This past January, NorCal-more specifically, the city of San Jose, CA-was host to an inaugural show that's bound to become one of those "you've gotta go at least once" types of events. All it took were two small words to pack the McEnery Convention Center with bikes, bodies, and blue ribbbons: Arlen Ness.
Usually after a first-time event, you hear a list of excuses trying to explain why the turnout wasn't what it was expected to be. Organizers or promoters will say everything from "it was too (insert weather-related adjective)" to "the headlining band cancelled at the last minute" to the best excuse of all: "The printing company screwed up the dates on all the promotional materials."
There was no need for excuses this past January 27-28, as more than 10,000 people flocked to get a glimpse of the godfather of customs, Arlen Ness, and his equally talented bike-building son, Cory Ness. But this weekend wasn't just a meet-'n'-greet opportunity for fans. It was also a chance for up-and-coming builders to show off their skills, hopefully get a nod of appreciation from Arlen or Cory, and maybe even walk away with a cash prize.
Aside from of all the bikes (more than 200) that were vying for top honors in the bike show, there were more than 100 vendors on-site, with companies such as Custom Chrome, BMC Choppers, Danny Gray Seats, Ride Wright Wheels, and Eye Ride Eyewear displaying their goods. Beer, bikes, and babes-it was everything motorcycling is supposed to be about: having fun.
OK, so that was the gist of the show-nothing out of the ordinary. Well, almost nothing. The one thing that really impressed us about this show was the number of good-looking Harleys that were there. Sure, the ground-up customs were pulling their weight, but we were on the lookout for Harleys to feature and found quite a few. So let's skip all the b.s. and get to the bikes...some of which you'll see full features on in upcoming issues.
Oh, yeah-don't forget to check out next year's show, to be held January 26-27, 2008 (www.arlennessbikeshow.com), 'cause "you've gotta go at least once."