One of the best parts about this job is receiving insider information and being one of the first to release it to my readers. Talking with Jeff Nicklus, he confided that his company, Desperado Motorcycles, would be adding a new model to their lineup of custom production bikes. And it’s a bagger; something he swore he’d never build. Nicklus has committed to build 50 bikes titled The Reckoning that will utilize the S&S X-Wedge motor, complete with fuel injection and enough carbon fiber on the bags, fenders, tanks and fairing to keep the dry weight at an estimated 710 lbs. Should be interesting and, you read it here first… Although Ted Nugent was recently booted from a concert scheduled for the army base at Fort Knox, his appearance is still on track for the upcoming Republic of Texas Biker Rally in Austin, Saturday night, June 9. Commanders in Fort Knox, Kentucky, cut Nugent from their annual summer concert after some rather controversial comments by the Motor City Madman concerning the current White House administration hit the mainstream media. While Nugent labeled the cancellations an “insult,” I doubt Uncle Ted’s political opinions will do much to hamper attendance at the Austin event. Knowing Texans the way I do, it will probably be a sold out show… On April 7, Chappell Chill in Washington, Texas, held their 4th annual Easter Egg Hunt. Sponsored by Texan Harley-Davidson in Conroe, the day included a full-blown barbecue buffet complete with brisket, chicken, sausage and pork (sorry, no rabbit) for $10. Once dubbed the “Ugliest Biker Bar in Texas,” Chappell Chill is only open on Saturdays and Sundays but has some of the best grub, coldest beers and cutest bartenders in that neck of the woods… On April 13–15, the Texas Motorcycle Roadriders Association met in Comanche for their State Rally. More than 300 riders from across the state gathered at Comanche City Park for a weekend of companionship and the chance to chart future goals in motorcycle rights, education and better communication for Texas riders… Back in mid-April, I received an e-mail from Juan Gandera with Lubbock Custom Cycles inviting me to the 14th annual Blue Ribbon Rally at the Depot Entertainment District in Lubbock being held April 28. Although that was a little too far for me to travel and cover a one-day show (Houston to Lubbock = 500 miles), it seems they did quite well without my presence. Juan was instrumental in the founding of the Blue Ribbon Rally, which has soared in popularity over the years and is now managed by Family Guidance and Outreach Center. The event started as a Harley-Davidson bike show and auction but now has incorporated music, games, food, an activity area for the kids and a custom car show (fortunately motorcycles are still a major feature). This is now the sole fundraiser for the Outreach Center that has a focus of educating parents on how to build strong families. Estimates are that approximately 15,000 people attended this one-day event, greatly adding to the Outreach Center’s coffers. Juan, you done real good… South Padre Island BikeFest (October 12–14) is continuing their Rally Passport Series and was busy signing up folks at two recent Rio Grande Valley events. First was the Ride for Babies held in Edinburg on April 21 and then again at the 8th annual Bash in the Brush Rally in San Isidro on April 28. The Passport Series is a yearlong campaign to support local events by signing up participants that get the opportunity to win an SPI Grand Prize Package by securing a stamp in their “passport” at area events throughout the riding season leading up to the Island rally in October. So you don’t miss your chance at winning; log onto www.spibikefest.com for more details… The entire THUNDER PRESS crew wishes to express heart-felt condolences for the loss of Amy Browning-Turner, the beloved wife of our Texas Panhandle contributor, Erick Turner (aka: Boomer). Amy became suddenly ill at the end of April, was quickly admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in Amarillo and passed away at the tender age of 39 on the morning of April 26. We first met Amy when she and Boomer traveled south to assist in the coverage of the Republic of Texas rally in Austin. We instantly fell in love with this vivacious redhead; her spunky attitude and constant smile gracing our campsite. A sad loss. Hang in there, Boomer; Amy would want nothing less. The bluebonnets are gone and it hit 90 in Houston on May 2. But the good news is that the drought we suffered through last year has abated and water levels are almost back to normal in most lakes. The rivers are flowing, the campsites plush and the highways beckon your next two-wheel adventure—so what’s your excuse for not being on the road, eh? Get out there and enjoy our great state. There’s really no acceptable excuse.