Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Day with a Legend

© Michael Zoyes/Jay Allen
"When something goes wrong, I get back on," the famed motorcycle stuntman known as Indian Larry famously said. Bryan Lahr, director of the documentary My Day with Indian Larry, says that attitude is at the heart of his film about the famous motorcycle builder and stunt driver. "I was inspired by Larry's determination and comfort with which he approached these life threatening stunts; when he was on a bike, he was home," says Lahr.
When the footage for the film was shot, nobody knew the significance it would soon takeIndian Larry. Just weeks after shooting the day-in-the-life account, Indian Larry was killed in a tragic accident, performing the very same tricks he had done for the cameras, the very tricks that had made him famous.

Lahr explains that the documentary was intended to be a day-in-the-life interspersed with accounts about Indian Larry. When Indian Larry died, however, the story became more about what Larry stood for and the message he left behind.

Tricks of the Trade

Jay Allen, a longtime friend of Indian Larry's and owner of famous biker bar, The Broken Spoke Saloon, narrates the film. In the film, Jay spends the day with Indian Larry riding the wall of death - a circular wall about twenty feet high where stunt riders drive a go kart on the walls - riding their bikes along the open highway in Sturgis, South Dakota near famous Bear Butte Mountain.
See for Yourself
My Day with the Legend Indian Larry
Native Films Productions / Jay Allen Productions

Run Time: 34 minutes, 15 seconds
One of the film's highlights is its spellbinding footage of Indian Larry standing up and balancing on his bike (otherwise known as "surfing bikes") as it travels over sixty miles an hour down the open highway- shot by camerman and producer Michael Zoyes. The film also features slower moments - candid takes of Larry smiling talking with friends. It is here were you see the man as his friends knew him - a free-spirited, genuine lover of life.

A Deeper Side of the Biking Legend

The film is not all lighthearted. The second half of the short film features interviews with Indian Larry's riding partners following his death.
Big Chris, one of Indian Larry's longtime riding partners, spoke about Larry's signature symbol known as the question cross, an icon tattooed on Indian Larry's left arm and often found on his branded t-shirts and memorabilia. "The way Larry explained the question mark to me is, basically, what is life all about?" If the symbol was a constant reminder for Indian Larry of the depths of life's mysteries, it remains one for all of those who follow the work of the man who lived big and rode masterfully.

All or Nothing

You might say that Indian Larry died at peace because he died pushing himself to perform at his very best. Indian Larry died while performing his signature move - surf biking - when he collapsed from heat exhaustion.
In the film, Paul Cox, a fellow riding partner describes Indian Larry as someone who gave it all or nothing, possessing an insatiable hunger for being the best. "He had a need to feed." And it's that - that need to feed - that Lahr captures so beautifully in his short film about the legendary rider and bike builder.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2011 Lone Star Rally. 10 Years and Nearly a Half Million Strong.

