Whew! Another Born Free in the history books. Grant, Mike, Huber and the whole crew sure know how to throw one hell of a bike show. We were glad to be a part of it yet again and we went big this year with a huge tent so there was plenty of room to relax in some shade, have a cold beer and chill out and soak it all in. Big thanks to all of our friends who let us display their bikes in and around the booth. We thought it would be fun to show off an eclectic mix that reflects our style, and that of our friends and customers.
This event has been the deep end of the talent pool since the first one held at the old Classic Cycles shop in Orange, CA seven years ago and 2015 was no let down. The Show Class magazine People's Champ party at Cook's Corner on Friday night was packed and the six proud finalists had their hard work on display while onlookers cast their votes for the ultimate winner who would go on to be an "invited" builder at Born Free the next day. The amount of time and quality of work that went into these bikes was every bit as mind-blowing as some of the more famous guys in the "Big Show". JP Rodman's insanely intricate and molded shovelhead rose to the top through the democratic process and was crowned the winner. Somehow, we didn't get any photos of his bike (sorry J.P.) but there are some video clips of it in our Part One video below.
Saturday and Sunday was packed and the grass area had hundreds of bikes worth looking at. Not all of the Invited Builder bikes were 100% finished and several dudes didn't even make the show, but every single bike on display was fantastic. Anyone who's ever turned a wrench can't help but admire the long hours, skill and hard dollars that was poured into each of these machines.
It's easy to get overwhelmed when checking out so many hand-crafted motorcycles in one place, but at the end of the day, you gotta pick a favorite. This has to be a difficult chore for the guys running Born Free. All of the bikes are creative and well-crafted, so narrowing it down to one just isn't a simple task. Mike and Grant get around this by designating a lot of different categories and awards so a big percentage of the Invited Builder bikes go home with some sort of win. Hell, just getting invited in the first place is an award in itself. My personal favorite was Jason Webber's Booger Sugar. It was show-quality but looked like a bike you could actually do some miles on and live with for a long time. -Bill
The official list of winners in each category is listed below:
Art & Fuel Paint contest - Richard Minino Born-Free Award - Elliot Grosshands Panhead Rider Award - Peter Jackson Panhead Philly AMCA Award - Larry Doane big inch VL Best Paint - Duane Boatrip '60 Panhead Alabama Best Competition - Mark Atkins Rusty Butcher Best Modern - Andy Carter Hot Bike Sportster build Best Bobber - Nick Toscano Harley UL in VL frame Best Chopper - Thom Jones panhead Best Japanese - Jeff Wright Church of Choppers Best British - Matt Machine Norton from Australia Best Pre Unit Triumph - Jeff Leighton Best Indian - Go Takamine Brat Style LBC/Tokyo Best Flathead - Uwe Ehinger Harley UL from Germany Best Sportster - Brandon Holstein Speed Merchant Best Shovelhead - Johnny Branch Best Panhead - Dalton Walker Best Knucklehead - Arlen Ness "Untouchable" Born-Free Founders Pick - Arie VanSchyndel People's Champ - JP Rodman Invited Builder 1st - Oliver Jones Invited Builder 2nd - Arie VanSchyndel Invited Builder 3rd - Dalton Walker Best in Show - Ryan Grossman "Quicksilver"
Winner of 2015 and 1977 Harley-Davidson Lowriders - Israel Cortes Winner of the PBR Speed Merchant Evo Sportster - Edward Givis Winner of the 1946 Knucklehead Chopper - Shonda Mullins