By Rob Borden
Perhaps no one has enjoyed their quarantine more than the handful of teams that were selected to participate in this year’s Blue Collar Build Off… Now in its fourth year, this low-budget bike building competition brings in teams from all over the country, and it just keeps getting bigger and better every year. The founder of this competition, Rob Borden, openly admits that this year was by far, his favorite one yet.
“Due to the health concerns of Covid-19, we had to scale the event way back. Normally, the BCBO is held in conjunction with our “West Coast Rendezvous” event, which is open to the public and this year was scheduled to go on during the same dates as the Laughlin River Run. We were expecting great masses.”
“Obviously the River Run got cancelled, and we held on to hope as long as we could, but in the end, the health concerns did not lighten, as we hoped they would, so we had to postpone the WCR also. Now, we were faced with the BCBO build teams that had spent the last thirty days busting their asses, building their bikes, and they wanted to show them. They didn’t even care if we had toilet paper or not.”
Rob said, “How do you tell these teams to stay home, and forget about it for this year?” So, he told the builders, “There is no event, but if you guys still wanna come, the gates will be open for you. Just spread out your campsites at least 30 feet apart, and practice safe social distancing [legal disclaimer, LOL].”
The outcome was amazing… Wasn’t a huge crowd… No band, no vendors, no big anything, really. Just a handful of like minded, old school bikers having an old school biker time reminiscent of something in the 60’s or 70’s.
So, why was it Rob’s favorite, so far? “I didn’t have to run around the ranch all day everyday. I didn’t have to be the party host… I was just another party goer. I got to hang out with everyone. Sit around the campfire, get to know everyone and immerse myself into the party. I loved it.”
Friday morning was dedicated to the Builders’ Ride. We rode from the Saddle Sore Ranch [Golden Valley, AZ], up Route 66 eastbound to Hackberry, where we stopped for photos and a break. On the way to Hackberry, we stopped at a railroad tunnel that held a special significance to me, and all of the teams left their mark there as well.
Saturday morning, we rode from the ranch, out to Cool Springs and then down the ten-mile stretch of Route 66 known by bikers worldwide as the “Mohave Rattlesnake”. 222 curves in just ten miles. This brought us to the old mining town of Oatman, AZ. Only a handful of people were there. The only thing open was the General Store. We hung out there for a little bit, then turned around and did the Mohave Rattlesnake in the opposite direction, as we made our way back to the Saddle Sore Ranch.
Friday night at the ranch meant another unforgettable campfire party… We talked about each team’s journey to the ranch, the rides, and the build off. What the build off meant to each team, what their biggest challenge was, and what they learned this year, that will help them for BCBO 2021.
Saturday night’s campfire party ended up having live banjo music, beer pong, an adult version of a huge Jenga game, and racing some laps. Although plagued with generator issues Saturday night, it was just proof that we didn’t need any sort of big production. Everyone there was perfectly content to just be there. From wherever they came… And that there was no place they would rather be than at the Saddle Sore Ranch.
Barrie, our big, fluffy, adorable, shit-kickin’ security guy/party host whipped up a big cast iron pot of chili, and it was damn delicious. He was later seen dancing by the fire, wearing a cowboy hat and a smile. However, he probably doesn’t remember that. LOL.
Artist and model, Chey Alexandria was onsite, and took the opportunity to paint one of our VW buses all up in true hippie fashion. She did a fantastic job, and is currently working on the second one. Peace, love, flowers, dancing bears, and more…. We love them. She later posed on some of the bikes, at the builder’s requests too.
Troy Bensinger, travelling moto journalist and photographer for several publications was also onsite. Look for great things to come from him.
Any form of a “schedule” was thrown out the window when the big event was postponed, so we just kind of rolled with it. And it could not have turned out any better. Judging was done, and Ace Cycle, from Reno, NV took home the Cleetus award; Falling Rocks, from Minnesota, took home SSR Favorite; Scodes MC, from So Cal, took home 2nd Place Metric; Hack Motorworks, from Lake Havasu City, took home 1st Place Metric; Illinois Tall Boys, from Illinois, took home 3rd Place Harley; Boogaloo Crew, from Oregon, took home 2nd Place Harley; and Dysfunctional Veterans, from Missouri, took home Builder’s Choice, 1st Place Harley and Best Of Show.
This year’s Blue Collar Build Off was sponsored by Quick Throttle Magazine, Samson Exhaust, Red Rock Harley-Davidson, Legal Ride, Motorcycle Tire Center, Hogs & Heifers Saloon, Biker Atlas, Midnight Oil Fabrications, and the Saddle Sore Ranch.
This year’s LOST & FOUND: 2 sets of keys, one cell phone, 3 blow up dolls found in compromising positions, a tie dyed pipe, pocket knife, a cantelope wearing lipstick, and a photo of some people doing some things, in some positions that will confuse me for the rest of my life. Thank you all for the great times. Hope to see you again at the West Coast Rendezvous which has been postponed until October 16-18. More info at www.WestCoastRendezvous.com
For more information on the build off, or to sign up your team for next year, visit www.BlueCollarBuildOff.com