Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Steel Pony Express VII – Master Bike Builders Let the Good Times Roll

Written by  November 30, 2004

So, how approachable are the master bike builders? Very approachable, from what we found on Halloween weekend at the Steel Pony Express Rally in New Orleans.

Leigh, my husband, has been riding, working on and building his own bikes most of his life. He currently has four Harleys, ranging from his '63 Panhead to his '03 V-Rod. For me, however, it has been only in the past 14 years since we've been together that I have gotten interested in them; mainly, because of him. And because of him, I've also been watching the Biker Build-Offs on the Discovery Channel, so meeting these people in person and seeing some of the motorcycles we had seen born on TV, was great!

A few of them, I was even looking forward to meeting, and Chica was one of them. I thought it was kinda cool that not only was he the first one we met, but I was the one who spotted him first. How cool was that? He always seemed to have a smile on his face. We got our picture taken with him and an autograph. He said he was very glad to meet us, and seemed very happy to talk with us for awhile. We found out that he had already sold that beautiful blue bike from one of the build-offs, and yes, you can carry on a conversation with him. He speaks and understands English much better than you might think.

We also met Dave Perewitz and got photos taken with him, and an autograph. He even asked who to make the autograph out to, which was different.

We then found Joe Martin. He seemed like he might be fun to hang out with, and we definitely love his work!

Paul Yaffe was trying to unload his trailer and get his bikes set up, but he stopped to talk, sign autographs, and wiped sweat off just long enough to pose with us for a few photos.

Kendall Johnson was not supposed to be there because he was working on another bike for the Discovery Channel, but he had finished early and flew in. His wife, at least we thought it was his wife, even came up and offered to take the picture so we could both be in the photo. He signed a poster for us, which was one of Leigh's favorites, and they also discussed engines for a while.

Russell Mitchell - wild man! But he's cool. I had a photo taken with him and he also signed a poster for me. Party on! He was another one of my fav's.

Jessie James and Arlen Ness did not make the show. People were disappointed about that, but not enough to spoil the enjoyment of the whole weekend.

I have never seen so many beautiful bikes and so much talent gathered in one spot. This was the biggest event I have ever been to, and these people seem so appreciative of all the attention and recognition they received! We walked away feeling like we had just met some rock stars or something. Because we are in such awe of their work, we were very excited to meet them, and they certainly didn’t act like Divas! This was a great time for everyone.

There was also plenty of great music all around, tons of great food, and the French Quarter on Halloween was a trip! Everyone should see this at least once, but you'll want to come back!

We also met new friends, who we hope to stay in touch with and see at future rallies. This is one event that really shouldn’t be missed!

Story and photos by Leigh and Lynn Lilly of Birmingham, Alabama