Article by Christopher Galley (Devil Chicken Design)
It started with a slight stumble. But with one heroic leap, gravel, rubber and smoke filled the air. The only thing louder than the scream of the motor was the roar of the crowd. Everyone had big smiles and soon enough, lungs full of tire smoke. That’s how we wrapped up Voodoo & Burnt Rubber IV. Our year of planning, bike building, painting, and photography couldn’t have had a more appropriate ending. One lucky chopper punk walked away with a custom Sportster built by Dave Roberts of Broken Sprocket Garage with custom paint by Christopher Galley of Devil Chicken Design. There are not too many times when a single $40.00 ticket will get you a custom bike. While the spray of rubber and smoke heralded an end to the party, there is a lot more to tell you about.
Photo by Anthony Festa
This is the first year we brought VBR to the city of Buffalo. The first three years the event was held in the picturesque suburb of East Aurora. That is the home of Broken Sprocket Garage, our original home. As word spread about what we were putting together, the crowds grew. Popularity required us to look for a larger space. When the gigantic venue we booked cancelled only 4 months before the event, we scrambled to come up with a spot that could work. In true motorcycle fashion, sometimes your largest challenges become your biggest triumphs. Enter Space Buffalo. Our new event space not only accommodated our bike builders on the first floor and our artists on the second, but also featured a vintage arcade in an amazing industrial setting! Next, we began assembling our roster of invited builders and artists.
Photo by Jesse Ladowski
Rob Alsheimer II, Jay Cagney, Viktoria Ciostek, Anthony Philip Fest, Christopher Galley, Elyssa Harper, Jesse Ladowski, Mikey Revolt, Peter Potter, and Josh Scott answered the call to fill the second floor with their craft. The artwork on hand ranged from custom-painted helmets, to lifestyle and chopper photography, to fine art painting and drawings that would make any too-hip-for-the-room art gallery jealous. The first floor featured some amazing builds by Dave Roberts, Brian Carvalho, Virginia Hall, Kevin “Fingers” McHenry, Christian Newman, Jason Smay, and Tim Statt, as well as hot rod builds by Paul Straus and Jesse Coots. Each bike was displayed on custom tables built by some of the most creative and talented craftsman western New York has to offer.
Photos by Jesse Ladowski
As the crowd started to gather and make their way into the show it was evident that we achieved our goal. We aimed to create an event that would bring the garage builders, that work all winter on projects, whether it’s a car or bike, out to meet each other and get some inspiration from the art and machinery we brought together. The smiles and conversations mixed with the pings and zaps from the arcade made for one hell of a good time. The only thing to drown out the conversations of the eager crowd was the roar of The Blue Ribbon Bastards. Their hot rod brand of rockabilly got the crowd moving and almost burned our raffle bike to the ground!
As the sun began to descend over the Buffalo skyline we knew it was time to recognize our event sponsors for their financial support. Without Cats Like Us, The Parlour of Buffalo, Von Straus Pinstriping, Gigacycle Garage, Doomed NYC, and Worse for Wear we would not have been able to pull this day off. They even came to the event and set up so that everyone had a chance to check out their wares and take something home with them. We also wanted to recognize Century Grill for the kick ass pre-party they put together the night before in their beautiful former Freemasons Lodge.
Photo by Anthony Festa
Now it was time to pull the winning ticket for the VBR raffle bike. David Roberts of Broken Sprocket Garage built this beautiful machine. He truly outdid himself on the build. He was helped by the generosity of myriad build sponsors. Lowbrow Customs, Biltwell Inc., Bowman Motorcycles, David Bird Hardtales, Universal Vintage Tire Co., LC Fabrications, Klispie Motorsports, Gigacycle Garage, DS One Off, Joker Machine, Strange Cycle, ReRun Cycle-Works Mfg. Co., Batteries Express, County Seats, B.A. Enterprises, Heroes Run, Bison Motorsports, Iron Art Cycles, Von Straus Pinstriping, Spikeclaw LLC., Niagara Custom Plating, Eagle Powdercoating, and Ron Lasker Pinstriping all kicked in for the cause. I was asked to handle the paint on the tank. I tried something a little different and was very glad when it all worked out!
Photos by Anthony Festa
The crowd gathered around the bin of tickets as Dave reached in and pulled the winner. A nervous hush fell over the crowd as everyone checked their tickets. The silence was broken when a hand triumphantly reached above the mass of disappointed ticket holders to claim his prize. When he finally made his way to the bike you could tell from the look on his face that this bike had found the right home. As he tried the bike on for size, a cheer broke out in recognition of his victory. This was immediately followed by the call for the mandatory burnout which brings us back to where we started.
Photo by Anthony Festa
Before I sign off I want to recognize the people that make this event go. It’s a three-person team that did all of the heavy lifting and planning to make all of this happen. Dave Roberts and Joanne Galley put a tremendous amount of time and effort into making the event a success. They also make it look effortless! Thanks for all you do. I also want to recognize Evenhouse Printing, Cyberspokes, and ChopCult for helping us get the word out. I also want to thank our team of volunteers who made the day run smoothly. Leslie & Shawn Andrews, Pat Merrick, Adam Frenz, Bryant Plymel, James Goodrich, Eric Lewis, Sarah Caruana, and Sandy Roberts. They pitched in to cover everything from ticket sales to parking.
We are always working on making improvements to VBR that will help expand our event and raise money for our beneficiary charities, Pets for Vets and The Rural Outreach Center. So make some time next summer to come check out Buffalo. We throw one hell of a party, and the wings are pretty good too…
Article by Christopher Galley / @devilchickendesign / Voodoo & Burnt Rubber
Photos by Jesse Ladowski / @jesseladowski
Additional photos by Anthony Festa / @anthonyphilipfesta