Mike Calabro

Mama Tried — The New-School Biker Rally

2 days of international custom bikes, a night at the Harley museum, flat-track and ice racing make a recipe for fun

For many years, traditional biker rallies have served their purpose by providing a centralized location that gives the motorcycle community a good excuse to get out and ride. But the old biker-rally model is evolving, and new-school events have been popping up around the world in the past few years. The Mama Tried Motorcycle Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is one of those events.

Mama Tried kicked off in 2014, and has been gaining steam ever since. The invitational bike show brings more than 100 of the latest cutting-edge custom motorcycles from all over the globe to the Rave/Eagles Club ballroom on Saturday and Sunday. But, of course, you can’t kick off a shindig in Milwaukee without a visit to Thursday’s Bike Night at the Harley-Davidson Museum. You also have to factor in the thousands of Mama Tried-ers and eager race fans who flock to the BMO Harris Bradley Arena to witness the antics of Flat Out Friday, an indoor flat track racing event where riders bang bars on the Dr. Pepper-syrup-soaked oval. And because it’s Milwaukee in February, Slippery Sunday is a must for the run-what-you-brung ice racers to try their luck around the makeshift track on a somewhat frozen Lake Michigan.

Mama Tried is a refreshing approach to motorcycle events. You won’t find zombie types searching for turkey legs, or girls with pasties pushing libations. But you will find core enthusiasts having a good time, sharing one common bond: cool motorcycles. And that, we can abide.

mama tried biker rally

The new-school biker rally

Mike Calabro

wooden custom bike

Wild wooden custom

Mike Calabro

Van Halen tribute band Atomic Punks

Van Halen tribute band Atomic Punks ran with the devil at the Flat Out Friday after-party.

Mike Calabro

Buell Franken-Blast

Alex Maslin, aka DesmoBibu, built this Buell “Franken-Blast” in his living room. Dude has a very patient girlfriend.

Mike Calabro

Jordan riding on the ice

Jordan popped his cherry on the ice and embarrassed the entire staff at Hot Bike.

Mike Calabro

Slippery Sunday Ice Rid

Literally skating on thin ice. The Slippery Sunday Ice Ride on Lake Michigan was canceled due to a winter heat wave. But the die-hards didn’t let that stop them.

Mike Calabro

The many faces of Mama Tried

The many faces of Mama Tried

Mike Calabro

Dr. Pepper-syrup-soaked indoor track

Twelve thousand tickets, 270 riders, 12 classes, and three gallons of syrup equal one kick-ass time. The indoor flat track race on the Dr. Pepper-syrup-soaked surface brought in more than 10,000 fans.

Mike Calabro

Willie G

Left: YouTube “sledneck” sensation Larry Enticer came all the way from Canada to send it on his snowmobile during the Hooligan class.
Right: The man, the myth, the legend: Willie G.

Mike Calabro

Mad Max Hooligans

Left: The Mad Max Hooligans made a surprise entrance during the Flat Out Friday halftime show.
Right: Dave Krunk (88) gets the holeshot. The track was pre-soaked with Dr. Pepper syrup to add traction.

Mike Calabro

Fuel Cafe

“Should I stay or should I go?” A daredevil pre-partier at Fuel Cafe gets ready to launch his minibike off the bar.

Mike Calabro and Kevein Hagen