It was an ensemble of odd and eclectic, from a Saber Toothed chopper, bones for a frame, rib cage wrapped around the tank, to a cruiser outfitted with four 1000cc RevTech V-Twins. There was a twin-engined trike with big blowers near a three-wheeled Harley bagger with a pair of tilting front wheels. Of course, this is about par for course at the Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show in Sturgis which always attracts some of the most exotic motorcycles around. Ted Smith and his tenured troop of judges had their work cut out for them as over 120 motorcycles competed in the 27th annual Rat’s Hole Sturgis Show, the international judging team ultimately having to break eight ties.
“We had one of the best shows we’ve had in Sturgis in years,” said Rat’s Hole owner Smith.
Paul Cavallo of Spitfire Motorcycles was the big winner of the day, taking home both the Café Racer Class and Best of Show for his “Spyder” muscle bike. Just about everything was engineered in-house and all tooling was done under the premise the motorcycle would ultimately become a Spitfire production bike. The power cruiser features a reinforced backbone with twin oversized tubes that bend down and curve back and serve as lower frame rails, too. The lower tubes cradle a fuel-injected 111” S&S V-Twin. The thick tubing serves to house oil in the frame. There’s no downtube so Cavallo had to design a heavy-duty set of triple clamps to compensate. The split tank and tail section are both hinged so they flip up. The bike can be dialed in to rider’s preference thanks to adjustable clip-ons and controls that can be moved forward and backward. Twin 23-inch wheels sit beneath bobbed carbon fiber fenders, CF used for the air cleaner and some of the engine covers as well. As a whole the build is ultra-clean, its tail/turn signals incorporated into the tail section and its 1400 lumen LED lights on the front neatly tied into the triples. Brembo brakes and stainless steel pipes round out a stellar Spitfire build.
Paul Cavallo’s “Best of Show” Rat’s Hole Sturgis winner is a mean, muscular machine.
The 2015 Rat’s Hole in Sturgis also featured the second annual Black Hills Bagger Showdown. Over 30 baggers and dressers competed in easily the most hotly contested category of the show. When votes were tallied, Oscar of Power House Custom Cycles LLC out of Houston, Texas, edged out TD Ward of St. Louis, Missouri, for the victory. Power House would live up to its name as Tony, George and Marcus swept 3rd through 5th with Power House builds. The company is known for the stretched saddlebags and back fender they produce in-house, the bags 7-inches lower and 14-inches longer than stock. Their recipe for success includes custom front fairings of their own design with trick audio systems. Power House floorboards and bars are also popular items for the Houston-based company. Their big, bold baggers are slammed with air ride and roll on monster front hoops. Engines dripping in chrome, twisted pipes and amazing paint helped the Power House crew stand out in the Black Hills Bagger Showdown.
The new Indian Scout is proving to be a popular platform for customization. Recluse Customs out of Oracle, Arizona, tidied one up with a contemporary Recluse leaf spring front end and a 23-inch front wheel. The build features custom raked triple trees, a billet speedo mount and new internally wired bars. Recluse went with a 200/40-20 rear and tidied up the back fender by relocating the signals and plate holder. Performance gets a boost from a Recluse intake and exhaust. They also cleaned up the look of the radiator with a grilled cover.
We’re very familiar with the winner of the Sportster Custom Class. We singled out Brad Hall’s Sportster 48 for our “Editor’s Choice” award when we attended the Seattle IMS last year. Hall injected his 2013 Sportster 48 with plenty of attitude, from the Coker Firestone ANS front tire to the spiked BMX foot pegs. The stock Sportster bars were replaced with a set of 7/8-inch Renthals teamed with mechanical ISR levers and see-through grips, its LC Fabrications master brake cylinder featuring a transparent reservoir. On the side of the tank sits a miniature Coca-Cola bottle that acts as a sight glass. The bikes oil lines are copper as is the external oil pressure gauge mounted to the left of the tank. Hall did the leather work on the bike himself, from the seat to the hand-tooled sheaths on the fork. While we were already fans of Hall’s work, it’s good to see him gain recognition on an even bigger stage.
People who registered their motorcycles in this year’s show got an added bonus, a chance to win Alice Cooper’s “Nightmare Bike.” Everybody who entered got a free ticket for the raffle being held for the custom motorcycle built by EEC Parts & Design and signed by Shock Rocker Cooper himself. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center and the Norelli Family Foundation. For more information about the raffle and details of the bike, be sure to check out our Alice Cooper Rocks for Rat’s Hole Raffle and Sturgis Chip article.
Congratulations Paul Cavallo for “Best of Show” honors. Below is a list of other 2015 Sturgis Rat’s Hole winners.
- This trike with Twin blowers brought horsepower galore to the Rat's Hole Sturgis Show.
- Ever seen a motorcycle with quadruple V-Twins? Neither had we until the 2015 Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show in Sturgis.
- Spitfire Motorcycle's Paul Cavallo hoists the "Best of Show" trophy at the 2015 Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show in Sturgis.
- As if this Harley XR1200x wasn't sporty enough!
2015 Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show Sturgis Winners List
Best of Show
Paul Cavallo Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Black Hills Bagger Showdown
Oscar Power House Custom Cycles Houston, TX
Over 1000cc Super Radical
Lance Gagnier Orlando, FL
Over 1000cc Radical
Christian Rivard Trois Rivteres, Quebec
Over 1000cc Custom
Bryan Freytag Farmington, NM
Over 1000cc Stock
Frank Fedler San Antonio, TX
Dave Chappell Las Vegas, NV
Mark Schmidt Hanahan, SC
Gene Bateman Bridgeport, NE
1 to 1000cc Class
Brad Whitmer Fallon, NV
Sportster Custom Class
Brad Hall Ashford, WA
Sportster Radical Class
Shortsters Wausa, NE
Full Dresser & Touring Class
Gilliland Customs Jackson, Ohio
Aron Wilson Elk City, OK
Café Racer Class
Paul Cavallo Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Stan Luebbers Erie, CO
Most Unusual Class
Vaughn Shafer El Jebel, CO