Bikers come thundering into Sacramento Convention Centerby Michael Althouse, published on January 18, 2010 at 11:00PM
Hundreds of motorcycles lined both sides of J Street in front of the Convention Center on Saturday while their owners attended the annual Sacramento stop of the Easyriders Bike Show Tour.
Although the rain Sunday reduced the number of bikes parked on the streets, attendance at the two-day event was as good as or better than last year, said event manager Kari Roben.
Inside the Convention Center, the main floor was full of exhibitors and vendors displaying custom motorcycles and related goods and services, including accessories, apparel and custom fabrication.
Sacramento was the second stop on a five-city tour that started in Pomona on Jan. 9. “This is our second biggest show,” Roben said. “Only the last show, the invitational in Columbus, is bigger.”
Roben said that the Sacramento show owes its success to a large number of subscribers to Easyriders magazine, local support from Harley Davidson of Sacramento and other vendors, and the fact that the city is centrally located.
“Sixty to 75 percent of our vendors return year after year,” she said.
In addition to vendors and row after row of custom motorcycles, there was live music and entertainment. And clowns roamed the exhibit floor, entertaining young and old alike.
Woodland resident Meagan Murphy, also known as "Denim Jean," created balloon animals for all who happened by the booth of Anne Nix, owner of Sacramento-based Anne’s Badass Boutique (or Anne’s Incredible Bodywear, depending on her clientele).
“This is my 12th or 13th year,” Nix said. “I’ve been doing biker shows all over the U.S. for 16 years.”
She said the economy has significantly affected her business and that she was not sure how much business the show would generate. Other vendors, though, were more optimistic.
James Dean, owner of Rebel Design, a local custom motorcycle paint and fabrication venture, said, “This is the best show I can do all year.”
Dean said he receives “eight to ten jobs out of the show.” But another local vendor, Mike Armtrout, owner of custom-parts manufacturer Bigger Pimps, from Grass Valley, said he was there “mostly for exposure.”
Many national vendors also were exhibiting.
Representing Iowa-based J&P Cycles, Patrick Garvin said the show was “at least as good as or a little better than last year.”
A large motorcycle parts and accessories vendor, J&P Cycles distributed free catalogs for Harley Davidson, vintage and metric motorcycles.
John and Christi Huddleson were exhibiting for the first time at the bike show, traveling to Sacramento and Pomona from their home in San Diego.
The Huddlesons' business, Patch World, generates its income entirely at motorcycle events, John Huddleson said.
“These shows have been better than expected,” he said. “If I had known, I would continue (with the entire tour).”
Some booths had a more philanthropic bent.
“Spurz,” who declined to give his real name, is the state founder of Bikers Against Child Abuse. He said that although one goal of his booth is to raise donations, “our primary purpose is to raise awareness.”
Calvin Jefferson, also known as "Redbone," has been riding motorcycles for 35 years.
“I’ve been coming for the last five years and this is better than last year,” he said, adding that it’s still not as well attended as years prior, “probably because of the economy.”
Robert and Maggie Sanchez were attending their first Easyriders event with their granddaughter Alexia, 2, who was enchanted by Denim Jean. Sanchez has attended the similar Street Vibrations show in Reno but enjoyed Sacramento's version better because it's more family-oriented.
Although the show focuses mostly on V-twin powered street motorcycles such as the venerable Harley Davidson, there was something for every enthusiast.
The show attracted attendees from outside the Sacramento area as well.
Dorain and Christine Sallee traveled from Santa Rosa to view the exhibits and visit the various vendors.
“Last year there seemed to be more Harley stuff,” Dorain Sallee said, adding that he rides a Honda Gold Wing.
A large variety of custom motorcycles were exhibited, some worth more than $100,000.
Lane Shipp, Matt Toro and Andy Clark were checking out their favorite motorcycles Sunday.
“I’d like to see more bikes and less booths,” Shipp said. “I like the simple ones. Less is more.”
In reference to the image of the "outlaw biker," many attendees said that it has faded.
“A lot of that stigma has gone away," said longtime motorcyclist Jim Warnken of Livermore. "It’s not like it used to be.”
Christine Sallee added, “Bikers get a bad rap. It’s not deserved.”
The next stop on the Easyriders Bike Show Tour is in Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 23-24.