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The People’s Choice Bike Show

By Nancy Paganelli

Wild, wacky and whimsical

Builders express their passion in rolling art

Phoenix, Ariz., Apr. 17—People who invest time and money into their bikes with the hopes of showing them and even winning a trophy intrigue me. Any woman who had a man treat them the way most bike enthusiasts treat their bikes before a show would be a very lucky lady. I love interviewing amateur bike builders, because they are so willing to tell you everything about their bike and how they carefully built it “from the ground up.” This year’s People’s Choice Bike Show at Arizona Bike Week, sponsored by Law Tigers and put together by Susie Golden, had some real beauties. The actual art in a motorcycle often tells a real story, but you need to ask if you want to hear it. I like to do a little jabbing for fun, but in actuality, these bikes are each an individual piece of art work.

Frank Trevino didn’t win but he had one of the most interesting stories. He called his bike a Las Vegas bike because most of the money that went into the bike came from gambling in Vegas. “I’ve been working on this bike since January of 2003 and most of these parts are custom made—the gambling, royal flush and dollar signs.” There were spades all over everything and Vegas signs, too. “Most of the money I spent on it was winnings from poker tournaments; so I like to gamble, I like to play cards. I haven’t played in a couple years, but like I said, most of the money was from winnings. Everything has a poker theme.” Frank used to live outside of Vegas, making it quite easy for him to continue working on his bike—by gambling. Once he won $14,000 and put it into his bike. “I did a whole lot of poker tournaments in Vegas and Laughlin—sometimes I lost, too.” The best paint on this bike was a huge laughing joker—but who was he laughing at?

Dav Fisher took the skull theme to the max on his ’04 Dyna Wide Glide. I spoke to him before the winners were announced. “I started building it in 2005, then four or five years later, that’s what I ended up with. I got 11 trophies; hopefully today will be number 12. People like the paint and the skull headlight—they are attention getters. I did everything but the paint. It’s a lot of aggravation, but you know, you win a trophy and it kind of makes it worthwhile. I told my wife I’ll be done with it—well, not showing, but I won’t really care about winning another trophy—you know what I mean? I’m in the shop a couple hours every day after work and she kind of gets burned out about me being in the garage. I don’t care about the trophies any more, I just like to get the reaction of people.”

He won, too. He also took first place last year. We’ll see next year if 12 trophies are enough!

Brian Sisneros from Queen Creek likes beer—Miller Lite to be exact, and so his bike is centered around the color of the Miller Lite beer can—blue. His bike is an ’03 Deuce which he took down to the frame before coming up with an idea. “I like Miller Lite so I said let’s do a blue bike!” Makes sense to me. “So we brought it all back up, added the accessories, put the engine back together and this is what we have—we have a beautiful Miller Lite blue bike!” This bike won the Harley Softail division. It was later that his brother-in-law John Turner told me that he paid for the bike and Brian’s sister-in-law Linda Turner rides it.

Diane and Ed Hurst have had their 1956 Panhead since 1985. Ed told me that he bought it from the Truck Trader for $2,500 and that he has rebuilt it numerous times from the ground up. “This is the best one—all powder-coated and painted yellow by Jim Holmes, a local painter.” However, Diane told me that she takes care of their baby. “I polish her. It took me five hours last night to polish this poor girl, and I ride this baby! When I ride her into shows, I bring home a trophy. When Ed rides her—eh—sometimes he wins. I rode her today!” And they did win best Vintage/Antique!

Mark Dunn of DunnRite Bikes in Phoenix has a one-of-a-kind build. His bike is made entirely of Snap-on tools. There are over 300 of them in the bike. Mark built his bike for the love of the tool and the love of the motorcycle and he started it in 2000. It took him five years to build the bike and it’s all fabricated except parts that could not be, like the motor and motor parts. Mark has won many a show with his very unique bike. He won for Custom Cruiser and Best of Show.

Alan “Chance” Poulos took first place for Metric Custom and he was ecstatic. He couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t wait to tell me all about it either. “I stretched out the tank, widened it four inches, lengthened it by six inches, chopped the frame, and lowered it all down. It has a full air bag system underneath it. The fenders are hand-fabricated, and I did the paint job all the way around and all the wires were hidden and run inside. I used to paint cars and trucks and I do upholstery so I did my own seats—gave it my own touch after I got everything put back together.”

Other winners in the show are as follows: Custom Chopper: Jeff Chirino; Custom Bobber: Daw Riley; Sportster: George Connely; Harley Touring: Lee Rogers; Harley Classic: Robert White; Metric Sport: Robert Grazioso; Metric Cruiser: John Manser; Metric Touring: Bill Morgan; Indian Modern: Lance Whittaker; Trike/Sidecar: Kevin Bakken; Rat Open: Harry Lorts.

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