2011 Dave Mann Chopperfest


Chopper freaks in SoCal were faced with a serious dilemma last weekend. Specifically, which of three (or was it four?) motorcycle events in the southland would they choose to attend. With Mooneyes, a Street Chopper premier party and the Dave Mann Chopperfest all crowding the same weekend, any choice would prove satisfying.

In the end, Billdozer agreed to camp Saturday night with some friends, then ride to DMCF Sunday morning. Since I was scheduled to man the ChopCult booth at Chopperfest, I drove the chase rig stocked with beer and gear. As good as our plan looked on paper, nothing could prepare us for the evening that unfolded when a barefoot camper named Jesus Manson snuck into our camp and warmed his feet in our fire.



Jason Ball planned our weekend getaway, and it was a good one. Pack your bike, ride to Malibu, pitch a tent, crack a cold one and start a fire. The Biltwell rig I drove contained beer and soda from a previous hoedown, and enough chairs, cots and sleeping bags to make the chilly evening bearable for at least three of us. Of course, a man would have to remain sober enough to climb into his sleeping bag to make Jason's plan work, but our new bearded buddy had other ideas.

The full moon shined brightly on our cold, starving crew when I returned from the truck with the only sustenance between us: three tubs of spicy feta cheese and a giant bag of tortilla chips. Chris Huber tried to order pizza, but none of the two joints within five miles of the campground would deliver pies to our site. Soon after Chris ended his search for food, Jesus Manson rematerialized with six bottles of wine and a half quart of Wild Turkey.

Before Jesus could open the first Pinot Noir with his pocket knife, Kim Boyle crept off for a good night's rest. A shrewd move I've witnessed Billdozer pull at least a hundred times, but on this evening Bill was more interested in divining Jesus's back story. According to Jesus, he was living in a Mercedes station wagon while his ex-wife's lawyers dragged out their contentious divorce. Children and a mysterious military service record colored his past, but details on the latter were never forthcoming. While Bill interrogated the visibly twitchy fellow, I battled through a fog of Mexican muscle relaxants, Wild Turkey and cheap wine. After focusing hard to regain the mobility six layers of snow gear had taken away from me, I stumbled into the van for a boozy night's rest.

Around 2 a.m. Sunday morning I was awakened by violent bucking inside the van, like a fight had broken out between Kim and Bill inside the trailer attached to my bumper. It was too cold to crawl out of my sleeping bag for a closer look, so I ignored the commotion and returned to sleep. At 6 a.m. I roused Kim and Bill from their slumber so I could drive to the Chopperfest. That's when I realized someone had detached the trailer and safety chains from the hitch. No easy task in the best of conditions, and damn near impossible in pitch darkness.

When Bill crawled off his cot, his jeans were covered with blood. Apparently, conversation between Bill and Jesus became heated enough to warrant a beatdown from Hank, Bill's drunken alter ego. I missed Hank's arrival, but evidently it was enough to inspire Jesus's feeble attempt at retaliation.

If I were a trailer-towing rookie, Manson's amateur prank might have paid out differently. As it stood, our band of "professional bikers" as Jesus called us drank all of his booze, and Jesus crawled back to his Mercedes wagon on bleeding knees. I'd like to think the fun we had last weekend was the kind that inspired David Mann to paint. Thank you, Jesus for making the eighth annual David Mann Chopperfest one to remember.

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Commented on 12-14-2011 At 06:37 am

Hmmmm, mysterious military record you say?

Always worthy of a beat down. There is some shit you just don't lie about. Good for Hank.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 07:20 am

Not the best photos, seem kind of far away or something, which is odd for I didn't bother reading all about it figuring the same talent took the pictures. Probably a good decision.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 08:15 am

Sometimes those kind of night happen... good or bad.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 09:03 am

Nicko, there's 36 bike photos, any of which you can click to bring up a 1200 x 900 pixel image. The bikes are lined up bar-to-bar in rows at DMCF, so yes, it's difficult to shoot the details and side views as we do for most individual bike features. The "far away shots" were included to give people who've never been to the DMCF a sense for what the venue is like. Sorry we let you down.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 09:15 am

Ooof- tough crowd.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 09:45 am

we need the details on the beat-down! that is some interesting shit!

motorcycles are whatever, beat-downs are where it's at.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 10:16 am

It was all in good fun. Firepit dust-ups are kind of a tradition on our trips, especially if there is whisky around. My knee still hurts and I have a knot on my head so I know it was a good one!

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 10:17 am

what is that black thing in pics 7 & 9?

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 10:35 am

Considering the prior nights events the photos are great. Besides shooting bikes in a show atmosphere is next to impossible, there's always 10 people leaning into your shot pointing at this or that.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 10:42 am

That black thing was appropriately named "Nightmare".

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 11:17 am

that sounds awesome, were u at leo carillo by chance? if so hit me up next time il drive some pizzas down from my work!

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 03:47 pm

u westcoast twisted bastards 2 killer gigs in one weekend i need to move

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 04:47 pm

Sounds like a blast. I love the Bultaco. I knew there had to be someone out there that had chopped an old trials bike.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 05:33 pm

Good times! Jesus Vs. the puffy Robot next time.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 05:45 pm

Ha, sounds like an old fashioned good weekend.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 06:10 pm

WWJD?? Get his ass kicked by Hank. I had the pleasure of meeting Hank at the Vtwin expo 2 years ago. Jersey Shore mother fuckers ill kick your ass was his go to.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 06:48 pm

Hank gets my vote for best in show.

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 08:15 pm

Yo what up Zephyn! Hahaha

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 09:44 pm

Just four more reasons to move to socal

Commented on 12-14-2011 At 10:16 pm

that white ironhead is sweet !

Commented on 12-15-2011 At 08:57 pm

awesome.... my shoes made it into the pic at the Todd's Cycle booth (shot of the pick pocket sportster). My feet are now chop cult-famous! Nice!!!

Commented on 12-17-2011 At 02:51 am

that bike in #7 and 9 scares me.

Commented on 12-17-2011 At 08:57 pm

a couple of those bikes make me wonder if the builder had ever seen a David Mann painting?!? I've one of the framed paintings (broken chain) in my garage!

Commented on 1-8-2012 At 10:49 am

Nice pan in the backround of the second pic, #36 is also a nice pan with the frontend appearing in the Brit bike guys get any right side pix of that bike?? In the past when I still drank, I found that hair-of-the-dog-that-bit-me in the morning gave me enough bite with my bark to get dumbasses outa my way so I could shoot the rods or bikes at the show I was at.....the BIG blade on my left hip didn't hurt either!!

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