St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 15–16—Winter storm Jupiter tried its best to dampen the spirits of the 3rd annual St. Louis Motorcycle Show by dumping ice on the city of St. Louis the day before, but as they say, “The show must go on.” Being in the Midwest during winter is really hard on us bikers; we live to ride and pray for those dry warmer days so we might sneak out on our bikes for a little ride. Well, the next best thing to that ride is a bike show, a place we can go where there will be other bikers, beautiful bikes, amazing stunt shows, and if you are really feeling the fever, a place to buy a new bike. Well, the St. Louis Motorcycle Show delivered. Heck, you could even buy a winter toy, or a toy hauler if you want to pack up and head someplace warm! Of course there were vendors on site for you to buy accessories and other needs for the riding season.
Upon walking into the show held inside The Dome at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis, the first thing that caught my eye was the sign that said “Antique Motorcycle Exhibition.” Having traveled with the Motorcycle Cannonball this past September, I have a newfound respect for these old beauties, so of course, that was the first thing I checked out. There were a wide variety of manufacturers represented, but the first thing that caught my eye was Frieze Harley-Davidson’s unrestored 1926 Harley-Davidson Model B. The most unusual thing on display was definitely Steve Clark’s 1975 Rupp Centaur, which is a 90-inch wheelbase trike that originally came out with a 340cc Kohler engine. Rumor has it that it is now powered by a CBR 900RR.
Several dealerships had bikes on display promoting sale prices on 2016 models so they could make room for those 2017’s. There was a large presence of UTV and ATV vehicles as well. One thing that stood out was St. Charles Harley-Davidson’s Speed Shop display, where they were installing a 114” Stage 3 kit on a customer’s 2017 Street Glide with the new Milwaukee-Eight 107” motor.
The Custom Bike Show was hampered a little by the weather; out of the original 28 pre-registered bikes, only 12 braved Friday’s weather to bring in their bikes for the weekend show. The trophies were handmade out of old Harley parts and were provided by Bourbeuse Valley Harley-Davidson of Villa Ridge, Missouri, and St. Louis Motorcycle Show promoter Joe Rusch added a cash prize for the bike voted Best of Show. Awards were handed out and Best Touring went to Morris Womack and his 2016 H-D Street Glide, Best Stock Frame went to Brian and Dawn Wagner for “Twisted Thoughts,” their 2006 Custom Rolling Thunder. Most Unusual went to G. Minor and his 2014 H-D Street Glide, and James Graham took home the Best Antique award with his 1978 H-D Low Rider and its Sugar Bear front end. Best Detailed went to Jan Kranobe’s “Moonshiner,” an ’09 H-D Road King. Mike Holder’s very cool 1965 Panhead Custom took home Best Chrome and Jason Hicks’ 2014 Just Hawgs Custom was awarded Best Paint. Best of Show went to Tommy Winderhalter and “Brass Tacks,” a beautiful 2017 H-D Softail Slim S.
St. Charles Harley-Davidson put on three seminars: “Sticking to the Road” which highlighted the importance of making the proper tire, brake and suspension selection for your personal needs, “Meet the New Milwaukee Eight” where they talked about the changes to the 2017 Harley-Davidson Touring models and even had a cylinder head on display that they passed around so you could see the changes, and was “Prepping for Your Ride” which went over the proper gear for your safety.
In true biker fashion the biggest crowd pleasers of the day were the stunt shows. I mean, who doesn’t love to see crazy people doing crazy tricks? I wandered over to the St. Louis Sprockets BMX show and saw Jake Wheeler of Wild Wheels Wall of Death. Jake traded in his Wall of Death Indian and went back to his roots, thrilling the crowd by doing back flips and other tricks over the box jump on his BMX bike with his buddies, Sprockets owner and founder Wayne Imboden, Flatland rider Mike Smick and Freestyle BMX rider Andy Seehausen. The St. Louis Sprockets performance drew in the crowd and was high energy, even after celebrating Jake’s birthday the night before! For the last trick of the show they pulled an unsuspecting young man out of the audience and as he stood on top of the box jump, Andy and Jake both jumped over him. During my interview, Andy mentioned something about Jake and roller blades. Sounds like a story for anther time, but if you see Jake out at the Wall of Death this summer, maybe you should ask!
Well, that’s not all the St. Louis Motorcycle Show had to offer for those of us who are thrill seekers. The Smage Brothers Riding Show did not disappoint. Smage Brothers Phil and Pat were contestants on America’s Got Talent and finished in the top five. They are two of the most talented trials stunt performers in the business. The object of trials is to maneuver around an obstacle course, and not put your feet down. The Smage Brothers showed the crowd just how far they can push their bikes. They jumped over people, jumped up onto the top of their ramp box without using the ramp, and even wheelied across a balance beam. The Smage Brothers definitely have talent and their performance is worth seeing.
For more information on next year’s St. Louis Motorcycle Show, be sure to check out their website at www.stlmotorcycleshow.com.