Spokane, Wash., Mar. 14–16 — Winter this year in the Great Northwest has not been a particularly hard one. The usual two to three feet of snow didn’t happen, at least in town. We had snow off and on, though we did have some pretty brutal days as far as cold temps, but for the most part I’d have to say it wasn’t too bad. There were a few hardcore riders out on the roads when the ice had melted. There were even a few days when those who are a little less hardcore broke their bikes out. Yet, for the most part, riding during the winter here is not for the faint of heart. So come March, when the Inland Northwest Motorcycle Show & Sale comes to town, everyone is ready to see what’s new and get out there and ride.
Back in 2004 when this show first started, it was held at the Spokane Convention Center in downtown Spokane. The facility was nice, but it was only approximately 30,000 square feet. The show grew every year, as did the size of the Convention Center, which now boasts 80,000 square feet. However, parking at the Convention Center was another negative aspect with a $10/vehicle charge. In 2009 the event moved to the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. With its free parking for the spectators and room to grow, the show could now have every brand of bike available in our area as well as plenty of vendors and activities for the spectators.
As you entered the show, one of the first things to greet you was one of two bike shows that were presented. That first was put together by the Northwest Classic Motorcycle Club, who brought in more than 20 vintage Harleys, Hondas and more for your viewing pleasure. The second bike show was sponsored by Westside Motorsports and a local rock radio station KKZX, and was called the Bike Off. In this bike show local riders could put their bikes in competition for prizes in four categories. By showtime, 40 bikes were signed up to compete in Vintage, American, Foreign and Factory Custom. In each category the prize was a first-place trophy and a $100 gift card from Westside Motorsports. The winners were: Vintage, J. Whitver with his 1965 Harley-Davidson Electric Glide; American, Shannon Burton with a 2005 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead; Foreign, Richard Mattrass with a 1981 Honda Goldwing 1100 named “No Quarter;” and Factory Custom, Rommel Westlaw with his 2004 Big Bear Chopper.
During the show there were ways for the public to win prizes. At the Toyota booth you could fill out an entry for a drawing to win a $100 gas card, which was awarded every two hours throughout the entire show. Or how about a four-day/three-night stay at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip? Joining together for this prize was local country radio station 93.7 The Mountain and Lone Wolf Harley-Davidson.
Those that purchased a motorcycle at the show got their chance in the “Motorcycle Money Machine.” Here they had 30 seconds to catch the flying money and push it through a little slot where a waiting friend would pull the money out. At the end of the 30 seconds the money pulled out would be counted up and a gift card from the selling dealership would then go to that person.
This year was the 11th annual Inland Northwest Motorcycle Show & Sale. Back in 2002, a young man, Chris Cody, had just graduated from Pacific Lutheran in Tacoma, Washington, when he and a couple buddies decided to take a ride to Sturgis. When he got home he went to his father, Steve Cody, owner of Del Creek Productions, and brought up the idea about having a motorcycle show. Steve puts on the yearly RV show here in Spokane, so he has the experience in putting on big shows. At first, Steve didn’t see the market for motorcycles. He figured that most riders were 18 and didn’t have the funds to purchase bikes. Another year passes and another trip to Sturgis for Chris when he once again approached his father about putting on this show. This time Steve did some investigating to prove his point to Chris. What he found surprised him, so with the help of his partner, Jim Cotter, the first Inland Northwest Motorcycle Show & Sale was born in 2003. At the time, Chris was 23 years old.
After 10 years of working the show with his father and learning the ropes, Chris bought Jim Cotter’s share of Del Creek Productions and took more of an active role. This year Chris stepped forward and has taken over the helm. When I asked him what stands out as far as the show goes, Chris said, “Opening of the show is the moment. When you get to see it all come together. There is lack of sleep due to an adrenaline rush, and then to see the line of people standing outside waiting for the doors to open; you know you did it! All of your hard work is about to pay off with a great show. Then having the vendors come to you during the show to say, ‘Thank you—good job.’ It’s attention to detail. To make sure everything is where it needs to be and to be ready to handle situations as they come up.”
Dealers at the show included Westside Motorsports, Spokane Powersport, Empire Cycle, Lone Wolf Harley-Davidson, Stex and Allsport. Some of the local shops also had booths including Luck’s Motorcycles, Vintage V-Twin, Customs by Jim and Toby’s Batteries. There was interest from vendors as far away as Canada and Seattle.
If you needed leathers and other accessories, there were many vendors there to help you out. Renegade Classics, Customs by Jim and others had pretty much anything you might need. The Combat Vet Riders ran the Biker Bar for any personal lubricants that you might have needed.
All in all Chris and Steve Cody pulled off a very successful show. My question to Chris was, “Since this was your baby to begin with, will we see your dad’s presence in future shows lessen?” His answer was, “Yes, in the next four to five years Dad will begin to relinquish more of the reins and this will become my responsibility.” Steve will, however, be Chris’s mentor and advisor. Chris said, “Watch for more events in the future. I’m working on more shows in more markets.” I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
(This article Family Showmanship was published in the May 2014 issue of Thunder Press, West Edition.)