Creating an event always starts off the same; a few friends get together and start discussing the possibilities. Most times talk is just talk, but on the rare occasion, the friends actually invest the time and create one hell of an event. The Mama Tried Motorcycle Show is the brainchild of Milwaukee residents, Warren Heir and Scott Johnson. They could have created an event during the summer months, but chose February instead. We all know that Milwaukee winters are brutal, so why February? Their main goal was to help generate income for local businesses during their off season. Working with the locals, Warren and Scott gave renewed life to an abandoned Milwaukee industrial building and helped support the city they love so much. They invited some of the best national builders, as well as local talent, to showcase their vision. The Mama Tried Motorcycle Show is a spark of inspiration for all who attend and a great time, as well. I’m fortunate to have known Warren for many years and was introduced to Scott last year. Both are hardworking, family men, who enjoy all things motor related. It was easy to see why they joined forces to produce one hell of an event. ChopCult is proud to be sponsoring their next event, which will take place February 21-22, 2015. Even though the guys are busy with their upcoming show, they took the time to help us with this feature. Enjoy!
A little background/bio on each:
Warren – I’m the owner of Jr's Cycle Products. I’ve been building bikes for 15 years. I grew up in my Dad's shop, Warren's Cycle. And, I Love 60-70's style choppers.
Scott – I grew up riding dirt bikes, then graduated to building euro and Jap cafe bikes, AHRMA road racing and flat track racing. I opened Fuel Cafe, a sorta moto-ish cafe, in Milwaukee (with my partner Leslie) in 1993. I’ve been putting on bike events, races, shows (Rockerbox), rides, etc. since around then. I eat, sleep, and breathe motorcycles.
How long have you known each other?
Warren - Getting close to 4 years?
Scott – Yeah, about 4 years I guess? Surprised we had never met before. The town isn’t that big and we have a ton of the same friends! But, we hit it off immediately and definitely have fun traveling and riding and partying together.
How did the concept for the Mama Tried Motorcycle Show come about?
Warren - Scott approached me with his "vision" of a motorcycle show. I told him to get lost. I hate motorcycle shows. Then he talked me into doing it, solely based on the fact that we could make it an "invite only" show. So, it did not turn into that run of the mill Midwest motorcycle show mess.
Scott - I was doing a summertime, ride in, outdoor show (outside of Fuel Cafe) called Rockerbox that was just getting too big, and taking up all of my time with planning. It was a blast, but my interests were changing and I wanted to switch gears and do something in the off season, invitational style. I talked to Warren about it a few times and he was a bit reluctant, if you can call “fuck that” reluctant!
Why name it Mama Tried?
Warren - We were trying to think of a name based on song titles. That one stuck. After thinking about it a bunch we have a feeling that it holds true for a ton of guys/gals who ride motorcycles these days.
Scott - It was either that or Snowblind (I think)? We just didn’t want to have a name that looked like an Affliction shirt.
Who's behind the event and what are their individual duties?
Warren - Basically, three of us. Scott and I figure out who to invite and involve, as well as logistics and overall vision. And Maureen is in charge of sponsors, making sure everyone knows what to do and when to do it and tying up loose ends that Scott and I leave lying all over.
Scott - It’s pretty much Warren and Maureen Post and me. But really, Maureen does all the heavy lifting and organizing and keeping us on track.
What goals do you try to achieve with your event?
Warren - Create a comfortable atmosphere without the "cool guy" mentality. We want all shapes, sizes and colors to come out, talk motorcycles & drink beer.
Scott - To me, it’s really all about two things: the shit we like and drawing a line between custom street bikes and purpose built race bikes. Competition motorcycles are just as crazy cool and innovative (sometimes more) than street bikes, but unless you or your brother or neighbor is in the Hillclimb/Flattrack/Roadrace/Drag Racing/Ice Racing scene, you never get to see this stuff. It’s rad machinery and makes me feel like a little kid when I’m around it.
Photos by Cicero DeGuzman
Why February of all months? Isn't Milwaukee insanely cold in February ?
Warren - What else are we going to do in February? Cabin fever is a real thing in these parts.
Scott - Summertime in the Midwest is limited and so jam packed with festivals and races and weddings and camping trips and dirt bike rides that just cramming another fest into that schedule is insane. In the winter, everyone takes their bikes apart for maintenance, upgrades, custom this and that. We get a lot of time to tinker with stuff so it’s cool to be able to showcase some of that cabin fever ingenuity.
Are the invite builders from the Midwest only?
Warren - Nope. A majority are from the Midwest to keep the Midwest feel, but we have bikes coming from all over the country.
Scott - They are mostly from the Midwest, but we have friends from all over and so we invite them too. We thought that the people from warm weather climates would be scared off by the cold, but they seemed to get stoked on the winter up here (at least for just a visit!) and the Ice Riding/Racing part of Midwest winters.
Give us the particulars: Who, What, Where, When, How much (vendor booths and general admission) and where to look for more details. Feb-21-22 Milwaukee, Wi. $5 at the door. For sponsor’s inquiries contact Maureen Post. Check out www.mamatriedshow.com and Instagram @mamatriedshow #mamatriedshow
Anyone you like to thank?
Warren - Everyone who came out last year! Patrons, builders, and sponsors. You guys are what make this show so much fun!! Can't wait till next year!
Scott - Yes, we would like to thank everyone from last year, who when asked to bring their bikes to a show they’d never heard of before, just said “yes”! It was the greatest feeling that 99% of the folks we asked to bring their motorcycles (many of whom didn’t even know us) said yes and made the effort to come from near and far (thanks Shawn and Scott). It made for an awesome show. And everyone who came, told their friends, sponsored us, helped haul garbage, clean up the space, set up, tear down, load bikes, clear the snow off the ice at the Marina for our day of Sunday riding, all that. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.
Lastly, is there anything Chop Cult members can do to help?
Warren - Put up fliers, post on blogs, etc? Come to the show and drink our beer! Oh, post and repost all of our flyers, videos and info. That would be great!! See you in February!
Scott - Chop Cult members are pretty much the most down home, level headed and passionate motorcycle folks in the world! Just keep doing what you’re doing and keep this scene/world authentic, positive and stoked. And come to Milwaukee in February for some big rowdy motorcycle fun!
Thanks Lisa!! We really appreciate the support. And we heart Chopcult :)
Scott and Warren