The Rat’s Hole is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Join us Thursday night for the big 40th Anniversary Bash at the Harley Crossing for cold beer, live music, and free schwag.
It all began 40 years ago in the A&P parking lot next to Daytona Beach’s Main Street. Karl Smith, affectionately known as Big Daddy Rat, provided an outlet for custom bike owners and builders to get together, hang out, and show their bikes for prizes in the first Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show held during the annual Run to the Sun. Little did Karl know it was the beginning of a legacy as The Rat’s Hole has become a Daytona Beach Bike Week institution, attracting some of the most talented custom motorcycle builders from around the world to compete in this prestigious bike show. Since its modest early days, Rat’s Hole has hosted several TV shows, from the World Biker Build-Off on the Discovery Channel to the International Biker Build-Off on Speed Channel’s American Thunder.
And though Big Daddy Rat may no longer be with us, his son Ted Smith and family have done an admirable job of continuing the tradition and maintaining The Rat’s Hole’s status as the premiere custom bike show during Daytona. Many of its judges, like Chief Judge Tony, have been with the show for almost 30 years. This year’ events promise to be bigger and better than ever as the Bike Week institution celebrates its 40th anniversary. The Rat’s Hole Bar will be set up all week at Harley Crossings, the venue right across the street from Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona, where they’ll be throwing a big party Thursday night with none other than Motorcycle USA. They’ve also planned a V8 motorcycle parade down Main Street and this year’s big custom bike show will feature the Café Racer Showdown at the Daytona Lagoon on Saturday, March 17.
It all kicks off Wednesday, March 14, with a V8 parade down Main Street sponsored by Boss Hoss Cycles. The event is scheduled to take off from Custom Cycle Works on 883 W. International Speedway Blvd. at 1 p.m. Come a little early for
The Rat’s Hole attracts some of the best custom motorcycle builders from around the world, like the winner of the 2011 World Bike Showdown, Chopper Kulture from Abu Dhabi.
some free refreshments and camaraderie with other V8 motorcycle owners before heading out for an afternoon spin on The Loop. The ride will end at The Rat’s Hole Bar at Harley Crossing where the fun and festivities will continue. The best part is, organizers aim to raise money for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, so it’s a benefit ride for a good cause.
Thursday night, March 15, Motorcycle USA and the Rat’s Hole are teaming up to throw the 40th Anniversary Bash at Harley Crossing. The party is FREE to the general public, so we encourage all you Motorcycle USA readers out there to join us for a night of fun. People who have a bike registered in the show get additional access to the VIP section where we’ll have more beer flowing, finger foods to grub on and a pro will be rollin’ up stogies for sale. The good people from Twisted Tea are also sponsoring the party and the Rats Mates will be on hand dishing out samples of Hard Iced Tea. Motorcycle USA will have its own umbrella girls at the show passing out free schwag, too. The band One Hit Wonder, who I hear has a pretty cool light show, will be jamming live music while a tattoo contest is also scheduled with free ink, money and prizes up for grabs. The Rat’s Hole Bar sells these cool giant mugs emblazoned with the Rat’s Hole logo for $12. Best part is, that $12 mug is filled with the equivalent of three cans of beer, it’s insulated for hot and cold beverages so you can reuse it, and you can get it refilled for only $6. Not gonna beat these beer prices at too many places around Daytona Beach. The party starts at 7 p.m. at Harley Crossing, so come party with us during Bike Week.
Saturday, March 17 is the day of the big show. The 40th annual Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show will feature the Café Racer Showdown where four custom builders have been invited to create a bike for the show in a head-to-head competition. The Showdown will be decided by popular vote and everyone who attends the show will be given a voting ballot. The other categories will be decided by the Rat’s Hole’s seasoned panel of judges. It will be a party-like atmosphere at the Daytona Lagoon as a tattoo will be held and local beauties will be competing for the title of Miss Rat
Mate and the opportunity to represent the Rat’s Hole this coming year at its various shows. We’ve heard this year’s show also features new trophies in honor of its 40th anniversary so Motorcycle USA wanted in on the action by sponsoring three classes. Pre-register now for $40 as time is running out. The 2012 Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show will once again take place at the Daytona Lagoon at 601 Earl Street on the north side of the Ocean Center. We hope to see you there, and don’t forget to come party with us Thursday night at the Harley Crossing.