Annie Oakley's Saloon
Motorcycles packed the parking lot in front of Annie Oakley’s Saloon then spilled into the adjacent field. Out back, an array of customs by the invited builders filled the grassy knoll while others in the ride-in bike show crammed in beneath the trees. Cool swag from a long list of sponsors was raffled off over the course of the day until the Left Lane Cruiser Band upped the energy levels. Between its wooden back deck, outdoor bar, and shaded grounds, the back area of Annie Oakley’s was a perfect place for a good old-fashioned chopper show of 1984 and earlier motorcycles.
With a front end stretched far enough to make Sugar Bear proud and a cab so cool it channeled the spirit of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, it was impossible to miss JP Rodman’s 1960’s style trike. Sporting a blown Knucklehead, ram’s horn bars, and dual M&H Racemaster drag tires on the back, Rodman’s three-wheeler had all the charm of an old fashioned shaggin’ wagon.
Next to it sat Steven “TheHeadChoppa” Bates latest build, a 1945 Knucklehead in a ’38 Knucklehead frame with a solid aluminum rear wheel engraved by New Line Engraving. Bates’ bike is full of fine details, from the handmade shift knob carved from an elk horn to its hand forged sissy bar to its trick horseshoe kicker pedal. Steven also brought his ultra-clean panhead to the show, a bike we featured online after seeing it at last year’s Handbuilt Motorcycle Show.
We chatted with Jason Ochoa about his clean 1955 rigid Panhead, his build featuring a 1957 straight-leg frame and a 1947 Knucklehead transmission. Bathed in varying shades of purple flake, Ochoa’s Pan included a picture of Jimi Hendrix on the oil tank and the words “Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky” engraved on the air cleaner cover. Ochoa remembers his dad playing Hendrix regularly at home on an old reel-to-reel and said the theme was in honor of his father, a Vietnam vet who loved listening to Jimi.
With a laid back vibe and a bounty of beautiful bikes, the first annual Boogie East Chopper Show at Bike Week was by all measures a big success. Organizers are already discussing doing it again next year. We believe Pete LaBarbera would be proud of the biker bash that took place in his honor at his old haunting grounds.