In the US where everything is shrinking except the size of our national debt, the November 3-6 Lone Star Rally in Galveston Texas gathered a crowd close to half a million bikers. An outstanding attendance ranking the 4-day event the 3rd largest in the country, almost on par with the Sturgis and Daytona Rallies! At a time when so many rallies have disappeared or are producing dwindling attendance numbers since 2006, how is it possible that a weekend long rally only 10 years old attract so many enthusiasts? I asked to observers and happy participants and vendors why they think the Lone Star Rally is such a success.
First the city location, its warm and very pleasant temperatures at this time of the year, its very appealing downtown neighborhood of historic buildings known as The Strand, and a relatively young population (average age is 36) with a great sense of tourism and impeccable hospitality. But organizing a perfect rally pleasing both bikers, vendors and residents requires much more than this. A production team able to mirror the production of a blockbuster Broadway musical. `There are many moving parts to this well oiled machine called the Lone Star Rally and lots of details have to be taken care of to pull off such victorious event in a mere single weekend.
Concentrated mostly on the Strand, Harborside and Pier 21, it was a motorcycle-themed Mardi-Gras style party with beads tossed, smiling faces, laughter and dancing in the streets. What makes the Lone Star Rally so very unique is its celebratory nature rooted in both the rally producers’ goal to present a well rounded and entertaining event and the City of Galveston’s welcoming embrace. And this year again the event was well rounded with a treat for everyone. Television stars Tommy “Chibs” Flanagan and Ryan “Opie” Hurst signed autographs for eager fans lined up blocks to meet the Sons of Anarchy television characters. Michael Ballard and Angie of Full Throttle Saloon and TruTV show also greeted a steady stream of admirers. The bike builders’ lot showcased the edgy creations of Rick Fairless, the Martin Bros., Southern Metal Choppers and Bourget Bikes, among others, who were onsite to meet patrons. Fine artist, David Uhl, with illustrator, Danial James, set up an impressive Uhl Studio gallery of high end apparel and fine art at the D’Vine Wine courtyard on the Strand. Pinstriping artist Mark Brodie joined them. Yamaha and Can-Am held demo rides and Progressive Motorcycles created a carnival gaming area just off the Strand. A huge variety of quality merchandisers and food hawkers lined several streets throughout the rally. For the first time there was also  a Star Roundup bike show with over one hundred bike entrants with judging by motorcycle icons Rick Fairless, Jody and Dave Perewitz, and Paul Yaffe, including other experts. “Man, there were some 2 of 3 really bad ass bikes in the show. It was awesome and I’ll be back to judge it again next year,” said Rick Fairless.
Co-produced by Rick “Dakota” Kempf of Motorcycle Cowboys, enthusiasts packed Pier 21 to check out the coolest bikes of all makes and models, including sport bikes and radical backyard builds. “This was one of the best bike shows I’d ever judged. It was excellent. Very well organized and fun,” said judge Puppy, an independent bike builder and Sturgis rally character. Jay Allen, founder of the legendary Broken Spoke Saloon, was the consummate emcee for the rally. He entertained like a one man show hosting the bike show and events and then engaging as master of ceremony at two stages. Time lined to the minute, he dashed from events to stages sometimes arriving on his FXR race bike sponsored by S&S Cycles and Baker Drive Train and rocking a tire burn out to rousing ovation. At the pier stage, concert guests Allen and Jody Perewitz, daughter of celebrity bike builder Dave Perewitz and fastest woman on a V-Twin at the Bonneville Salt Flats, went head-to-head in a burnout, which served as a high octane welcome to the rock group Buck Cherry. The Geico Bike-Giveaway was comedy for the vast crowds when Allen dialed the winner’s home number live to announce the good fortune earned from a raffle pick, and the lady who answered kept hanging up thinking it was a prank call. G.J. Portida of the Dallas area was the lucky winner of a Harley-Davidson Fatboy. He was tracked down far from home lounging in his hotel after a long rally day.
What’s a rally without honoring the military and first responders? Organized by Carrie Rep of R&R Promotions, the Lone Star Rally Freedom Ride attracted several hundred riders. Participants were treated to a country rock concert by motorcycle enthusiast and musician, Jared Blake, finalist on NBC TV’s The Voice, at the Jagermeister stage. Proceeds from the ride benefited Soldiers Angels. Rally superstars Farrell Webber, Ryan Rolando, Big Engine and Jasmine Cain rocked the Budweiser and Jagermeister Stages all day into the night. Houston act Josh Fuller and Dirt & Diesel kept the crowds dancing all the way to the last minute of rally. Other local musicians that appeared were Dimitri’s Rail, Dun Ville, Staci’s Edge, Zach Tate and O.G.R.E., which stands for Older Guys Rocking Excessively and rock excessively they did.
Appropriate to the Lone Star theme, Kolby Gray, a rising country star from Nashville, floored the Strand crowds with an acoustic version of his song, “Texas.” The velvety voice twenty-one-year old also opened for Marshall Tucker and Fuel on Friday night, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Buck Cherry on Saturday at a concert on the pier, an event presented by another group, separate from the Lone Star Rally.
Motorcyclists of every race, creed and club came together to celebrate ten years of the Lone Star Rally and pay homage to the motorcycle lifestyle. “From the one percenters to the first timers, all were in harmony. Everyone was respectful to one another. It was righteous and I was very impressed,” added Allen, now in his third year as host of the rally and a veteran motorcycle event producer. Accommodating and gracious certainly described the disposition of both the police department and fire department at the Lone Star Rally. “The secret ingredient to a rally’s success is to embrace it and that is what the City of Galveston does,” said Allen.
The Lone Star Rally producers recently renewed their contract for several more years and will expand back to the Seawall for 2012, providing opportunity for large manufacturers and more vendors. “The City of Galveston, the police, the fire department, the council, the mayor, and all city workers involved to make this rally work as efficiently as possible, including the residents and local businesses, are to be thoroughly thanked and acknowledged. The incredible support of this wonderful city truly contributed to the unprecedented success of this year’s rally.” said Lone Star Rally co-owner and producer Melissa Penland. “Great people, great times. What an outstanding gathering for our island,” commented Galveston Police Chief, Henry Porretto. Lone Star Rally. (Images by Bart Alan and Carrie Repp)

Update About The Rolling Thunder 25th Anniversary Custom Build

Yesterday Monday January 30, 2012, Billy Lane received a pile of parts for the Rolling Thunder 25th Anniversary commemorative build.  Steve Broyles of The Horse Backstreet Choppers Magazine had his first meeting with Billy to go over what else is needed for the build of a lifetime.  The prison officials gave a tour to The Horse Mag, Rolling Thunder DC and Jay Allen, too, to see the facilities where the build will take place.  The S&S Knuckle motor and Baker transmission put a smile on Billy.
At the New York Motorcycle Show backstage, Dar Holdsworth proudly shared photos of the highly custom skins that will go onto his rolling and riding piece of artwork honoring the Navy.  Dar is also still in need of parts for his tribute build, so the mission is on to secure crucial components as this build is extremely near and dear to his heart.
Kiwi Mike says, “This is quite an honor to represent the US Coast Guard and even more so since I became a US citizen in 2009.  Since my expertise is Indian Motorcycles, I believe it to be appropriate that I build a tribute bike for the USCG, a 1945 WWII era Indian that I’ve had stashed away in boxes for many years for these fine Gentleman and Ladies. This is truly an honor.  And to do the US Coast Guard right, I will ride this bike from San Diego Calif to Boston Mass, from sea to shining sea.”  And word has it that Dar just might join him in that ride when Kiwi Mike hits Oklahoma.
I hear that Bourget Bike Works is eagerly working away on their secret build…we’ll try to get some info out of them soon!