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Angel City Spring Rally 2012

By Walt Lumpkin

UNADILLA, GA., APRIL 18-22—While a lot of promotions have been pulling in the reins on expenditures, owner/promoter Wayne Smith continues improving and adding to the facilities at Angel City. And the patrons of this event appreciate his effort to have something new each time they return for the twice-a-year bike rally festivities. He knows this for a fact because he is a hands-on and visible manager, so much so that the bikers attending actually stop him to express their appreciation.

Southern riders only smile on special request

Southern riders only smile on special request

The Angel City acreage is expansive enough to have more than one unrelated event happening simultaneously. The newest addition this spring was a regulation-size lawn mower dirt track based on the specs tendered by the Southern Outlaws Mower Racing Association (yep, you read that right), and the spring rally was the perfect time and place to introduce this growing sport to the motorcycle community. The straightaways are 180 feet long, while the corners contain a 50-foot radius. Those stats may not impress you super speedway fans but believe me, the track is plenty big enough for these fast machines. You won’t catch granny mowing the backyard on one of these wild machines.

But let’s not forget the entertainment mainstays of Angel City that were busy kicking butt throughout the weekend. Geneva and her band headlined on Friday and were preceded by the wet T-shirt contest emceed by “Big Country” of the band Hired Guns. The only problem (if you could actually call it one) is that a standard wet T-shirt contest usually begins with the contestants starting out wearing, well, a T-shirt. About half of the 13 contestants predetermined that shirts weren’t necessary and would just be an impediment to the process. I think Big Country just plain forgot about the wet part at that point since no one got doused.

Shawn Ives not only emceed the not-to-be-missed Cody and Kyle Ives Brothers MX show, but he also shared stage duties with Big Country. And

The ladies of Strip Club Choppers fighting for pole position

The ladies of Strip Club Choppers fighting for pole position

he was the facilitator of the usual litany of biker games and raffle drawings.

Adding to the rally’s entertainment schedule were headliners Eli, as well as PsykNine, Blistur and Georgia’s “Best Female Vocalist” Faith Jackson. Center stage was also the location of the military tributes and the assembled group singing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” that included a Vietnam-era UH-1 helicopter, fully equipped with weaponry (disabled) and headgear. You could have your picture taken as a pilot or door gunner for $10 and additional prints for $5 with all proceeds going to the Vietnam Vets Museum.

A bit of small-screen intrigue was included this year, as Angel City was chosen as the location to shoot the pilot episode of World’s Best Biker Bars, Rallies and Road Trips. Camera crews were on hand all weekend to capture the ambiance and action from the gate to the most remote of campsites. Stay tuned to see if a network picks up the pilot.

And in turn three, Team Toro steals the lead from Briggs & Stratton

And in turn three, Team Toro steals the lead from Briggs & Stratton

Beautiful weather graced the area until happy hour on Saturday. A front moved in from the south and sat on the compound for hours without moving an inch. The downpour was good for the local farmers as it was a steady rain, but it certainly put a damper (no pun intended) on the camper parties that are so much a part of this event. After the bands completed their last set of the evening the party shifted to the back forty between the motor homes, converted school buses and various other mobile camper setups.

The stage pavilion served as party central for those that were in Angel City during the downpour. All of the covered areas, including the porches and picnic pavilion, kept the crowds dry and provided a perch to enjoy the bands and stage presentations. This was good for the beer girls, restaurants and bars on the corners. Those trapped in the camper areas and motor home park had to entertain themselves—probably not a difficult problem to overcome.

Those temporary camper neighborhoods become entertainment enclaves complete with their own bars, sound systems and stripper poles. (Thank goodness for a decent electrical power grid that provides constant power for these music and light shows). Those without hookups rely on portable generators to kick up the heat. Daytime activities are more sedate, with cornhole and horseshoes being a preferred pastime. That… and beer drinking.

The tent camping area was expanded several years ago, and with the large turnout this year, it was a much-needed consideration to keep

Bike show winners celebrating (and keeping dry) in the pavilion area

Bike show winners celebrating (and keeping dry) in the pavilion area

campers from stumbling over adjacent tent stakes. Mornings are special among the campers, with the aromatic smells of breakfast bacon and eggs wafting throughout the campgrounds and the popping of tops to wash them down. A friendly, errant stranger can almost always wrangle an invite to enjoy a cup of joe and breakfast. The cook’s friends are usually still asleep and he or she will bribe you with food just to have someone to talk to.

Three years ago, a now-frequent patron called Mr. Charlie contacted promoter Wayne two weeks out from the beginning of the rally. He asked if his party could come early to check out the property. He soon showed up with his camping gear and stayed. Despite his health problems he has been back to each rally since. Friday night he was brought up on the stage to get a better view of the wet T-shirt contest from his wheelchair and was treated to his very own up-close-and-personal lap dance. Angel City hospitality is Southern to the core, and riders from as far away as Maryland and Pennsylvania came down to enjoy it this spring.

Steve Murrin, the biker lawyer, was attending Angel City for the first time and seemed to enjoy riding the cruise-ring around the City on his Panhead. He is one lawyer that truly loves his bikes. His collection of rides is enviable and a two- or three-day round trip from his home in Atlanta to his cabin in upstate New York is not unusual.

Promoter Wayne Smith with Mr. Charlie, an Angel City icon

Promoter Wayne Smith with Mr. Charlie, an Angel City icon

Along with all the other madness, the Georgia franchise of Strip Club Choppers made their presence known with attractive young ladies polishing their trademark stripper pole all weekend.

Proprietor Smith took to the stage Saturday night and, in an emotional testimony, thanked the crowd for all their support. His wife Dawn joined him on stage to lend her strength as he shared his vision and reminded the riders of his dedication to making Angel City the best possible place for them to attend a rally in a safe and caring environment. He also gave a big thank you to his brother Ralph who is an integral part of Angel City.

As I was leaving, the restaurant within Angel City was still busy serving up plenty of those good ol’ Georgia barbecue, Brunswick stew plates and a sliced pork sandwich with chips that only runs you five bucks. Cooked-to-order hamburgers were about the same and beer could be had for only two bucks a twist-off. The biker-friendly effort of this outstanding management to make good food and drinks affordable for those who didn’t bring their own is commendable.

For updated information on the fall rally and to see photo galleries of past rallies, check out www.angelcityrally.com. It’s a City completely off the grid.

 

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