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LA Calendar Show (17th annual)

By Steve Bohn

Hot summer in the LBC

Abundant eye candy, both two-wheeled and two-legged

Long Beach, Calif., July 12–13—Over the years I have found myself attending bike events from one end of the country to the other. This includes rallies like Sturgis, Daytona and Laconia, and regional and local events. While the marquee national rallies seem to garner much of the press’s attention, it’s the local and regional events that are the backbone of the show scene. Without these hometown bike shows, many a motorcycle enthusiast would not have the opportunity to experience a well-run event. Attending local shows affords riders the opportunity to witness new production models, new parts, the latest trends, the show bike and custom scene, moto-celebrities, as well as anything else new, hot, and cutting edge in the motorcycle industry.

One such event I attended recently was the 2008 Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show, held at the Queen Mary Event Park, in Long Beach, California, the weekend of July 12–13. This year marked the 17th edition of what has become known in these parts simply as “The Calendar Show” (for years it was known as the Mikuni Show). Over the years the show has been held at various locations, but the event seems to have found a home in the picturesque city of Long Beach. The Queen Mary Events Park has all the makings of what it takes for a great venue: a beautiful waterfront location, plenty of grass to set up on, easy freeway access, great weather, and perhaps the most important factor of all, close proximity to so many of the custom parts manufacturers and builders located in Southern California.

For years the show has been known for having some of the best custom bikes being shown on the West Coast, a let-it-all-hang-out dyno shoot-out, and lots and lots of beautiful women. If any of these were your reason for attending the show you were not disappointed.

Local legendary wheel and brake manufacturer Performance Machine was once again the sponsor of the Performance Machine Calendar Show Bike Building Championship. The competition boasted 10 different classes for both American V-twin and metric entries competing for their share of $86,000 in cash and prizes. The bike show had classes that included Street Custom, Performance, Bobber, Chopper, Classic, and Sportbike, both pro and amateur. In addition to these classes there was the Best of Show trophy, which went to Jim Giuffra of AFT Customs from Martell, California. Jim and a couple the girls from his modeling agency (yes, these beautiful young ladies actually wrenched on the bike) built a two-wheeled creation that included a 1700cc engine from a 2004 Yamaha Road Star, a specially designed Redneck Engineering frame, RMD Billet wheels and an RMD girder front end.

One of the joys of Long Beach is its close proximity to the ocean. All this water surrounding the city acts like a giant air conditioner. This particular weekend it seems that someone let out all of the freon from the system. It was blazing hot, even down by the water. Whether or not this had anything to do with the sluggish attendance on Saturday is anyone’s guess. If I were a betting man I’d place my chips on the overall economy, and the fact that tickets ran $25 a day, $35 for two days, plus $5 bike parking. In addition to the Calendar Show, the Hollister Rally was taking place the same weekend some 300 miles to the north. Not only did attendees need to decide where to spend their weekend, many vendors would have to do the same. Sunday proved to bring more folks through the gates, but the lower attendance seemed to be a sign of the times.

Walking the grounds of the park, attendees were treated to row after row of vendors showing off their latest wares. Names like Vance & Hines, Patrick Racing, Todd’s Cycle, Performance Machine, Counts Customs, Rivera, Cal Boss Hoss, Laser Star, Day Tec, Edelbrock, Top Shelf Customs, Brembo and Custom Cycle Control dotted the bike-filled aisles, giving attendees plenty to ponder when it came to buying the latest components, or bikes. One of the great things we have become accustomed to at the Calendar Show is the builder seminars and 2008 would be no different. At various times over the weekend top custom builders donned a microphone and fielded questions from an inquisitive public.

The beautiful women department was clearly covered as witnessed by the weekend’s entertainment. Performers included the dance troupe Purrfect Angelz, girl bands Moby Chick, Kari Kimmel, Whole Lotta Rosies, Taxi Doll and more. If that weren’t enough there was plenty of eye candy in the form of the Calendar Kittens, Elizabeth Nicole, and lots of model hopefuls that competed in the Calendar Model Search on Sunday.

Local builder Todd Sillicato, owner of Huntington Beach’s custom shop, Todd’s Cycle, took home $5,000 worth of Performance Machine products for winning the best PM-equipped bike in the show. Not content with just that, he gassed his custom 100-inch “Pick Pocket Sportster,” made one of the last dyno runs of the weekend, and came away with a top spot in the category.

Wisconsin’s S&S Cycle was the sponsor of the S&S Cycle World Championship Horsepower Dyno Shoot Out. The two-day competition was split into 12 different classes and covered everything from American V-twin to metric, stock to modified, turbo to nitrous. Kerry Bryant of Area-P/No Limits performed emcee duties, and in his masterful style kept the crowd entertained and the show moving along until a mishap occurred: A turboed, nitrous-injected Hayabusa came apart, which sent pieces flying. Some of them took out the dyno somewhere in the 480 hp range. Thanks to quick work by Salt Flat racers Bob and Eric Bennett, they had the dyno repaired and back up in about an hour. The Bennetts own Bennett’s Performance, a Harley repair shop in nearby Signal Hill. Due to their prompt actions (running to their shop and removing parts from their own dyno to replace the damaged ones on Kerry’s dyno), the show went on. S&S staff on hand Jon Olsen, and Tom Hanson used this break in the competition for an informative Q&A with the spectators gathered to watch the action.

The biggest numbers posted all weekend belonged to another Salt Flat racer, John Noonan. John’s turbocharged Hayabusa reached 500 hp and was still climbing the rpm scale when the dyno stopped recording. To record numbers above 500 hp Kerry will have to bring along some additional software next year.

Look for the 2009 edition of the Calendar Show at the Queen Mary Events Park July 18–19.

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