Harley Bike Week Ride-In Bike Show 2014

March 12, 2014
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.

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Cool custom Harleys and guest appearances by Willie G and Bill Davidson highlight the annual Harley-Davidson Bike Week Ride-In Custom Bike Show.

Harley-Davidson held its annual Bike Week Ride-In Custom Bike Show Wednesday at its display inside the grounds of Daytona International Speedway. Motorcycles entered in the show ran the gamut, from a 1912 “Silent Gray Fellow” to big baggers with bold bodywork and dazzling paint. A morning storm couldn’t stop determined Harley enthusiasts from showing up to compete for prizes in eight different classes, starting with the Pre-1948 Antique bikes up to the almost anything goes Freestyle class. Up for grabs was $150 for first place in each category, a one-of-a-kind custom painted helmet, and bragging rights for the next year for having one of the baddest Harleys around.

Show announcer and judge, industry veteran Bob Kay of Biker Pros, said it was coming down pretty hard this morning. This didn’t deter Gale McFarland from being the first one to show up this morning with his 1968 XLCH Sportster. The motorcycle has a great story behind it. McFarland bought the motorcycle new in February, 1968 at Fletcher’s Harley-Davidson for Bike Week. According to its one-and-only owner, “It has attended every Bike Week since new. This year it’s 46 years in a row. The bike was in original condition for 24 years and had 30,642 miles. It now has been restored to show room condition, exactly as it was when new.”

Christian Rivard steps up to the stage to accept his award for Best of Show at the Harley Ride-In Bike Show.
Christian Rivard steps up to the stage to accept his award for ‘Best of Show’ at the Harley Ride-In Bike Show for the 2010 super radical called ‘Spartacus’ shown above.
Groovy!! This 70s chopper was rockin a coffin tank and old school king   queen saddle.
Groovy!! This ’70s chopper was rockin’ a coffin tank and old school king & queen saddle. It featured a 1953 V-Twin saddled into a 70 Santee gooseneck frame  teamed to an EME Girder front end to complete the cool retro vibe.
A rat Knucklehead! Motorcycles entered in the Harley custom bike show ran the gamut.
A rat Knucklehead! Motorcycles entered in the Harley custom bike show ran the gamut.

Another stellar bike in Harley’s Ride-In Bike Show was a fantastic ‘70s-style chopper entered by Gus Petrakis. The scoot featured a groovy coffin tank with both inlays and metal flake paint. A 1953 V-Twin was saddled into a 70 Santee gooseneck frame and teamed with an EME Girder front end. Of course it was rockin’ a groovy old school king & queen saddle to go with its homemade sissy bar.

During the show, Harley-Davidson’s Willie G and son Bill Davidson, who oversees operations at the Harley Museum in Milwaukee, made a guest appearance. Willie G signed his name on the fender of a 1941F police bike to the delight of its owner and a little later, Bill followed suit, inking his name on the fender of a classic 1930 Harley-Davidson Model D.
But their job wasn’t finished yet. The duo stuck around for the awards ceremony to greet the winners and hand out the wonderful custom helmets serving as trophies. The winners of both the V-Rod and Antique Pre-1948 classes donated their winning money to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a charity Harley-Davidson has actively supported for many years and many millions of dollars.

Excitement escalated with each announcement as the crowd eagerly waited to find out who would win the coveted title “Best of Show.” The top prize went to Christian Rivard of Quebec, Canada for his 2010 Artisinal Chopper entered in the Freestyle Class. ‘Spartacus,” as it’s called, is a sight to behold, with fantastic fabrication displayed in its multi-dimensional tank and fenders. The frame is constructed of oversized tubing, it has an industrial-sized open belt primary, and anything that hasn’t been painted is chromed. Considering just about every visible piece of the bike has been customized in some fashion, it was indeed worthy of “Best of Show” accolades.

The number of motorcycles in this year’s show paled in comparison to contests of the past. Showers this morning didn’t help. But holding it at the Speedway for the first time seemed to hamper it as well as cars aren’t allowed to park inside the Speedway, making for challenging logistics. We’ve seen Beach Street flooded with motorcycles in the past, but today the only thing flooded were the streets from the passing squall.