THANK THANKS YOU, A LOT MOTHER FOR THE NATURE. MONSOONS AND HURRICANE WINDS TO KICK OFF THE 2018 HOT BIKE TOUR IN PHOENIX THIS PAST OCTOBER 2–6. YOU KNOW WHAT? BRING IT ON! IT’LL TAKE A LOT MORE THAN WIND AND RAIN TO KEEP THE HOT BIKE TOUR STAFF AND THE LONGRIDERS FROM ATTENDING THE MOTORCYCLE RALLY THAT ROLLS. SO THERE.
It is pretty funny though that in one of the top five driest states in the nation (average rainfall of 4 to 8 inches per year), we were alerted to flash flood warnings the morning of October 2. We rallied the troops and headed over to the kickoff venue, the Roadrunner Saloon, and proceeded business as usual, stuffing 11 muddy custom motorcycles from the 2018 Hot Bike Build-off inside the bar. A huge thank you to the invited builders Justin Coleman and Chris Staab, Bryan Schimke, Matt Frick, Lock Baker, Chris Moos, John Shope, Brandon Holstein, Al Raposo, Danny Wilson, Josh Rundlett, and Nick Trask. These gents only had a little over four weeks to build and bring a custom bike for this year’s Hot Bike Tour, and they all delivered some stellar machines.
The Hot Bike Build-off winner has always been determined by a cumulative score from the popular vote of everyone in attendance over the course of five days. Historically, the builder with the most votes at the end of the five days was crowned Grand Champion. We still kept the popular voting portion of the competition intact with a People’s Choice award, which went to John Shope, of Dirty Bird Concepts, who was awarded the coveted Super Bowl-size ring from Speakeasy Original—his fourth ring to date. We also offered a Best in Show Award, which was judged by local Arizona bike builders: Paul Yaffe, Miguel Samaniego, Tony Mei, and Jesse Rooke. The judges all agreed that FXR Division’s Gp-inspired Softail racer was their favorite, for which they were awarded a hand-tooled custom leather wrestling-style belt from Red Beard Leather. A big thanks to the judges for their efforts. Congrats to Dirty Bird Concepts and FXR Division for their wins.
After the Phoenix flood-fest, we hit the road toward Flagstaff, Arizona, with a stop at Buddy Stubbs Harley-davidson’s museum to see the impeccable collection of motorcycles the Stubbs family has collected over the years. After a stroll through the museum, we hit the road toward Flagstaff via Prescott Valley up Route 89, then back to Interstate 40.
After arriving at Grand Canyon Harley-davidson pretty soggy and cold, we warmed up from hospitality of the gracious staff and then called it a day. The next morning we hit the road toward Pinetop-lakeside to try our luck at the Hon-dah Resort and Casino. Another epic day of riding, we were treated to blue skies, and most importantly, no rain.
The next morning we were eager to head back toward Phoenix to the final location at the Roadhouse Bar and Grill in Cave Creek. Owner Mark Bradshaw and his right-hand man, Kevin “KP” Price, were incredibly hospitable and gracious hosts. After partying Friday night, we hit the road Saturday morning for some last-minute riding until the festivities began.
We were treated to Cole Freeman, from Ill Conduct, jumping his Harley XG750 70 feet over 21,000 bottles of Northern Chill water on pallets. There’s just something about watching a deathdefying jump live that you’ll never forget. And thanks to Cole, Northern Chill, and the Roadhouse, we were able to make this happen, and Cole nailed the jump seamlessly.
After the festivities closed and we said our goodbyes to the Hot Bike Tour Longriders, I was bummed to be leaving my Hot Bike Tour family. But I can’t wait to announce where we’re going in 2019. I think you’ll be stoked too! I hope to see you all out on next year’s Hot Bike Tour because it truly is a blast! HB