thing. The past weekend was full of handshakes, obtaining future content, and meeting fellow members and followers. I even met a few folks who we helped by using the #chopcultaaa hashtag on Instagram. To hear accolades for the site and my work was humbling. The best gift for me at Born-Free is the limited cell phone service. Seriously, no one’s staring at their screens, and they’re enjoying the show and each other. It also allows me to spend time with the folks in front of the booth vs. trying to cover the show through my phone. I made sure to take the time to meet our advertisers; So-Cal Swapmeet, Clutch Monkey, Choppahead, Rolling Heavy Magazine, Street Chopper, Burly Brand, EMD and S&S Cycle. I can only say “thank you” so many times before it becomes redundant, but please understand that we do appreciate every advertiser. Their ongoing support keeps this little site rolling. Another highlight for me had Mr. Willie G from Harley-Davidson visit our booth, thanks to Michael Lowney. Michael has been a HUGE supporter of the site and is an all-around great guy. ChopCult was the first online community that Harley-Davidson embraced, and it will never be forgotten.
The Invited Builder section with the one-off customs was mind-blowing. Everyone seemed drawn to Invited Builder Larry Pierce's final build, "The Larry Special." Larry’s longtime girlfriend Ashley Hardin graciously accepted the Loser Machine’s People Choice award on Sunday. Every invited builder seemed to forget about the awards and surrounded Ashley with love. To witness our community to pull together and stand as one was a beautiful thing!
Photo by Lauren Beitel - Loser Machine
I need to give big props to Zack Boxx from Throttle Addiction for creating the Art and Fuel Exhibit. This exhibit was his brainchild, and it was a home run! Bringing fellow artist Gen Katsuragawa, Denis Babin, Jack “Pacman” McCann, John “Harpoon” Harpov, Scott Takes, Pete “Hot Dog” Finlan, Scott Hoepker and ChopCult member Shawn Long together, created a beautiful space like no other. Each painter went above and beyond our expectations and delivered the goods. Photographer Elvis Castillo photographed the exhibit, and we will showcase it here soon. One would only hope the Born-Free alumni enjoyed the exhibit as much as we did and will welcome it next year.
Photo by Elvis Castillo
Here are some of my pictures from the weekend. Please keep in mind that Jason and Mikey will be showcasing the bikes in the crowd.
I would like to thank Mike, Grant and their amazing team for another great event. Extending Born-Free to two days was one of the best decisions made. I don't know the final attendance numbers, but I'm sure they exceeded their goal. It was inspiring to meet people from all over the US, Japan, England, Malaysia, Hawaii, France, and Puerto Rico. Special thanks to Pete"Hot Dog" Finlan for painting the Biltwell giveaway helmet and to David Roy from VooDoo Vintage for donating a custom hardtail. I would also like to thank you for visiting our booth, supporting the site and our social media outlets. I understand the value of ChopCult’s association with events like The People’s Champ, Born-Free and Art and Fuel. It’s not to gain social media fame; it’s to secure longevity for the website and attract new members. I spoke to MANY people who said they use ChopCult daily but haven’t become an active member. My question would be “why not?” ChopCult is and will always be a community of like-minded motorcycle enthusiasts. I’m not just the Editor; I’ve been a member since July 23, 2009.
On a personal note, I would like to thank my husband for supporting me in my position as Editor of ChopCult. The past year and a half have been a bit stressful, and I appreciate his help. ChopCult may be my day job, but DB is my life
Until we meet again, safe travels and enjoy the ride!
Photo by Lauren Beitel - Loser Machine
Here’s the list of Born-Free 6 Awards:
1-Best In Show-Brent Rogers - 1946 Harley Knucklehead built by Kiyo’s Garage (also Mooneyes Pick)
2-Invited Builder First Place-Kosuke Saito of Sunrise Cycles - 1936 Harley Knucklehead
3-Invited Builder Second Place- Brandon Casquilho of Mullins Chain Drive - 1967 Harley Shovelhead
4-Invited Builder Third Place-Tom Fugle - Harley Panhead chopper
5-BF Founders Invited Builder Pick-Jason Sheets of Sheets Welding and Machine - 1958 Harley Panhead
6-Most Outstanding- Sin Takizawa - 1932 Harley with Koslow OHV conversion
7-People’s Choice- Larry Pierce of Garage Company Customs - 1948 Harley UL
8-Best Knucklehead-Dan “Bacon” Carr - 1941 Harley
9-Best Panhead- The Harpoon - 1950 Harley
10-Best Shovelhead-Kyle Edger - 1968 Harley
11-Best Sportster-Paul Ponkow - 1960’s Harley Sportster “Exorcist Delight”
12-Best Flathead- Big Joe Lingley - 1953 Indian Chief
13-Best Indian-Matt Walksler of Wheels Through Time - 1942 Indian Chief
14-Best British-Bryan Thompson - 1952 Triumph
15-Best Japanese-Duane Ballard - 1981 Kawasaki “Kosmosaki”
16-Best Chopper-Bobby “The Leg” Middleton - 1948 Harley Pan/Shovel
17-Best Bobber-Ryan Cox - 1940 Harley Knucklehead
18-Best Original Jeff Coffman - 1948 Harley Panhead
19-Best Modern-Roland Sands - KTM 690
20-Best Café-JSK Design - Harley Sportster
21-Best Competition-Jasin Phares - 1980 Harley Shovelhead
22-Best Paint-Tatsuya Fuji of Duas Caras Cycles - 1938 Harley
23-AMCA Pick-Vince’s - 1939 Harley Knucklehead
24-Rider Award- Eric - 1944 Harley Knucklehead ridden from South Florida
25-Greasy Kulture Magazine Pick-Todd Asin of Small City Cycles - 1947 Harley Knucklehead
26-Born-Free Award-Fresno Tom
-Day one motorcycle giveaway winner: Patrick Tracey chose a 1957 Triumph Pre-Unit Trike built by Ryan Mullion of the Tiger Shack.
-Day two motorcycle giveaway winner: Randy Fajardo won a 1947 Harley Knucklehead Built by Todd Asin of Small City Cycles
For Born-Free 7 updates, please visit www.bornfreeshow.com.
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