Story & Photos by Diana Olmstead
I awoke on a beautiful Saturday morning in August, it was the 22nd to be exact; I was pumped up to hop on my bike and take a nice little ride to Northwest Harley-Davidson in Lacey, WA. Of course any time I’m headed to the Harley shop I’m happy… it’s like an adult candy store. However, today was going to be over the top – it was Northwest Harley Davidson’s wildly popular 18th Annual Big Bad Bike Show!
As I exited I-5 and took the exit 111 off-ramp, downshifting and rapping my pipes the entire way, I looked to my left and took in the sight of Northwest Harley Davidson’s parking lot. It was jam packed with row after row of gleaming motorcycles!
After I parked my own scoot I realized instantly that none of the motorcycles that were parked in the roped off area were for sale, they were all entrants in the 18th Annual Big Bad Bike Show!
I’d estimate that there were between 65-75 bikes and they were spread out in the following categories: Dyna, Touring, Softail, Custom, Metric, Sportster, Antique/Classic, Trike & V-Rod plus Best of Show.
As I walked around I ran into tons of familiar faces that I’ve met over the years. That’s what’s great about an event like this; it becomes a place where road brothers and sisters gather and catch up with each other and talk about bikes. Many talked about their own scoots, but all had opinions and plenty of compliments for the motorcycles that had entered the bike show.
To truly appreciate a show bike, especially a custom, it requires one to get down on all fours and see the custom detail up close and personal. If you don’t, you will surely miss some of the finer details and amazing craftsmanship that make a bike a bona fide custom show bike. If it weren’t for the guaranteed wisecracks I’d receive I would have worn a pair of knee pads to this bike show!
I spoke to several competitors who had invested a combination of time, creativity, craftsmanship and money into each of their bikes. Some stated that while winning the trophy would be nice, that wasn’t their sole focus or motivation to attend; they were there to have some fun and to support their love and passion for tricked out motorcycles. And many entrants simply wanted to participate because the Big Bad Bike Show is also a charity event that benefits AUSA (Association of the U.S. Army) and it was their way of thanking & helping our service members.
The entry fee was $20 if you pre-registered or $30 if you registered that day, and all Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard paid $10. The entry fee also included a T-shirt & BBQ. This year they decided to shorten the length of the bike show a tad so that riders from farther away wouldn’t have to get on their bikes at the crack of dawn to participate and so that riders could still go enjoy other activities afterwards. This year the show started at 11am and ended at 2:30pm. What a great idea!
In addition to all of the show bikes, there were about a dozen carefully chosen vendor booths. The highly talented John Hannukaine was busy pinstriping, Mary with Mary’s Patches had a long line of people who needed some leather &and patch sewing done, Evolution Ink was occupied with bikers who wanted some new tatts, Bell Helmets was on hand, Veterans Lending Group was there to discuss how they can assist veterans with VA Loans, the South Sound HOG/LOH members had a bake and craft sale, and there were several other booths that I can’t recall by name.
Along the side of the dealership was the bike wash booth where a couple of young women in itty bitty bathing suits were busy washing down dirty bikes and giving the fellas a lot to look at.
The band Backlash was rocking the crowd in the covered courtyard just outside of Northwest H-D’s front doors. Just a few feet away the sweet scent and sight of a real Southern barbecue had everyone’s mouths watering thanks to the crew from Amazing Grace BBQ! I have to say this one of the best BBQ meals I have had at any event. Everyone was raving about their food! One of the things that I liked about the set up in this area was the fact that the dealership had several tables and chairs in place so that riders could kick back, relax and listen to the band while enjoying their lunch. That was very thoughtful and much appreciated.
Of course I wanted to see what was happening inside the dealership too, so in I went. The girls at the front counter greeted me with a smile and an enthusiastic “Hi, can we help you find anything?” A cheerful greeting always goes a long way in my book.
The showroom floor was packed with people talking to the Northwest H-D sales staff and before I knew it the “I just bought a new bike” bell was being rung by a proud new bike owner. The sound of that bell was almost like a motorcycle mating call, as it attracted other riders to gather around to see who the new bike owner was and which bike they had just purchased and then to congratulate him!
I noticed that the Parts & Accessories Department had a line of people at their counter too. Some of the guys and gals were ordering parts and several were there picking up parts, oil, and whatever else they needed.
Upstairs the NWHD Motorclothes Department was looking quite tantalizing so I picked out a handful of items and made my way to the dressing room which then led me directly to the cash register. Gee, no big surprise there, I love to shop!
I took my Harley bags that were filled with a few tank tops and t-shirts and walked out to my bike to stow them away in my saddle bags. I had parked just outside of the Service Department’s main door. I couldn’t help but notice how busy they were, bikes were rolling in and bikes were rolling out non-stop.
At 3 pm the 18th Annual Big Bad Bike Show came to a close with the Bike Show winner announcements and trophy presentations. Congratulations to the following winners: Dyna – Stacy Oestiech, Touring – Jerry Penor, Softail – Steven Fine, Custom – Tom Evans, Metric – Grant McAllister, Antique/Classic – Manuel Chavez, Sportster – Brad Hall, Trike – Rick Williams, V-Rod – Frank Frazier, Employee- Jesse Czesnowski, Best of Show – Jerry Penor and People’s Choice – Tom Evans!
The trophies were designed by Northwest Metal Creations. The Best of Show winner took home a $250 NWHD gift certificate and all other category winners took home a $100 NWHD gift certificate!
I have to say this year’s 18th Annual Big Bad Bike Show was a good time indeed! It was a gorgeous sunny day but thankfully not as hot as it had been in previous weeks, the total attendance was somewhere between 900-1000 people and the bike show raised over $1500 for AUSA! How awesome is that!?!
Be sure to stay tuned for more upcoming Northwest Harley-Davidson events via their ads in Quick Throttle and as posted on their website: www.nwharley.com and their facebook page.