Soaked in history

DANIA BEACH, FLA., JAN. 26— Into each event some rain must fall. Mother Nature, unfortunately, disappointed us this year as blue skies were replaced by low tropical rain clouds, making the grounds muddy as precipitation held back many of the vintage cycles scheduled for display.

The Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show was held again at Frost Park in Dania, Florida. This local annual antique motorcycle show is now in its 13th year. What started out as a booth at an art expo has turned into a premier event in South Florida.

Clare Frost and her husband Clive Taylor, the braintrust behind the event and who work tirelessly all year to prepare for the show, were not disappointed as 100 motorcycles had previously registered for the actual show.

And for those of us who admire motorcycles that fall into the antique category, meaning they are at least 35 years old, the show featured an abundance of classes like American, European, English, Italian, Competition, Bobber and Scooters. The theme of this year was to celebrate those glamorous Italians. Ducati graced the host banner while Benelli, Moto Guzzi, Bugatti and Aprilia were just some of the names vintage collectors came to admire.

Unlike the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, which judges on a point system, this is a first-, second- and third-place show. The Top American Motorcycle Award went to Lesyle Ann Mann’s 1938 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead.

Dave Plotin, owner of West Palm Beach’s Burn Up Company, stepped up to fill the place of Tim Purvis. Purvis was tragically killed in a bike accident some six months back. He would bring his Ural sidehack up and help raise funds for the Friends of the Dania Beach Paul DeMaio Library. When Tim was asked if he minded kids touching his bike, he would smile and say, “All for a good cause.” Tim was a super guy, a great man who left us way too soon. Dave’s Rockin’ Indian will continue to make sure the library is supported for years to come.

Every year a legion of volunteers from several area bike associations, including the Everglades Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, come together to assist with everything from registration to parking to the selling and distribution of T-shirts. The volunteers are celebrated with a barbecue cookout about a month after the show, receiving much-deserved kudos from organizer Clare Frost.

Despite the mud, meandering between antiques and internationally-recognized motorcycles, the trip down was totally worth it even if some of the Italian beauties didn’t show up. Either way, I feel like a winner for making it down.

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