Iron horses meet the Steel Pier
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., JAN. 11-13–We’re cruising down the Garden State Parkway on a cold, dark New Jersey day in white-out conditions (from the salt and brine they’ve applied), to a new version of a motorcycle show for the city. Jam-On Productions is presenting its three-day Atlantic City International Motorcycle Show at the Showboat Convention Center and Hotel on the Boardwalk, and it sounds like it’s gonna be a great time!
We parked onsite in the discounted show parking lot and made our way to the recently renovated Showboat. The lines from the ticket window stretched to the lobby but moved quickly, and folks seemed pleased with the low-priced admission. Each ticket gave you a shot at winning a $300 door prize daily and a vote in the bike show. It was a bit surreal walking into what used to be a casino floor decked out in neon and curtains for a motorcycle show, but it was packed with two-wheeled pleasures as far as the eye could see. We walked through the dealer area first, well represented by Atlantic County Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycle of Monmouth, B & B Cycle and Mount Holly Motorsports, just to name a few. All dealers were offering in-show discounts on bikes and merchandise, and trading was brisk. On our way to the vendors, we checked out a cool display from The Race Of Gentlemen and listened to Mike Pestritto bang out a version of “Born to Be Wild” on his trike drum machine, a converted trike that can be played while driven from the passenger seat by another rider.
The vendor area was packed with a sea of people. Zipper’s Performance, one of the show sponsors, had a great booth with a ton of new items to choose from. Nick’s Cycles, Ocean County Powersports and Custom Auto and Cycle all had great setups with vendors like Venison Joe and the Knife Man, and demonstrations from Quick Sheen and Dent Busters adding to the festive atmosphere. With over 70 vendors, there was something for everyone. We stopped and caught a quick set of classic rock from Simply Three, who played throughout the show, and then checked out the bike show. With $25,000 in cash prizes and over a hundred trophies to be had, there was a fantastic selection in categories such as Vintage, Best Display, and People’s Choice. I was starving, and although we were steps away from the Boardwalk and other casinos and restaurants, we opted to eat at the show. We had a good meal and a cold beer and watched the NFL playoffs from one of the many big-screen TVs located around the venue. I also noticed that they paid special attention to making the event family friendly, by adding a face-painting clown and an arcade with glow-in-the-dark putt-putt golf for the kids.
Recharged and refreshed, we hit the floor again. We spoke to our old friends at the Hogs and Heroes booth and checked out the Tattoo Parlor, a separate area with tattoo artists available to make all your ink dreams come true. Next, and my favorite, was the swap meet. Paul Jackson, CEO of Jam-On Productions and life member of the AMA and AMA Hall of Fame, has been putting on swap meets continually for 40-plus years. Dubbed “The World’s Largest Swap Meet,” it attracts vendors from around the country. With aisles of vintage parts, paper and bikes, you could easily get lost in this part of the show for hours, and I did. When Christie finally dragged me away, my arms were full of great finds. We chatted with the folks from Hoagy’s Heroes, a group that stages long-distance charity rides benefitting children, and then stopped at the special guest area, where Cannonball, Hooligan, Top Fuel Drag, ice and flat track racers were available for autographs, photo ops, or just conversation.
By now it was after 5:00 p.m. and we took advantage of the discounted rooms at the Showboat provided by Jam-On. With a show code, you could secure an oceanfront room for under $100. We checked in, got in our room and were pleasantly surprised with beautiful renovations and the view. Showered and changed, we were ready to go. By chance (or great foresight), Xtreme International Ice Racing was being held at Boardwalk Hall, and we weren’t going to miss it. We took a brisk mile-long walk down the Boardwalk and found our seats.
XiiR a is motorcycle racing tour on ice. It’s a high-energy series of races attracting riders from around the country riding two- and four-wheeled methanol-fueled bikes that put 90 hp to the back wheel and hit speeds of 0-60 mph in three seconds. Each event has approximately 25 races. Each four-person, four-lap heat gives racers the chance to earn qualifying points for the six-lap main event, consisting of six riders. The action was fast and furious, and we found ourselves covered in ice chips and exhaust after some of the heats. The crowd was really into it, and it turned out being one of the highlights of the day. We headed back to the casinos for some nightlife and a good night’s rest.
Moving to the Boardwalk brought this show to a new level. With huge attendance, great pricing and a full venue of bikes, vendors and motorcycle fun, Jam-On Productions pulled out all the stops, turning this into a day trip or a weekend event. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a great tradition. We need all the help we can get to keep busy till the salt clouds clear!