A couple months ago our friends at Show Class had an idea for a way to get someone new into the "invited" builder arena at what has America's best custom motorcycle show. Taking submissions from over a hundred builders meant 75 percent of them had to be clipped, with survivors filling the roster. Eventually it'll come down to six bikes to be displayed at Cook's Corner on the Friday evening before Born Free. The winner of the Show Class pre-party bike show at Cook's Corner will get to display his people's choice machine with the big guns at Born Free.
Here's where it stands right now:
4 generator Shovels
1 British bike
Bobby Good Times
Dave O Turner
We asked Clarke and Tim at Show Class a few questions about their People's Choice show…
How did Show Class get involved with Born Free?
Last year, for Born Free 4, we asked Mike and Grant if we could get involved. From being at a couple of the earlier Born Free shows Clarke and I both thought that the show was amazing and something that was almost impossible to take in all in one day. We thought it would be rad to do a year book of sorts for the show. Try to capture as much of the show and the essence of it as we could and put it out as a special edition issue of the magazine. For people like us who actually suck at taking pictures at shows, I always wish I had taken more shots so I could really remember the show. Mike and Grant were stoked on the idea, it’s as simple as that. We have known each other for a little while now and have always been real supportive of whatever each other were doing. This was just one more thing.
What is the People’s Champ and where did the idea come from?
When Mike and Grant asked for suggestions I wrote Mike saying that I thought it would be rad if they would add a builder that the public could choose, someone who was on the same caliber as the builders they had already invited but someone who might not have been on their radar. We thought it would add a cool aspect to the show, and they agreed. We also thought it would be cool to have more of a weekend of it instead of one day.
What do you guys have planned for your show?
Some of the details are under wraps for a bit longer. But for the most part we are planning on having a blow out pre-part—a place where everyone can come and check the bikes out before the real show the next day. It’s going to be a place where you can rap with your buddies, eyeball some ladies, have some drinks and not stand in a line or get kicked out. It’s at a place large enough to accommodate a full-size party and it’s gonna be a real good time. All we can say now is that it’s going to take place on Friday, June 28th the day before Born Free 5. It’s going to be at the infamous Cook’s Corner bar right down the road from the show and camping. It’s a cool spot with a large outdoor area and they are used to throwing a big party and are very biker friendly. There will be music, food, adult beverages, vendors, handsome dudes, their girlfriends, tons of bikes to check out and of course the People’s Champ final Six Pack. If someone wants to step up to try and line up some amateur pole dancing or foxy boxing so the ladies have something to do too, we wouldn’t be opposed to that.
How did you decide to choose the builders?
We had over a hundred submissions and once we got them in we went through them and tried to pick bikes we thought were rad, different, unique, and most of all bikes that looked like they would be on par with the other builders in the show. We think Mike and Grant have done an amazing job at getting builders involved in the show. The builders always bring their A Game. We expect our entry to be on the same level. We know there are a ton of talented builders (both shops and guys in their garages) and our goal is to showcase that. We didn’t pay as much attention to who it was from at first, as we did to the spirit of the build and what the builder had planned. We were looking for a bike that stokes us and the people who are into the mag. If you love the mag our theory is that you like our style and trust our judgment. So, we used our best judgment and picked the bikes we thought were the top of the heap. We really wanted to pick the top 50 but we thought that would make the contest almost unmanageable and impossible to narrow down and too much like work for the public. So, we cut it as far as we could. It worked out real nice that there was a wide variety of makes, models and styles.
Tell us about some of the bikes or builders.
The variety is mind blowing. There are things being worked on that I have never seen on the road or heard described the way that they were. We want heads to spin a little. Someone to throw some curve balls instead of building a slightly different bike that we all want, but see enough of already. Most of these guys we don’t know or have ever heard of, but that was kind of the point. It was hard but kind of cool just going off of a description and pile of parts so far. It’s going to be real interesting for us, the builders and everyone following the process.
How has the response and support been so far?
It’s been pretty amazing, those who get it are stoked and we are really fueled by that. Of course there has been some bitching as there always is and will be, mostly either from guys or their friends who didn’t make the cut. We had no idea so many people were going to get in touch with us to be in the show. Guess they didn’t either. We took about 20 percent of the first round so most people didn’t make it. It bummed us out to have to make the cut and we totally understand being bummed, although most took it like men and moved forward without the public adoration or attention.
Why do you think that some people got upset?
Choppers are supposed to be fun—people who take them too seriously and try to cry online about them and our contest don’t get it. I’m always OK pissing people off who suck or set us apart from that, and this time we did a good job of it.
How does the voting work?
We are giving the 25 builders a little time to get some stuff together. Then we will post their first round of pictures and specs, but no names at first. Don’t want it to be about anything but the bike yet. And we will put it up for a vote online. Then the top 12 will move on. Then we will give them some more time to make some progress and post their info and photos again. And then the round two of the voting will narrow it down to the final 6. Those bikes and builders will be at the Show Class party for an in person vote to see who’s bike ends up at Born Free the next day.
Do you guys have any hand in picking the final winner?
Yes, we have the task of counting the votes at the show, by hand, then announcing the winner. That’s about it.
Is it true Mike and Grant will choose the final entrant no matter what?
No sir. They have been giving their input but this is our show. The last thing those two guys need is more stuff to do.
What do you have lined up for the future?
We are gonna keep doing things that we are proud of and believe in, regardless of profit or popularity. Last year we had no idea that we would be doing what we are now. It’s pretty simple and organic and just the shit we are into and the way we live. Get involved with the stuff you live and love and avoid stuff you don’t like, often that’s something different or something that has been lost or was missing. That’s our role in the mag world, some people get it and some people probably never will. Bikes are a way to escape from life’s stress, not find more of it.
How much money are you guys making from this? What’s your angle?
As of right now we may sell a few magazines and tees shirts at the show but that’s about it. There are minimal costs with this so we will have some sponsors to help out but there is a real good chance getting out there and back will actually cost us money. But that’s not why we’re doing it. We rode out before and will do it again.
Any concern that the whole idea will flop?
Not at all. Some of the best times we have are unplanned and by accident. I know we will be among friends and have a good time. So it could rain fire and brimstone and we could be there with a dozen other guys and I know it will turn into some good memories, which is what all of this is about. Good friends make good times.
Any last words?
My dear old grandma told me. “The day you tell someone what they should do is the day you should be prepared to do what everyone else tells you.” That and “If it’s free take it, if it’s not free, take it anyway.” She’s currently doing a 10-year stretch up state.
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