Story and photos by Kevin Duke and Matthew Gustafson
Americade has been drawing riders to the picturesque area around Lake George, New York, for four decades, and it’s taken me that long to finally make the pilgrimage to check it out. Motorcyclists from the surrounding regions flowed into the lakeside hamlet for their own pilgrimage, with an estimated attendance of 60,000 visitors.
While some rallies and events attract a finite scope of riders and bikes, Americade attracts all kinds. Harley-Davidsons were in the majority, along with a strong showing of Indians and even several Victorys. Honda Gold Wings were everywhere, joined by a sizable contingent of sport-touring bikes from BMW, Kawasaki, and Yamaha. Quite a few adventure bikes and sportbikes too, all there to join the revelry and ride the countless great motorcycle roads in the Adirondack region.
This was Americade’s 40th year, and we decided to join in on the fun and add to the festivities with the Bring It Motorcycle Show. There are so many tasty bikes in the area, we invited attendees to bring it!
Our show was a co-production with our friends at Rider magazine and sponsored by partners IMTBike, SMK Helmets, and Spectro Performance Oils. For three days, June 1-3, we gave awards in five categories: American Bagger, American Cruiser, Japanese, European, and Old School (pre-1990). Additionally, we handed out a daily $250 prize for Editors’ Choice. All daily winners were invited to a grand finale to determine the Best of Show on Saturday evening.
Meeting our readers and tending the booth occupied most of my time at Americade, but I was able to steal away time on Saturday morning to join the Ride for Kids, a charity ride that raises money for children with brain cancer. I borrowed an Indian Scout from the demo truck for a relaxing trip around Lake George, happy to help raise awareness for a worthy cause by riding a cool bike through the lovely area. The lush greenery was a pleasant change for this SoCal denizen.
The culmination of our event was an Industry Meet & Mingle celebration at the beautifully restored 19th-century Carriage House at Fort William Henry Resort that overlooks Lake George. The Best of Show winner was selected by industry reps and received $1,000 cash plus prizes from the show sponsors.
After nearly 100 votes were tabulated, it was the purity and simplicity of Keith Youngblood’s 1969 Triumph TR6R hardtail bobber that earned the grand prize.
“It’s a highlight of my life,” Youngblood exclaimed. “I never expected to win!”
Youngblood’s vintage Triumph just edged out the bike with the best backstory, which belongs to Marine Corps veteran Hugh Smith. He uses his 2006 Yamaha Road Star V-Twin to help build homes for veterans with children. Smith dubbed his bike “Milwaukee Packout,” as he uses it as a worksite mule, and it’s fitted with Milwaukee toolboxes and even a battery-powered miter saw on the back! It won best Japanese on Day 3.
We only had one Best of Show award to give out, but Smith’s story pulled many heartstrings at the event, including those of Americade’s chief, Christian Dutcher, who graciously dug into his pocket to gift Smith with $200 for a special award.
We thank our show entries, our sponsors, and all Americade staff and volunteers for making our inaugural show such a success. We’ll be back next year, so Bring It!
See more photos from Americade and the Bring It Motorcycle Show below.