By Christine Z.
Photos by Christine Z. and Len Trout
Reno Street Vibrations was a blast as usual! It’s a Reno tradition, for almost twenty years, that brings bikers from all over the west to visit the “Biggest Little City in the World.” You have rides to beautiful Lake Tahoe as well as the old west, small town of Virginia City, with the best twisty roads on your way there. Then south of Reno are scenic rides to Genoa, home of Nevada’s oldest drinking establishment, and Carson City.
The rally has vendors, concerts, slow races. bike shows, the Miss Street Vibrations competition, a tattoo expo, and poker runs to “cathouses – in the only state where “houses of ill repute” are legal (don’t forget to watch out for the bunnies at play!), fireworks and a visit from Erik Estrada.
Saturday as the temps heated up, so did the action. Think “beads!” Yes, the ride up to Virginia City through the curvy mountain roads leads to a big party all day long! Chilly to start, but as the weather warmed up, the layers came off. This is where you can see anything and everything. This is THE one day, not Friday, not Sunday, but Saturday and only in Virginia City, Nevada. This is what separates Reno Street Vibrations from any other eventacross the country to include Sturgis and Daytona Bike Week. Only in Virginia City on this one day can you sit on your motorcycle, watching the bikes roll by, enjoy an adult beverage, (open container,) and smoke a cigar while handing out beads to ladies with NO pasties!
The bikes, and lots of them, are parked along the sides of the main street through Virginia City, as well as many riding through town. Some of the ladies riding through on their own bikes or as a passenger showed a little skin to entice the bead-wielding men. Fritz from Champagne Photography was parked at the entrance to Virginia City taking individual shots of the bikers riding up. There are some great shots in his Street Vibrations collection of the different bikers and their poses, at www.findyourphotohere.com
Celebrity guest Erik Estrada was at Street Vibrations again this year! Yes, Ponch from CHiPs makes the event as often as he can. He is super friendly about pictures at Reno Harley-Davidson, (which is now under new ownership) and at the Grand Ballroom in downtown Reno on Thursday during the event. When Erik attends Reno Street Vibrations he also participates in the Police on Parade motorcade through downtown Reno and under the famous Reno Arch at sundown. This year he rode his own Street Glide. He also presented the Reno Police Department award for Officer of the Year and he was the host for the Miss Street Vibrations competition. Btw – did you know Erik Estrada is a real police officer? Yes, he became a reserve officer in 2016 in Idaho.
Journey Revisited lit up the outdoor stage at the Eldorado on Friday night to kick off the weekend. Saturday night had both Skynnyn Lynnyrd and Hell’s Belles playing. Skynnyn Lynnyrd was at Harrah’s Plaza outdoor stage, and the Eldorado’s outdoor stage hosted Hell’s Belles. Skynnyn Lynnyrd is a regular band at the event and a Reno favorite. The band is from nearby Vacaville, CA and has performed at Reno Street Vibrations for 10+ years. I had the privilege to chat with band members before they played, including the band leader, Larry Woodruff, and they just love Reno and Street Vibrations. The Hell’s Belles, an all female AC/DC tribute band has a wild one, guitarist Adrian Conner. She has some bad ass guitar showmanship skills leaping into the air and scooting across the stage on her back while playing her guitar.
Saturday night, Mondo Porras, from Denver Choppers, a local Reno shop, judged and presented the award for best in show at the Silver Legacy Grand Ballroom during the Custom Bike Show. Mondo’s bike building roots go back to when he and Indian Larry were in a build-off together. Mondo has been a custom bike builder since 1967 and is well respected in the custom bike community.
Sunday downtown at the Silver Legacy outdoor stage, the We Rock band, made up of students from the We Rock non-profit youth music camp, played to an appreciative audience with some amazing music skills learned in a relatively short time over the camp’s summer session. Then their instructors also took the stage and rocked out too!
Street Vibrations 2018 was a great time with new twists, and no doubt 2019 will bring more great riding and features, so plan on being there!