DIXON, CALIF., SEPT. 8—In a time when even the largest motorcycle events are struggling to bring in the bikers, it’s nice to know one little event just keeps rolling on. That would be Renegade Classics’ annual Bike Show and Tattoo Expo held in the sleepy little town of Dixon, California, about 23 miles southwest of Sacramento. Since its inception back in 2005, the event has continued to grow with some 3,500 in attendance last year. This year they broke all expectations when over 7,000 bikers showed up! Not bad for a little town most people in California have never heard of, and for an event that is equally unknown outside of local circles.
The day promised to be a good one with temps at about 90 degrees and no rain in sight. The event sounded like it had a lot going for it, as well. The entry fee was $20, but included admittance into any of the competitions you wanted to participate in, along with an event T-shirt. How could you go wrong with a tattoo contest, bike show, Jason Pullen doing stunts, bike builders, live music, models, a Stereo Thump Off, a Pickle Lickin’ Contest, and Chumlee and Big Hoss from the History Channel’s hit show Pawn Stars? Throw in vendors including adult film star Angie Savage who had retired from the business to start up Angie’s Wieners, which serves “The biggest wieners and the hottest buns,” according to her business slogan. A citizen by the name of Cindy had e-mailed the local online paper, The Dixon Patch, giving her seal of disapproval to the whole business venture when she wrote, “This is going to be swell for the youth; nothing like some smut for that family get-together.” Yes sir, this event held all kinds of promise.
The event started at 10:00 a.m. and was scheduled to conclude at 4:00 p.m. Arriving in the morning, you could scope out the vendors, get some great chow, enter your bike in the bike show, which allowed you to park your bike in the middle of the event, get your trophy and be on your way home by four. By noon the main parking lot for the Dixon Fairgrounds was completely full of bikes, and parking had now extended out to the street and the overflow parking area across from the fairgrounds. Incidentally, these fairgrounds are the oldest in the state of California, and the few cars I saw appeared to be connected with the vendors or the tattoo show.
There were at least 11 food vendors including the Squeeze Inn, a juice bar, which was, coincidentally, right next to Angie’s Wieners. There were barbecued chicken kabobs and tri-tip, teriyaki rice bowls, the Smoothie Patrol, corn dogs, nachos, garlic fries and Italian ice cream. In addition to serving her dogs and buns, Angie was posing for photos and signing autographs.
Area bike builders and their bikes were well represented, too. There was Back Roads Custom Cycles of Tracy, Hard Knocks Customs from Manteca, TPJ Customs out of Lodi, Brass Knuckle Customs from Patterson and Executive Choppers hailing from Roseville. The difference with these guys is they not only built the bikes, but they also made many of the parts including the frames—these weren’t just catalog bikes.
There were also accessory vendors selling bike parts, clothing and sunglasses. Reading Designs was selling a couple of their new accessories, one of which was the Grip Switch, a garage door opener that installs on your bike. The switch unit actually replaces your brake or clutch bracket and has a switch mounted in it, so you don’t have to fumble for the opener or tap in your super-secret turn signal code when you opened your garage door. They sold the switch separately to work with air-ride suspensions, as well. They were also hawking their patented motorized adjustable floorboards.
Jason Pullen was on hand showing off his motorcycle stunts, and there was a motorcycle Stereo Thump Off Contest, as well. Doug Ide took home first-place honors for his kick-ass stereo.
Several hot-looking young ladies had entered the Pickle Lickin’ Contest. It got down to three lovelies: Katie, Cat and Rene Robinson. Clearly Katie, Cat and I were confused about the object of the game. Had this been a pickle-swallowing contest, the bikini-clad models would have won pickles down, especially when Cat did the splits during her routine. But Yuba City Rene actually licked the pickle without slipping it deep down into her throat and the crowd chose her as the winner. Apparently following directions was not a strong point.
There was also a Metal Art Competition in which three local artists participated: James Dean of James Dean Rebel Designs in Roseville; Horacio Ramirez of Modesto Kreative Koncepts; and Jeremiah Montoya from Outlaw Paint in Tracy. Each artist started with a clean piece of metal and sculpted and/or painted it onsite for three hours. When the judging was all over, Jeremiah walked home with the $500 first-place prize. After the contest the art was auctioned off to the highest bidders, with all of the proceeds from the event going to the Dixon Area Youth Scholarships. There was also a charcoal-drawing contest where the artists were given 15 minutes to draw what they wanted before auctioning the pieces off. Of course, my favorite was the bare-breasted young maiden sailing an old ship—and my wife would have loved the horse drawing next to it.
The Tattoo Show was held inside Madden Hall where a number of artists and shops had set up booths to add to your piercing and tattooing pleasure. A few of the artists included Image Tattoos of Galt, who created the event, and Josh Allgood of Dixon. Someone once told me that the only sure thing about your first tattoo is that it will lead to more of them. There were 12 categories ranging from Best All Over Body, won by Ashley Perry, to, of course, Best H-D Bar and Shield won by Jason Wong.
The Ride-In Bike Show was very popular with over one hundred bikes entered, making judging quite difficult. There were 19 categories, which probably helped in the judging. It broke the bikes down to their basic styles, like Best Fat Boy (Don Hansen), Best Touring (Bret Wolfe), Judges Choice (Steve Bone), Pre-1980 H-D (Gerald Stockent) and Best of Show (David Dassari). The only way Kit Miller could have lost is if he hadn’t entered, as his was the only Indian in the Indian class.
Troy Rowsey, event organizer and Renegade Classics franchise owner, was very happy with the turnout. He said, “We were planning and hoping for about 5,000 people, but no one expected 7,000. We also sold 43 kegs of beer.” He was especially thankful to the sponsors, Allstate Insurance who provided the stage area, Rich Lavalle of the Buckhorn Bar and Grill who did much of the event announcing, and Budweiser. A total of $6,500 from the various auctions was donated to charity, as well. Next year he plans to extend the event to 8:00 p.m. and add a “Friday Night Stroll,” so dig out your maps, program your GPS and head for that sleepy little town of Dixon next year for the 2013 edition.
Bike Show Winners
Fat Boy: Don Hansen
Heritage: Dave Romero
Sportster: Bill Mac
V-Rod: Jose Ramirez
Softails: Allen Dickinson
Pre-1980 H-D: Gerald Stockent
Trikes: Dave Passaro
Antiques: Steve Bone
FXR/Dyna: Bret Wolfe
Metric: AFT Customs
American Non-H-D: Gino Flacqua
Touring: Bret Wolfe
Road King: Alex Fierros
Bullet Bikes: David Bains
Indian: Kit Miller
Special Construction: Steve Pedigo
Best Paint: Jerry Edging
Judges’ Choice: Steve Bone
Best of Show: Dave Dassari
Best H-D Bar & Shield: Jason Wong
Best Tribal: Heather Compton
Best Flames: Vernon Garcia
Most Unusual: Michael Walton
Best Skull: Adam Funk
Best Full Color Art: Angie Delarosa
Best Black & White Art: Rick Madinich
Best Chest: Vernon Garcia
Best Back: Josh Mullican
Best Arm: Julie Lynch
Best All-over Body: Ashley Perry