Road to Galveston: Lone Star Rally 2019

By Stacy McCleary

Photos by Danell McCleary

On Wednesday afternoon October 16, Danell and I were contacted by our son, Brian, telling us that I was an invited builder for the bike show at the Lone Star Rally in Galveston, Texas, October 31-November 3.  He had seen it on the internet.  I had been asked a month or so earlier if I was interested in going and I said yes, “Just let me know a week or two ahead of time.”  Well, I’m glad my son looks on the internet, because Danell and I knew nothing about it.  

So on Friday when we got home from a trip we had taken, Danell started looking for a place for us to say while at the rally.  We decided to tent camp at an RV campground.  We do this in Sturgis and we really enjoy it.  I called Chris and Heather at Cycle Source and told them we were coming.  They told me everything that was going on at the rally and that they had rented a huge house right on the water for all of us builders to stay in while we were there, so the camping idea was out.

Early on Monday, October 28, we headed out from our home in central California for our 1,950 mile drive to Galveston, Texas.  Our mode of travel when we go to motorcycle events is my pickup truck with a camper shell and a 6’X10’ enclosed trailer for the bikes. That first day we traveled for sixteen hours. We pulled into a rest area to use the facilities and brush our teeth.  We then got into the camper and had a good night’s sleep.

We woke up early the next morning and hit the road again.  On this second day of travel we drove for fourteen hours.  Now deep into Texas, we again spent the night at a rest area. When we got up Wednesday morning we were excited to hit the road again.  It only took five hours from there to reach Galveston.  Over the whole road trip it took 35 hours of driving.  Some people might think we’re crazy, but we enjoy road trips and spending time together in the cab of my truck. Along the way we saw things we hadn’t seen before and ate at a really good Mexican restaurant somewhere in New Mexico.

We got settled into the house that was provided for us. The house sat on sixteen-foot-high wooden pillars to keep it dry during high waters and flooding. We met the other builders and several other guys in the bike industry who were all staying in the house. There were thirteen builders who showed up from as far west as California, Florida to the east and as far north as Michigan.  The builders were Rick Bray, Austin Adrealla, Mike Rabideau, Bill Dodge, Brandon Keene, Brian Buttera, Steve Peffer, Xavier Muriel, Nick Pensabene, Roadside Marty, Rich Pioniak, Kyle Brewer and myself.

On Wednesday night the wind blew really hard and it was very cold.  This big house we were staying in was moving a lot. Lying in bed that first night felt like we were on a cruise ship out on the open sea.

Thursday morning, October 31st, was the start of the rally.  The wind was still blowing hard and it was still cold. Us thirteen builders were going to have our bikes on display for four days down in the middle of the rally. It was planned for us to go on a shakedown ride at 4 pm and after the ride have a meet and greet party at 8 pm. Well, because the weather was bad, they canceled the ride and rescheduled it for 9 am on Friday morning. This worked out really well as the weather was a lot nicer. We all met downtown where our bikes were on display to begin the ride.  This shakedown ride was eighty miles. All of us builders were complaining amongst ourselves that eighty miles was too far for just a ride to prove our custom builds were roadworthy.  

Well as it turns out, the shakedown ride was the highlight of the rally for us. We had a great time riding together, and ended up splitting into two groups so we could stay together easier.  The group I rode with had six bikes.  It took us four hours to complete the ride as we had checkpoints to do and every twenty miles or so, we did a gas stop. Some of the bikes had real small gas tanks, mine included.

After the ride, we put the bikes back on display,  and hung around talking to people, just enjoying the rally. On Saturday there was a ride-in bike show at the rally.  Some of us builders brought a second bike and put it in this show as well.  We all did well. Again all day Saturday we hung out near our bikes.

On Sunday we were to go to our bikes and ride them down the main drag to the stage that was set up a few blocks away.  Xavier Muriel, one of the builders, has a new band called Black Smoke Sinners and they performed on Sunday. It was their first performance and it was outstanding!  

Now was the time for the awards. Mike Rabideau from Las Vegas, Nevada was the first place winner and he took home $10,000. He built a beautiful knucklehead bobber. Rick Bray from Hanford, California got second place and he took home a custom springer front-end. He built a killer shovelhead chopper.  Brian Buttera from Lakeland, Florida got third place with an outstanding panhead chopper. He took home a custom rigid frame.

The name of this bike show was “In Motion”; all the custom bikes had to run and be roadworthy. In the other custom bike shows here, not all the bikes on display could run and be ridden.  It’s becoming more and more common in the show world to require that the custom bikes entered be able to run and perform. This is a good thing.

Enough said about the bike show. For me, spending five days and four nights with these other builders was great! I think there were at least fourteen men and four women who shared the house that was provided. Us four men that brought our wives each got a bedroom to ourselves.  The other ten or more men there on their own slept in beds that were provided throughout the house. Danell and I made lasting relationships with some of these people and plan to keep in touch with them.

Ride Safe & God Bless

Stacy’s Garage

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