The Diluted David Mann Chopper Fest 2019

Take the annual David Mann Chopper Fest, add an inch or two of rain, and you’ve got the diluted 2019 David Mann Chopper Fest. I was going to blow it off after waking up to a deluge but the doppler showed the storm would move through Ventura around 10. I hit the gate at 10:30 and the clouds cleared, opening up a crystal-clear blue sky. But the damage was done.

The rainfall turned the normally grassy judging area into a slippery, muddy mess. Some vendors sat twiddling their thumbs, separated from spectators by mud and water. The promoter didn’t appear to have a contingency plan so when I left around 1, there had not been any of the promised live music. And the motorcycle turnout (both inside the gates and in the parking lot) was way down from previous years.

The uncooperative weather dampened the day’s vibe for sure. The damp event was kinda boring. I think what ruined it for me was going to The One Moto Show where anything goes, everything is welcome and creativity rules. The chopper crowd is a very tight culture. Try to pitch anything beyond black clothing, skeletons, riders-flipping-the-bird paintings or silver jewelry (of skeletal parts), and this crowd will pass you by.

The rain didn’t help, but the David Mann Chopper Fest is having carburation issues. It’s running, but just barely. Gone are the days of the Wall of Death and the big guys riding Harleys in pyramid formation. It is starting to feel more like a swap meet and less like a festival. It may be time to broaden the event’s appeal or it will start to feel as dated as David Mann’s artwork.

The people trying to resurrect Easyriders magazine (and launch “lifestyle” products) had spot-on replicas of Wyatt’s (Godspeed, Peter Fonda) and Billy’s (Godspeed, Dennis Hopper) choppers from the movie Easy Rider. Good luck with the mag. You’re gonna need it.
The Captain America bike gets all the attention, but I’d take Billy’s bike over Wyatt’s any day of the week. It is way better to ride. If you haven’t seen Easy Rider in 20 years, don’t see it again. It is a lot better in your memory than it is a movie.
Let’s not waste time. Here is my Best In Show. Love everything about it.
That’s one way to be sure you never ride low on oil. No, it is not a coffee maker.
This one is for Motorcycho’s Norman and Heather.
This guy just couldn’t wait for Harley-Davidson to release the Pan American so he built his own. Sweet.
This old fella has a lot of miles on him. The rain didn’t bother this entry.
This pretty Triumph was restored by the legendary Century Motorcycles in San Pedro.
Speaking of Triumphs, this one was a lean, clean bobber done very tastefully.
Got a buddy who can’t ride most modern bikes because of crazy-high saddle heights. This custom answers his prayers. Just watch the pipes getting off the thing.
The number of bikes (and people looking at them) was down over last year. The rain scared a lot of people away. Bummer.
It would be cool if the Highway Patrol rode bikes like this.
Laportrike claim one of their kits will turn your Harley into a reverse trike in one weekend. I imagine a reverse trike is way more stable than a traditional trike. A rider with balance or strength issues doesn’t have to sell their Harley. This will keep you riding.
You can get your leather vest in any color as long as it is black. Not a lot of variation in the apparel being hawked.
I forgot my wallet or these would have come home with me. Didn’t have enough cash on me. Actually, didn’t even ask. This is the work of the multi-talented Darren McKeag.
Wonder if I can talk Gail into this? Wonder if I could ride it?
Boneyard Artillery is Richard Xpres Taylor’s art that follows the chopper rules but adds some mischief. Awesome van too!
Race for the longest fork. And the winner is….
845 Motorcycles Custom Paint showed some beautiful metal flake work. If you have a project ready for coloring, you’d be crazy not to check 845 out.
A closer look at the 845 Motorcycles Custom paint magic.
While many artists simply mimicked his style, Lyndell Dean Wolff created the best David Mann tribute painting in the show. Very impressive.
If you knew what you were looking for, there were buried treasures.
Proof it turned into a beautiful day. The Ventura County Fairgrounds is a great venue that has hosted everything from the Grateful Dead to a demolition derby.

IN THE PARKING LOT

The parking lot at the Chopper Fest can be as interesting as inside the gates. The rain kept a lot of bikes in their garages. It was slim pickings but there were a few lookers.

 

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