Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Good Speed & Machine knocked it out of the park with this rad Shovelhead complete with a wavy sissy bar.

Midwestern winters are brutal and unrelenting. If you’re one of the lucky ones who finds solace behind the bars of a motorcycle, those few months can feel like an eternity. Mix in a global pandemic and canceled events, and it can be tough to keep the flame burning all year long.

Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Standing room only – attendees turned out in big numbers to check out some of the best bikes from around the country.

Still riding high off the 2021 show this past December, I headed back to Milwaukee just as the 2022 weekend was kicking off. My first stop was the Fiserv Forum for the fabulous Flat Out Friday indoor racing action.

Luckily for those in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – and out-of-towners willing to brave the elements – Mama Tried founders Warren Heir Jr., Scott Johnson, and Jeremy Prach were able put on the 2021 and 2022 invitational shows in less than four months. A recap video of the December 2021 event is directly below.

Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Three’s a crowd. Michael Castro (#5), Andrew Clark (#52), and Joseph Beavers (#10) battle for position in the JV Hooligan Main.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Taking the rubbin’ is racin’ adage to a higher level. And check out the purple shag carpet “steel shoe” on the lead rider!
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Home of the brave – Stephanie Sunker (#79) pushes the limites atop her American Flag-themed Sportster.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
The Goofball class lived up to its name, with Sasquatch outrunning Snoopy in his Red Baron getup.

Riders ranging from 4-year-olds on 50cc bikes to 60-plus-year-olds in the Master class showed up ready to leave it all out on the track. The stadium’s concrete slab is coated in Dr. Pepper syrup to enhance traction, and everyone from amateurs to semi-professionals duked it out in the corners as a crowd of thousands watched from the edge of their seats.

Not long ago, the racing portion of the Mama Tried weekend was held on a frozen lake on Sunday morning, but it has since moved inside on Friday night. The action is a unique mix of fierce competition and a barrel of laughs. It’s fast, loud, non-stop, and highly entertaining.

Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
A family affair: Father and son bond over Mike’s Choppers & Race Co’s ’76 custom Shovelhead chopper.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Most came to the show just to look, but this guy came to buy!
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
The world-class engraving work on Paragon Custom’s 1954 Panhead drew in close looks all weekend.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Two friends inspect the finer details of Nick Resty’s 1961 Harley Davidson VLFL chopper.

I’ve yet to hand-shift a brakeless flathead Harley around a racetrack, but I got a close enough look on Friday to know I’d be in over my head if I tried. The Boonie class – a pull-start-only minibike race – brought the most chaos with 24 finalists on the track at one time. If you lay it down, don’t stay down because the rest of the field is hot on your tail.

The grand finale was the Goofball class and its anything-goes attitude. In what might be the first confirmed sighting of Bigfoot outside the northern woods, Sasquatch left the rest of the field in his dust, pulling away from Austin Powers, Snoopy (complete with a Nerf-gun turret), Santa Claus, a pizza delivery man, and a panda hanging out of a garbage can! It was a fever dream, to be sure.

Show Me

Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
This scalloped rear fender was seen on Zane Cook’s 1974 KZ400.

The crown jewel of the weekend is, of course, the Mama Tried invitational motorcycle show, held inside the Eagles Ballroom. More than 100 motorcycles form a maze of sometimes shiny and sometimes grimy steel and rubber, giving attendees a chance to get up close and personal with some of their favorites.

Featuring everything from pre-war Harleys to minibikes, custom-built choppers and diggers, modern superbikes and even a rare Vincent Black Shadow, there is quite literally something for everyone. Shows like these are an invaluable opportunity to soak up knowledge from some of America’s most talented fabricators.

Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
When Dais Nagao isn’t designing the latest Harley-Davidsons, including the stunning new Low Rider ST, he’s building cool customs like this 1982 FXR.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Motorelic channeled the look and feel of a 1968 Schwinn Krate with this custom –banana seat and Schwinn neck badge included.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Gold-flake paint and a gnarly skull and snake on the tank made this custom one of the stars of the show. Indian Larry forever.

Convict Customs built its 1978 Harley Davidson XLCH in just 50 days as a part of The Grind Biker Build-Off program for Facebook Live. Complete with split rockers, air-ride suspension, and a one-of-a-kind foot-pedal-operated dual-disc front brake set-up, the Convict XLCH drew consistent crowds all day.

Bare Knuckle Choppers’ 1950 FL gave everyone a peek inside its process by christening its tank with a “Built with Hate” graphic front and center. When a particular riding moment calls for flying under the radar, the headlight can be switched off by a beaded pull chain, an equal parts hilarious and hardcore touch.

Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Ballistic Cycles left jaws on the floor with Legacy, a massive Batmobile-esque concoction with hubless front and rear wheels.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Clean lines, aggressive styling, and a badass attitude set Convict Custom’s 1978 XLCH apart from the competition. This motorcycle was built in just 50 days for The Grind Biker Build-Off on Facebook Live.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Sporting “Built with Hate” and “Kill Yourself” across the tank, Bare Knuckle Choppers let everyone know its 1950 Harley Davidson FL chopper was not for the faint of heart.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
Church of Choppers debuted a brand-new paint job on its 2020 Indian FTR1200 that features dual rear shocks on a custom swingarm.

For those who found their love for two wheels on pedal bikes, Motorelic showed off a custom ride with a custom frame painstakingly based on Schwinn’s 1968 Krate bicycle. Powered by a Yamaha XS650 Twin, the bike’s bright orange frame called out like a beacon in a storm.

Heavy hitter Speed Kings Cycles’ blindingly white 2018 Road Glide lit up the show floor, while Church of Choppers’ Jeff Wright applied a fresh paint job on his already well-known Indian FTR1200. And two well-known Indian Larry projects paid homage to the gone but not forgotten icon.

Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022
One of two Indian Larry builds in the show, the Daddy-O Wishbone Springer made sure everyone realized the legend might be gone, but he’s not forgotten.
Mama Tried/Flat Out Friday 2022

When the weekend wound down on Sunday evening, and the temperatures dipped back into the 20s, I found myself basking in the glow of renewed inspiration and the fire burning on high for the remainder of the winter. If you’re looking for a way to keep the heat on next winter, keep an eye out for us at the show.