ANAMOSA, IOWA, June 23-24—How many businesses will put on an open house with over 100 industry-leading vendors, two different motorcycle stunt shows, a motorcycle rodeo, bike show, huge discounts on almost every one of the 80,000-plus parts they sell, give away $5,000 worth of products, feed everyone that comes through the gate, and not charge a single penny for any of it? Over the past 33 years, the J&P Cycles Open House has done just that, welcoming many thousands of two-wheel fanatics on their annual pilgrimage. This year, however, J&P Cycles added the term “Rally” to their event.
People from all over the world attend this event each year, and it’s one that you can take the kids to. Vance & Hines, Mustang Seats, Air Hawk, Progressive Suspension, Baker Drivetrain, Arlen Ness and many other top-tier vendors are on hand to let you know the real scoop about products for your bike or your lifestyle. For a family, that is a real treat; somewhere you can take the kids to that helps share and expand your interest in motorcycles with them.
The 1 Wheel Revolution stunt bike team rode Harley-Davidson Sportsters and Buell motorcycles and pulled stunts just like you see on the Japanese bikes. These guys have taken the V-Twin to new heights with front-wheel stoppies, wheelies, burnouts and even getting their girls in on the action by doing dangerous stunts on and off the bikes.
But when it comes to jumping, Red Bull-sponsored rider Geoff Aaron wowed the crowds with his high-flying stunts and amazing handling of a trials motorcycle. This guy was able to jump his bike up onto platforms and even over his barker without a ramp of any kind. It reminded me of my days riding BMX bikes when I was a kid.
The motorcycle rodeo has a long history with J&P Cycles. This is how the open house truly began. The rodeo is a combination of games including
a keg roll, slow ride and the famous wienie bite. Of these events, nobody in the 33 years has competed in more events or won more trophies than Jed Sweitzer of Anamosa, Iowa. Jed has never missed an open house and has competed to win a prize every single year. He looks forward to this event each year and says he’ll keep competing as long as he can hold up his bike.
The bike show is a ride-in competition, and there were entries from all over the Midwest. With over 30 winners in multiple categories, it was a great opportunity for the locals to see some outrageously beautiful works of art.
One thing that was really noticed by the riders was the huge extended showroom built outside just for this event. You could find just about anything you wanted on clearance and numerous special deals were available, as well. There were also vendors inside the temporary showroom helping customers with their choices to make sure they got just what they were looking for.
Nearly 30,000 attended this year’s event, and I asked Nick Gunderson of Belle Plaine, Iowa, why he came. He told me, “It’s really cool, man; this is something that I get to come to, I bring my kid and we get to see thousands of bikes. I get a chance to talk to some of these guys about parts that I want to put on my bike and see if they’ll fit with each other. I got everything I need now to put my new tranny on my bike. I didn’t see any celebs here this year, but that’s cool. I love the stunt shows. All my buddies have been to Sturgis and Daytona or go out East for rallies that I cannot get to, so I come here.” It was like having a rally in his own backyard!
I also chatted with riders from Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota and even one that traveled from California—Jack Schroeder of Sacramento. He said, “I’ve been buying parts from J&P for years. The catalog sits in my bathroom mostly so I can browse and drool, but this is my first time here and it seems just like the rallies that we get out on the West Coast. I could compare this to just about any of them, and it’s even bigger and better than most.” The sentiments expressed by Nick and Jack reflected those of many I spoke with.
The rally portrays itself to be the largest motorcycle rally—outside of Sturgis, of course—in the Midwest. And there’s a charitable aspect to the J&P Open House and Rally, as well. Tubs of bottled water were set up throughout the grounds and manned by Camp Courageous volunteers accepting donations. Camp Courageous, a nonprofit Iowa charity, is a year-round respite care and recreational facility for disabled people of all ages. Thanks to the generosity of the rallygoers, more than $13,000 was raised over the weekend. In addition, on Saturday and Sunday a silent auction raised $5,000 for the National Motorcycle Museum.
J&P Cycles General Manager Zach Parham said, “There’s such a feeling of pride seeing all the motorcycles come in. It is truly a celebration of life on two wheels. The 2012 event shows how much of a family the motorcycle community is.”
After a long, hot day, it was time to jump back on the bike, head home and keep dreaming about all those parts that I want to make my bike blingy (chrome) and singy (sound and run just right). If you get a chance, try to attend next year’s open house and rally scheduled for June 29 and 30. Keep an eye on www.jpcycles.com for more information in the coming months.