Sturgis 75th Twists and Turn by Minibike?!
Chop-In Block, housed right here in the Workshop Hero NATION’s home state of Michigan, is our story teller from this year’s Sturgis. And as is the case with all trips to Sturgis, there are plenty of stories to be told. For those select few out there who aren’t familiar with the annual event, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is one of the world’s oldest and largest motorcycle gatherings. It offers riding, motorcycle shows, racing, and concerts to hundreds of thousands of attendees. It also offers outlandish parties, outrageous clothing, and equally matched behavior and that is where the stories come to life.
The Chop-In Block is a loosely-banded group of motorcycle builders, pinstripers, custom seat designers, parts and apparel vendors or as one of the group describes it “we are a motorcycle-oriented group of everything you could and should have done to your motorcycle.” The group sets up at bike events around the country to bring their custom motorcycle products and services to the riding public and this year’s Sturgis was no exception.
The Chop-In Block crew and their traveling road show (with their custom 53 foot stacker semi-trailer) claimed Glencoe Camp Resort as their home base. The campground, one of the top locations in the Sturgis area, housed more the 42,000 during the 2015 Sturgis Bike Rally.
Glencoe is not your everyday Yogi Bear campground. This place covers more than 300 acres of campsites includes food venues, and features an extensive musical line up each year.
With the help and assistance of Glencoe’s “master of ceremonies” and “mayor of fun,” (a gent named Bean’re), Chop-In Block secured a vending spot right at the campground’s entrance. It was from this location that the Chop-In Block folks set up shop and served as residents, participants, and sometimes deviants during their 10-day stay.
“There is only one thing I can tell you and that is there are quite a few things I can’t tell you from our time at Sturgis,” said Gary Maurer of Kustoms, Inc., and one of the leaders of Chop-In Block. “Glencoe Camp Resort was the perfect location for our group to exhibit and to participate in the 2015 Sturgis Rally.”
One unplanned part of the Chop-In Block’s role while at Glencoe was helping to keep the campground bands busy and occupied during their “down time.” “In other words, we helped to keep them from getting into trouble when they weren’t on stage,” Maurer added. “We spent time with musicians and crews from the Kentucky Headhunters, Saving Abel and Saliva. In fact, John from Saliva (pictured below – middle) restores vintage guitars and makes jewelry from reclaimed bullet casings, he took home some Metal Rescue and will be using it a lot.”
In addition to displaying the products and services provided by the members of Chop-In Block, the group was a co-sponsor of a special event – the Coleman Mini Bike Build Off. Working with other co-sponsors that included the Glencoe Camp Resort, ten of the country’s best custom bike builders were shipped a stock Coleman Powersports mini bike and were given 30 days to transform it into a full custom machine. Participant bike builders from Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina and other locations shipped and transported their competition mini bikes to their final resting place at Glencoe for display judging and biker-style rodeo action games.
“Thirty days is not a lot of time for a custom build project like this, some of our builders were literally finishing up and assembling onsite at Glencoe, “ Maurer added. Once the mini bikes were set, they were displayed and ridden in Glencoe’s ring leader Bean’res rodeo games. “Our competition selection process was pretty informal, winners were determined by those mini bikes that were the most “desired” or asked about by campground guests and the bands.”
The winner of the “prestigious” event was Steve’s Garage from Kentucky. A secondary part of the biker build off was the opportunity for Glencoe Camp Resort campers to ride the customized submissions.
Maurer explained, “Glencoe was great about it, they provided other Coleman mini bikes for their campers and staff to use and in fact they are working with the mini bike manufacturer to put together their own Glencoe Camp Resort model of a mini bike for next year.” Chop-In Block is also talking with Glencoe about adding go kart racing and drift trikes in 2016 – just to keep the spirit of Sturgis alive!
All in all, the build off event was a huge success for the Chop-In Block and the other co-sponsors and it made for a memorable twist on the motorcycle-themed activities that have made Sturgis famous.
“The Chop-In Block’s time at Sturgis was just the right blend of business and ‘pleasure’ for us,“ Maurer added. “We were able to really expose people to what our group has to offer in a place where you can expose just about anything and get away with it! All kidding aside, Sturgis is a hotbed of business opportunities made for what Chop-In Block has to offer and we wouldn’t miss it.”