2012 Sturgis Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show

August 10, 2012
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

The Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show, celebrating 40 years of hosting one of the most prestigious bike shows around, attracted almost 70 competitors to the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s CrossRoads Thursday as all eyes focused on the coveted “Best of Show” prize. Winning a Rat’s Hole Show is a

Larry Moore of Moore Customs shows off his Best of Show Big Daddy Rat trophy to the crowd.
Larry Moore of Moore Customs accepts the Rat’s Hole ‘Best of Show’ award onstage between the Sugarland and Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts at The Buffalo Chip.
Larry Moore of Moore Customs accepts the Rats Hole Best of Show award onstage between the Sugarland and Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts at The Buffalo Chip.

strong addition to any shop’s resume as producing show-winners never hurts bike sales.

Besides receiving the unique Big Daddy Rat “Best of Show” trophy, the winner was slated to be announced onstage in front of thousands of people during the Sugarland/Lynyrd Skynyrd Show that night at The Chip. They will also be featured in The Ratty Rag newspaper the Rat’s Hole gang produces and hands out at rallies. The winner will also be on the Rat’s Hole beer mugs which have been a big hit at the 2012 Sturgis Rally. The show continues to be a family tradition as Ted Smith’s son Jason is taking over the reins, becoming the third generation of Smiths to conduct the show. Karl Smith, Jr., aka “Big Daddy Rat,” would be proud.

There were plenty of interesting entries in this year’s competition. You’ve heard of monster trucks, but have you ever seen a Boss Hoss with a semi-wheel mounted on the rear? Neither had I until this year’s Rat’s Hole Sturgis Show. If that wasn’t enough, there was another competitor with a homemade chopper with an S&S 124 engine right next to the Boss Hoss beast that had a back tire just as big. Another first was a 1999 Suzuki Intruder completely wrapped in leather and hides including the tank, fenders, front fairing, seat and saddlebags.

One of our favorites was Eldon Haas’ “twisted” chopper. Powered by a 127 cubic-inch Ultima mated to a six-speed Ultima gearbox and hooked up with nitrous, the frame, fork and swingarm featured chrome-plated metal that had been twisted in the vein of Indian Larry. Malleable brass was used for accents on the bike but the story behind the bend of the pipes, which also twist around each other, made us chuckle. Haas took 12 feet of metal tubing and hooked it on a 40-20 John Deere then spun the wheels of the tractor to get the pipes to bend and wrap around each other. Necessity is the mother of invention, I suppose.

The Travel Channel was busy filming the 2012 Sturgis Rats Hole Show for an upcoming special.
The Travel Channel was busy filming the 2012 Sturgis Rat’s Hole Show for an upcoming special.
Ever seen a semi-wheel on a Boss Hoss  Now you have.
Ever seen a semi-wheel on a Boss Hoss? Now you have.

Other mentionable bikes included a Softail that had been converted into a sharp Road Glide and an FXR that had such clean body work you didn’t realize it was a 1985 Harley FXR until you inspected it closely. It was a refreshing take to the standard SOA spin that seems to be the norm these days. Of course, we’ve got a soft spot for unrestored classics with their oil-seeped Harley engines and no-frills bobbers always bring a smile to our face.

But this year belonged to Moore Customs who not only won the “Over 1000 Radical” class but also snared “Best of Show” honors. We’re very familiar with this motorcycle after seeing it in the AMD World Championships the day before where it captured seventh place in the prestigious Freestyle Class. The first time we saw it though was when it won the Freestyle Class last December in the Ultimate Builder Dallas show. The tidiness of this bike and its clean lines helped separate Moore’s low-slung cruiser from the crowd. Mounted within the frame rails of a custom chassis sits an 80 cubic-inch Harley V-Twin which gets its juice from dual tanks. A wonderful Springer stretches out the front while a fat rear has the barest of fenders covering it. We love the wide beach cruiser-style bars with internal wiring and twist throttle. The braking system features single rotors front and back with two sets of calipers on each. A rigid rear, an industrial strength open primary and a slick jockey shifter sealed the deal for Larry Moore.

And while Moore Customs gets the lion’s share of the credit for claiming top honors in this year’s show, we’ve listed the winners of each individual category who also deserve props for their hard work and creativity. Jason and his sister Cynthia Smith also deserve credit for busting their humps all week to bring this all together. When they weren’t conducting the show, they were manning the Rat’s Hole booth inside the Buffalo Chip, working from morning until late into the night. They’ve also kept plenty of people happy with the cold PBR flowing out of the taps of the Rat’s Hole Buffalo Chip booth.

2012 Sturgis Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show Winners –

Miss Ratsmate 2012 proudly models our MotoUSA.com banner.
Miss Ratsmate 2012 all wrapped up in our MotoUSA.com banner.

Best of Show – Moore Customs
Three-wheeler Class – Gene Bateman
250cc Class – Kyle Schaeffer
251 – 1000 Class – AFT Customs
Sportster Custom – Bob Gilliland
Sportster Radical – Herman Gould
Most Unusual – Walt Moss
Full Dresser & Touring – Jim LaBarr
Extreme Bagger – Darren Davis
Rat Class – Eric Sage
Antique (Classics Restored) – Tom Brown
Antique (Classics Unrestored) – Terry New
Bobber Class – Johnny Gil
Over 1000 Stock – Nancy Jenson
Extreme Bobber Class – Jeff Carlson
Over 1000 Custom – Cory Edwards
Over 1000 Radical – Moore Customs
Super Radical – Rods & Rides