Spring is just around the corner and a great season is upon us. Be safe out there, folks, as others are not expecting you on the roads during the first few weeks of riding season… The “Blazin’ Saddles” Chili Cook-Off at Dillon Brothers Harley-Davidson in Omaha, Nebraska, attracted over 20 teams of competitors comprised of employees and customers, and the event was another huge success this year. Geno’s Bar and Grill defended their title by winning for the second year in a row. Team “Firebarn” came in a close second. Non-team entry Dave Miller and his chili finished out the top three. The Dillons and their staff at the dealership invite everyone out for next year’s bash and great smokin’ hot chili… In Cleveland Heights, Ohio, police stopped a 12-year-old boy pushing a motorcycle down the road in the snow at about 11:00 p.m. on January 18. He told the officers he was supposed to pick up the scoot and take it to a shop in East Cleveland for repairs. He finally admitted to the boys in blue that he broke into a garage and stole the bike. They traced his tracks back through the snow and returned the ride to the owner. The young man was released into the custody of his mother… Another vintage stolen motorcycle has been returned to its rightful owner by the California Highway Patrol in Joshua Tree, California. The 1934 Harley-Davidson Single was stolen in July 1985 in St. Paul, Minnesota. A 66-year-old guy took the motorcycle, which he got in 1985 for helping somebody move when he lived in Minnesota, to the CHP for a VIN inspection and they found out it was stolen. Noble Handley, 58, now living in the state of Wyoming, has finally got his rare (last year for the single cylinder) 1934 Harley home where it belongs… Looking for a neat destination ride this spring or summer? How about the Parke County Jail in Rockville, Indiana? Built in 1879, the jail is now owned by Tony and Debra Winn and operates as an inn. Debra, an interior designer, has refurbished the building using most of the original décor. The basement drunk tank is now the “Drunk Tank Winery” with tastings for guests and for others by appointment. The upper floors now feature the Harley-Davidson and Bonnie and Clyde suites. These are jail cells, folks; sounds cool. And if you are looking to ride while there, Parke County calls itself the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World,” with 31 covered bridges dating back to the 1850’s and an annual Covered Bridge Festival in the fall… According to Devin Santana of Nebraska City, a horse is a horse even if it is made of steel. So remembering his days as a young lad riding his white quarter horse named Dude, he remembered how comfortable his legs were in the stirrups. Devin and his wife Sarah own Nebraska City Iron Works and he decided to fashion some stirrups out of stainless to mount on your front engine guards (old timers call them crash bars) to help keep your feet safe and comfy. Check them out; they look great… Michigan’s own Ron Finch, who has been building wild choppers and sculptures in his shop Finch’s Custom Styled Cycles in Pontiac, Michigan, since 1965, now has his own film titled Ron Finch—That’s All You Get. Produced by Danny Grinnell, the 90-minute film is both biography and documentary on a year in the life of Ron Finch. I have had the pleasure of spending time with Ron at his shop, bike shows, and at one of his favorite spots watching flat-track racing. I hope some of you have seen his “Chopper at Large” creation, which stands 13 feet tall and 20 feet long and is made of scrap airplane parts and steel. It is lit up with Christmas lights and breathes fire. I have the movie and it is really cool and features some great music from local bands and singers. I recommend you check this out if you have never heard of Ron, and if you know who he is, you will enjoy getting a little closer to this gentle man and renowned sculptor… Bill Standley of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, finally got his wish to be buried sitting on his 1967 full dresser in a Plexiglas casket so everyone could see him on his last ride. Bill died on January 26 of lung cancer at age 82, and his family fulfilled his wish. His two sons built the Plexiglas casket and Bill had purchased an extra-large cemetery plot next to his wife Lorna. Vernon Funeral Homes used five embalmers and they inserted braces and supports to keep Bill astride his Glide, with his hands on the handlebars. They dressed him in his leathers and chaps and riding gloves, and added his shades and white helmet. His sons Pete and Roy put the box on a trailer and their pickup truck paraded him to the cemetery so all his friends could see him on his last ride. Bill was buried on Friday, January 31, 2014, riding his Harley for all eternity. Ride in peace, Bill. That’s it for this month; it all about you, the Midwest biker. Ride fast, but ride safe.