Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bike rally or not to bike rally? Life or death?

I was talking to Chessie http://chessiestales.blogspot.com/
the other day online about an up and coming bike rally and she was telling me why she had mostly given up going to rallies. Some of her reasons were the hard drinking and truth be known they are just never as fun as they are made out to be. I have to say I agree with her and it made me have second thoughts about going to the Smoke Out Rally
coming soon.

Well this was the plan until I got home from work today and my wife told me about the death of TapOut
leader Charles "Mask" Lewis (mixed martial arts promoter)
I know you are asking yourself what does this have to do with a motorcycle rally.

This made me start thinking of rallies I’ve attended in the past; I went to a large rally in New Orleans many years ago, I went to the rally to try and buy a frame for my chopper and ended up meeting two guys that were sharing a booth selling their products, one guy was named Billy Lang

and the other was called Indian Larry.

I had a chance to have a brief chat and got photos with both of them (great couple of guys) but right after the rally Indian Larry was killed in a motorcycle accident, it was a big lost in the motorcycle world.

Here’s how the two events come together, truth is I don’t travel in the same company as a lot of the hardcore bikers, TV stars, mixed martial artist, most of them I just don’t run into on a day to day basics in the big city of Petal, Mississippi. Ha-ha. So rally and events are the only chance I get to meet them…and I have found some are great people and some are quite frankly ass-holes…take the American Chopper bunch for instance,
I meet them at the same rally and I pretty much found unless you were a girl stroking their huge ego’s or a guy buying their products, they would not even speak to you. I did not get along with them at all, BUT I’M STILL GLAD I GOT A CHANCE TO MEET THEM.
I wish I could say the same for Charles "Mask" Lewis; it’s not like I was a big follower of his career but I have to admit I would have loved to have talked to him and picked his brain a little bit. You have to admire anyone that can turn a t-shirt business into a muilt-million dollar business.
So I guess all this said; life is short...get out there people!!! You may not get a second chance to meet someone that may change your life forever…long live the Mask and Indian Larry in our minds and may they R.I.P.. Till next time…
Big Al


chessie said...

Al, excellent thoughts.
For me, as a photojournalist in the motorcycle industry, my opportunities to met, interview, discuss topics or simply ride with the people you mention are a bit different than yours.

Billy Lane and I have drunk beer over a new engine he had just built. He sent it to Accurate Engineering to have us do some upgrades on it, and to improve upon a cooling idea he had for it. (I was the parts manager for Accurate at the time.) I’ve met and ridden with Indian Larry months before his death, I’ve met Dave Perowitz at his induction breakfast for the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in South Dakota. Back in 78…or was it 79? I rode with Willy G. from Melbourne Florida to Orlando FL.

Over the years of my involvement in motorcycling, I’ve had the opportunities to meet the leaders and the shakers of our industry. I still will be able to meet these people, only without the fanfare of the rallies.

I totally agree with you regarding the rallies, it is an excellent time to meet these people who are defining the motorcycles we love and ride! Not only them, but there are about 500,000 people all around you who each have a story to tell…and you never know which of those people will end up being a buddy for life!

I have attended rallies since the early ‘70’s Al, and I’m just burned out. For me now, it’s all about the ride. May I suggest one ride that I am going to attend this year? It’s called “The Trail of Tears” Please take the time to goggle it, you wouldn’t believe the amount of people who attend the event every year!

Al, you’re a great person, and I’m proud to know you…I’m glad you’ve thought about what you will miss by not attending the Smoke Out…by the way…that is ONE HELL OF A GREAT PLACE to meet regular people building fantastic machines! I highly recommend the Smoke Out as a great place to network with other HD lovers!

Lady Ridesalot said...

My hubby and I like to attend rallies, because it gives us a chance to spend some time with our riding friends that don't live right around us. We have a group of regulars that meet at the same ones throughout the year, and we all really look forward to it. Chessie is right about them getting to be redundant, but it's like you pointed out. We may get lucky and meet someone really cool, that we wouldn't have otherwise, if it weren't for the rally.

I enjoy riding more than partying, but keeping a nice balance between the two is not a bad deal. Our group usually leaves the rally grounds and go ride together and that's nice!

Go for it Al! You may hang up your rally boots some day, but if you still feel the itch, go on and scratch it!

Ride on!

GYMONR said...

Thanks for the feed back ladies, comments are always welcome here. I’m checking in on the “the trail of tears” ride…looks like it might be doable. You ladies responses have me thinking about a new post about people we know and meet. Thanks for the ideas.
Big Al

States I’ve traveled to over the years

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