David Mann Chopperfest – 2011

“More knuckleheads than you can shake a stick at.”

OK, I confess. For the past 7 years I haven’t made it out to the David Mann Chopperfest in Ventura. Something usually comes up, another event close by or some other lame excuse. This year we got our asses out of bed early and headed north on the 101 to get to the show.

Brrrr it was cold. We got to the park in time when the bike parking was only half-full. By the time we left in the afternoon there were bikes all over the damn place.

So we get to the show and we head into the first building we see. (Thinking it would be warmer inside. Wrong) It was the art gallery with a variety of David Mann prints on view. And in the back of the room, was some new work. I noticed it was familiar to me. Abstract expressionism painted with automotive paint on the backside of large glass panels. DAMN! John “Krylon John” Gilbert has his new works on view. John knew David Mann pretty well and was even mentioned in one of his paintings, and here he is showing at the event. Way-to-go!

The Bob Carrillo Band blasted some great blues out to the front lawn bike show. Down the alley in the corners were the vendors, swap meet, and other displays. In another building was a Roller Derby demo! Woooo Hoooo! You know how we likes our Roller Derby. The ladies of Sugar Town Roller Girls tore up the banked track. Apparently the only banked track in Ventura County. The bike show had a menagerie of vintage knuckles, pans, shovels and evos a smathering of trumpets and even a modern chop or two. I prefer the short springer bobbers myself. There were several long bikes with Sugar Bear front ends.

We met up with Joel and Mary from Vintage Klass. They sell vintage helmets, leathers, and accessories. You’ve probably seen them around if you are in So Cal. Great people and I couldn’t resist the offer on a pair of vintage gas cans and a Raybestos brake fluid can. I kinda felt like Frank from American Pickers. By the end of the day the festival was packed and we forced our way through the crowd with our goodies in hand.

If you’ve never been to the Chopperfest before, get there. Do whatever it takes. Ride on the back of your buddies scooter if you have to, but get there. Now we have six months to go before the next vintage bike event BORN FREE 4!