Motorcycle Rodeo Boogie
By Tom McCarthy
There’s no doubt about it, attending a motorcycle rodeo is about as much fun as you can legally have in public and still have your clothes on. Wet T-shirt contests notwithstanding, a motorcycle rodeo is not to be missed, especially if it’s an Easyriders Rodeo Tour event! The bikes are loud and powerful, the women are definitely eye candy and the good times are everywhere you look. The newest Easyriders Rodeo Tour stop was at Bloomsburg, PA Fairgrounds, June 7-9.
From the bike show, to the kick-start contests and lots of main-stage action with live bands each night, if you’re not having a good time, you may need medical attention. Motorcycles of every make model and year come and go for the two-wheel watchers; and for the people watchers, well it’s like a walking tattoo convention that’s non-stop. If nothing else, it’s great to be with your own kind even if only for a few days.
The vendors midway has lots of goodies you don’t need but really want to browse anyway. There is a swap meet aisle too, for that oddball part you’ve been searching for, that you don’t want to pay the factory price for.
Now I ask you, who is not up for a session of Bar Stool Racing? Is there a faster way to fetch a brewski? I think not. Besides, if you don’t like the guy passing you, he’s an easy target to meet the hay bales if you know what I mean. Congratulations to Brian Vanetesse of Chambersburg, PA who won the Bar Stool Racing event at PA.
Now the BIG dogs of the event are the Fuel Trike motorcycles. Some run on straight methanol, others use a mix including good old nitromethane. Jim Hale of MI has a 114 cubic inch Big Twin in his fuel trike running alky with a Harley-Davidson 4-speed sitting in the frame rails. This was the combination he used to win at PA over some very stout competition.
Not every event in the Rodeo requires big inches and lots of power. With Robert Tabor driving, Nikki Abel of Canton, OH won the Weenie Bite while doing her best impression of Linda Lovelace on a good night at the hot dog stand. She made it look easy (and it’s not); clearly, America’s got talent, folks.
The Gas Trike class was won by Ted Gummett, of MI with his big-twin thunder and let me tell you, the Sled Pull in any class is tough, tough stuff! These stump-pullers will suddenly go left or right and the drivers have everything they can do to keep the bikes in their assigned lanes. To their credit, the Easyriders folks make the racers switch lanes on runs too, just to keep ‘em honest and make the competition fair. Rob Schwellinger, the Director of Competition, knows his rodeos and his riders, and runs a tight, fair competition.
For fans’ viewing pleasure, the Tire Drag was won by Nikki Abel with Robert Tabor driving and l say “Damn” look at that team go out there! Tabor gets on the gas as soon as Nikki has the potato in her hand, and he zips to the finish line, where Nikki hops off the big tire and sprints back to the finish line to drop the potato in the official bucket to stop the clock. She runs like the wind after being dragged a few hundred feet, and she thinks nothing of it. She is a true rodeo champion in any event she enters. And with seventeen years of practice, Nikki enjoys teaching others how to do what she does.
In the Barrel Race, Jason Tabor of Ohio made it look like he was “The Flash” out there, ripping it up around the barrels, laying into his Sporty like a kid on a skateboard – he has MAD skills, to say the least, as a rodeo rider.
For the folks who don’t have the funds to build a competition motorcycle, but still want to get out there and have some fun: The Slow Race can be done with any street bike and some basic riding skills. Many people signed up for the Slow Race, which is WAY harder than it looks to win. The good news is, anyone can enter. The bad news is, you still have to race and beat guys like Jason Tabor – and no one could beat him in the Slow Race!
Solo Sled to me is one of, if not the hardest, race to win. It’s one big-ass motorcycle with a tire the size of Large Marge’s butt, plus a whole lot of horsepower courtesy of a ton of torque! One bike, one determined racer and a sled to be pulled 200 feet IF you can! Who won it? Jason Tabor of Ohio, of course. When I indicated he had “Mad Skills” I was not kidding. Slow race, barrel race, sled pull: if you want to be #1, you have to beat the best. He’s not hard to find, just look for the #1 plate on his motorcycles and know this my friend, he’s earned every one of them!
The next event on the Easyriders Rodeo Tour will be in Fowlerville, MI on August 16-18, if you have what it takes to compete, get your ass to Michigan and lock horns with the best of the best! Or if you and your buddies want a great time for a weekend of camping and rowdy fun: get some!