Las Vegas Bike Fest

By Art Hall, Photos by Art Hall & Linda Dahl

Things just keep coming quicker and quicker – is the earth turning faster? Not so bad when it‘s something you enjoy like Las Vegas Bikefest held every year about the first of October.

I think that I have mentioned before that better doesn’t necessarily mean bigger and so it goes here. Many events have gotten big enough that a little smaller is not really noticeable and so it goes here. Everything that was here last year was here again this year, less a few vendors, but all the events were in place and all seemed to go well.

Arriving Thursday I was able to casually meander about the vendor village at Cashman Center and notice that it seemed full with maybe a little more elbow room, but still plenty of vendors to investigate.

All the vendors I talked with were on a positive note and seemingly satisfied as to how things were gong. The center opens at 5 pm on Thursday and everybody must be in place and set up which surprises me but makes for an easy evening of my getting oriented to the layout. Not surprisingly, the crowds are not too heavy opening night so I get a chance to chat with most of the vendors that are willing to chat back. A nice gesture on Thursday night is a welcome party for all registrants with a complimentary BBQ pork dinner, beer and band, this year sponsored by the Harley Davidson Cafe and Miller beer. Earlier in the day there are 2009 model demo rides at Las Vegas H-D.

Friday starts early for some with an 7:30 am poker run while I choose to make the opening of Cashman Center (CC) at 10 am. If you don’t have a bike there is a poker walk for those who just must gamble. It is a full day with many events taking place and stretches the clock making it necessary to miss one or two shows. Unfortunately this year (and last year) I didn’t make it to the Mr. Las Vegas competition ($1000 prize) as I had to rush from the more popular tiniest Bikini contest to the more popular wettest wet T-shirt contest at LVHD. I know what my readers want and do my best to provide. In between all this is the constant buzz inside and outside the vendor village at CC with lots of products and displays to evaluate. Also there are the twenty or so custom bikes on display for the Artistry In Iron Master Builders’ competition bike build off that is judged by the builders’ themselves. Off site the Silverton Casino gave away an Orange County Chopper to someone who had to be present to win. The day officially ended with a late night party at Rain Nightclub at the Palms hotel. Unofficially because Las Vegas is a 24 hour town the night didn’t end there for everybody. Also, Freemont Street has a great bike oriented presentation on their “ceiling” movie screen as well as several live bands playing throughout the night.

Saturday is a little more relaxed with only one very important, must attend show, that being the Miss Las Vegas (pasties) competition, and again you know I must keep my readers happy. Actually the day starts even earlier than Friday with a 7 am sign in for another poker run which has a possible payout of $100,000.

Downtown on Freemont Street there is a custom bike show ($5000 prize) that runs from 11 am – 4 pm. The Artistry In Iron bikes were still on display with the builders on hand to sign autographs and answer questions. For the gamblers, Binions downtown had a Texas Hold ‘em tournament with a $50 buy in, affordable for even me. Pat Clark Motorsports gave away a Triumph Bonneville while the Golden Nugget had a grand prize giveaway drawing to round out the free stuff. Danny, the “Count” of Count’s Kustoms had his annual thank you party starting at 2pm featuring Vince Neal. Unfortunately some rain ended the gig a little early but it was good until then. Speaking of rain it was only that little bit on Saturday night while the rest of the weekend had great cooler than usual weather for a very comfortable time while out and about.

Sunday is the wind down day with vendor village closing at 2pm instead of 8pm as most of the crowd is heading home and the vendors would like to pack up and head home as well. Some of them mentioned they were down 25% from last year, and for them that was their profit, but they attributed it primarily to the rough economy.

There was a charity bike ride for kids at the LV Motor Speedway and for the “party till’ it hurts” bunch Hog’s and Heffers went from 2pm – 6pm.

If you’re as worn out from reading this as I am from writing it you should try doing it, the Bikefest that is. Always one of my favorites that doesn’t fail to deliver and will be here all too soon again in 2009 – you should go.