By Art Hall
It was a busy weekend – one of those where there is nothing the week before and nothing the week after, but everything on the same day.
Such was the case on Dec 9th – the day of one of my favorite shows, the David Mann Tribute Chopperfest in Ventura. It was also the day of the Glendale HD Skid Row Toy Run which fortunately for me was on the way to Ventura as I needed to cover both. It did however call for an early morning rise, one of those very cold early mornings so I weenied out and took the cage. I was also considering the very cold ride back from Ventura when after a long day the heater sure feels good while reclining on the fully adjustable and supple leather seat. Speaking of busy, did I mention Saturday was The International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, and The Mooneyes Christmas show in Irwindale?
I managed to get to Ventura by about noon and the show was in full swing, having opened at 8 am, and the weather was nice enough to bring out record crowds, the most ever, probably because they ran an ad in Quick Throttle for the first time. This show has continued to maintain it’s integrity if you will, by staying true to the focus and theme of old ‘skool’ choppers. This was the 9th annual and I know I have been to most but not sure about having been to the first so I do know first hand that it has continued to be about ‘the the way it used to be’, with bikes and vendors from the era and real swap meet merchandise, old n’ used, rather than retail vendors setting up shop for some back door sales. Motorcycle Machine in Santa Maria, CA, had their mobile unit out and you could hear the sound of Harley’s screaming on the dyno from the other side of the show so I made sure I stopped by.
While it is a Chopperfest, the “If you build it they will come” all-brand motorcycle show also has 12 categories not limited to Twin Cam, Old School, Radical Design, custom bikes, Pans, Knuckles and antique bikes of all brands which brings out a great variation of scoots to interest most everybody. The inexpensive entry fee is only $40 and you get 1 admission including an event t-shirt. The trophy’s were amazing one-of-a-kind pieces of art by Sonny Boy. New for this year is a $2000 cash prize for Best Of Show bike presented by Perri Ink Cartel and Nash Motorcycle Co. Live bands played throughout the day and a special roller derby exhibition by the Sugartown Rollergirls took place in the main building.The promoters have managed to keep the entry fee reasonable in the face of rising costs, with general admission being $15, Military with ID $10, kids 12 & under $5.
Jacquie Mann, David’s wife, came out from Kansas City as a special guest to present a very special David Mann & Friends Art Exhibit with David Mann’s first and last painting on display. The art exhibit also featured Tom Fritz, David Uhl, Dan Collins and more. There was an an unseen picture David Mann did before he passed, it has been sitting on his easel since 2004.
Being a county fairgrounds has advantages of permanent facilities, paved tree lined walkways, real restrooms and a permanent food court. It is a great setting with the Pacific ocean on one side and the occasional passing of a Santa Fe Express on railroad tracks bounding the other side. This year I actually toured the backstreets of the central business district finding it to look quite interesting with some historic buildings perched on steep streets leading up to a nice panoramic view of the town and ocean. I think next year I will explore it further and plan for dinner in one of those quaint looking Main Street diners and make it an all day affair.