Spring is upon us and 2013 is already shaping up to be a banner year for getting out on two wheels and exploring Texas. So here is some related news, some past and some on the horizon. Back on February 16, Mancuso Harley-Davidson Crossroads location in West Houston held their 6th annual Chili Cook-Off and it appeared to be the biggest to date. This year’s theme was Mardi Gras and more than two-dozen booths were festooned with beads, masks and feathers with mild temperatures and lots of sunshine bringing out a huge crowd of hungry participants… The following weekend, February 23, the Bandidos MC Dallas Chapter held a Clothing Drive for the Buckner Children’s Home. Things kicked off at Rocky’s Bar & Grill in Richardson at 3:00 p.m. and included food, music and a raffle… The next day, DVO Ministries held a Biker Sunday at their DVO/Angels House, also in Dallas. All clubs and independents were welcome with Duche Bradley from I AM Second as guest speaker and music by the DVO Ministries Band with homemade Mexican food following the service… Right around the corner (almost), the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association (TMRA II) held their annual Fish Fry Fundraiser at the VFW Post 4477 in Dallas. Eight bucks bought you an all-you-can-eat lunch of fish and chips and included biker games, live music, door prizes, vendors and biker games. Monies raised are used to promote awareness of motorcyclists’ rights throughout the state. TMRA II is the main organization that was instrumental in modifying the Texas helmet law in 1997, exempting those over the age of 21 if they had successfully completed a rider education course or had a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance coverage… Also on the 24th, a Memorial Service was held for Robert Rangel at the First Baptist Church in Freeport. Robert had worked as a salesman for GOE Harley-Davidson in Angleton. A ride from the shop to the church left at noon. On March 3, a Benefit BBQ was held at GOE H-D to raise donations for Robert’s family. Along with some good grub, the day included a live auction and a 50/50 drawing… On March 2, Rick Fairless launched his First Saturdays Swap Meet at his Strokers Dallas shop. Held the first Saturday of each month throughout the summer and into the fall, there is no admission fee to shop and only a $30 charge for a 10’x10′ space to show your stuff. The vendor space is limited to the public only (commercial vendors should call for pricing, 214.357.0707). So clean out that garage and make a few bucks in the process at one of the most biker-friendly establishments in the Lone Star State… And while we’re talking about Rick, we at THUNDER PRESS want to congratulate him on being nominated for induction into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame. This honor is designed as a way to “recognize individuals or groups who have made a long-term positive impact on the motorcycle community.” After 20 years in the paint industry, Fairless shifted into the world of custom motorcycles with an Easyriders franchise in 1996. He followed that with his Strokers Ice House in ’98 and Strokers Ink (a tattoo shop) in 2007. Rick is a noted business owner, master bike builder, motivational speaker and family man. Such recognition from the Sturgis Hall of Fame couldn’t happen to a nicer Texan… Renegade Classics of The Woodlands held their first Charity Chili Cook-Off on March 3 at their location in Spring with more than $700 in prizes and trophies being awarded to the winning chefs. An all-you-can-eat wristband only ran you $10 with proceeds being given to benefit the organization Bikers Helping Bikers… And then on Texas Independence Day, March 2, I made my way over to 5th annual Texas HoeDown in New Caney. It was a pre–’72 show offering customs, hot rods, rat rods, muscle cars, and traditional choppers and bobbers. And although there weren’t that many bikes on hand, there was a great collection of the beautiful and bizarre, along with an art show, tattoo artists, live music, a female roller derby exhibition and a Lil’ Greaser Contest… While at the HoeDown, we ran into Red Roberts who was promoting his upcoming Texas Hot Rod Reunion, April 27–28. It will be held at the Little River Dragway outside of Temple and feature all pre–’72 racing including both cars and vintage motorcycles. Red will also be introducing his newly-formed AA Twin Engine Nitro Harley Class. He even has a twin-engine Shovelhead just about ready to come off the rack. Go to www.texashotrodreunion.com for details… And finally, we got a call the other day from Juan Gandera with Lubbock Custom Motorcycles wanting us to let everyone know about the shop’s new location, 2833 Clovis Road, Lubbock, Texas. To celebrate this accomplishment, Juan will be holding a Grand Opening on April 6, 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. featuring music, food and drinks. Go the shop’s website at www.lubbockcustom.com for details and be sure to stop in and congratulate him on the move. That’s it for this month. Ride safe.