Talked with Carol Ford the other day. She is the owner of the Hawgs of Texas Rally (HOT). The next HOT Rally will be held at the Colorado County Fairgrounds in Columbus on April 24-28. Although this venue was used for an Easyriders Rodeo several years ago, this is the first time HOT has been held at this location. And Carol is excited about the potential of this five-day event. It will feature 28 bands (including Geneva), a bike show, bike games, tattoos, a wet T-shirt contest and plenty of vendors. Shaded tent camping is included in the quite reasonable $45 admission fee (no day passes) with RV sites available for an additional charge. So log onto www.hawgsoftexas.com for more info or call Carol at 281.859.5949 if you’re an interested vendor. This is a 21 and older event only… In preparation for the rally, HOT is holding the H.O.T. Hearts Chili Cook Off at Doggett’s Bar on FM 1960 in North Houston on February 23… And then on March 16, they are teaming up with local personality Outlaw Dave for his Outlaw’s Pot of Gold St. Patty’s Day Bash on Washington Avenue in downtown Houston. It should be a big party with more than $4,000 worth of prizes being given away… January 13 marked the 10th annual Chopper Show and Swap Meet held by Texas Scooter Times at the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas. It featured a judged competition for Manufacturer-Built Choppers (Big Dog, American IronHorse, etc.), Shop-Built and Home-Built Choppers, plus a People’s Choice award and a Judges’ Choice Award. Eight bucks got you a day filled with music by Pete Barbeck & 7th Son, a chance to dig through some greasy parts along with ogling all those purty bikes. You can log onto www.texasscooter.com for a full list of all their swap meets and the drag races they have scheduled for 2013… Biker Legislative Day was held at the State Capitol in Austin on January 28, with more than 2,000 riders taking to the streets and making their various causes known to their elected officials. All involved confirm that this was one of the best sessions to date. It seems our politicians are actually starting to listen to their constituents… I haven’t heard about any exotic ingredients used at the recent Employee Chili Cook-Off held at Fort Hood Harley-Davidson on February 2—GroundHOG Day—so I assume that Texas beef was the traditional staple of the day… Right up the road at Fort Hood’s sister shop, Horny Toad H-D in Temple celebrated Punxsutawney Phil Day with free sausages and beer… Received an email the other day from Mellowson Hayes, HR manager with Republic Harley-Davidson in Stafford, announcing some new employees coming onboard the Republic team. New faces behind the parts counter include Derek Cates and Matthew Jonas, while Bud Love will start pulling duty in Internet Sales with Chris Warr handling Motorcycle Floor Sales. The dealership is still hiring with positions in Service Tech, Service Valet, Bike Sales and MotorClothes Sales still waiting to be filled. Go to www.republichd.com for details and contact info. The shop will also feature its Spring Fashion Show on March 23… Met a couple of locals the other day that I wanted to recognize. Nathan Ludeke operates Katy Custom Finishes out on Katy Hockley Cut-Off Road (713.213.0155) and specializes in custom paint. And although he shies away from intricate pinstriping and airbrush work, he can lay down some solid colors and flames at a reasonable price. He handles insurance claims also… And right around the corner (like a hundred yards around the corner) is Trendsetters Upholstery & Trim on Stockdick School Road (funny name but a serious business). Owned by Chuck Rice, Trendsetters has been around for more than 18 years, providing quality work by word-of-mouth references, mostly to the hot-rod crowd. But he does bikes too, even leather. Give him a shout at 281.371.2033. Two great businesses located in the sticks run by some standup country boys… Coming up March 15-17, the Longriders MC out of Tyler will once again be holding their annual Spring Thaw and National Porta Potty Drags. Held in New Summerfield, it’s the club’s 14th annual and will feature live music all weekend and a $1,000 Fun Run on Saturday along with a bike blessing, bike show and field events. The $30 pre-registration includes a run pin and T-shirt. Otherwise, it’s gonna cost ya a twenty at the gate to enter, minus the pin and T-shirt. Go over to www.longridersmotorcyclecluboftyler.org for all the details. And I’ve been assured that this is not a BYOP (Bring Yer Own Potty) event—Porta Johns will be supplied by the Longriders MC… Everyone is gearing up for the riding season, with tons of events planned going into the new year. So shoot me an e-mail when you can so I can stay up to speed concerning your neck of Texas. Until then, ride safe.