Brace yourselves for the roar of a few hundred Harleys, gleaming custom and vintage motor-cycles, live music and lots of family activities this Saturday, Aug. 18, on Front Street in downtown Medford.
You guessed it, it's time once again for Thunderstruck Custom Bikes' Xtreme Bike Show and Street Party. Proceeds from the bike-show entry fees — as they have for the past 15 years — go to support Boys & Girls Clubs of Jackson County. And that support is needed more than ever.
What: Xtreme Bike Show and Street Party
When: 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18
Where: Front Street (between Habaneros and Porters restaurants) in Medford
The Boys & Girls Clubs organization plans to close its White City site to keep the Talent club going. The Talent club, open to kids from Medford, Phoenix and Talent, has been supporting the White City site, but can't do so any longer without jeopardizing its own operation, says Renee Ludwig, special-events marketing director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Jackson County. About 160 to 180 children in the White City area will no longer have a place to go after school for a meal and club activities. About 500 children are served by the Jackson County clubs.
Mark Daley, head wrench and founder of Thunderstruck Custom Bikes, says his bike show raised $14,600 last year for Boys & Girls Clubs, and he hopes it will surpass that amount this year. Profits from the 2012 bike show aren't likely to reopen the White City club, but it will help support the Talent club. Ludwig says the national Boys & Girls Clubs organization won't allow local clubs to increase the fees families pay to enroll their kids, so any additional fundraising has to come from the community. The bike show, she says, is an "amazing" help to the clubs.
"We enjoy it. It's extremely fun. it's one of the better events we have, with great people involved. We feel so blessed that Mark and Betsy (Daley) chose us to be the beneficiaries of this event."
Private donations are usually low at this time of the year, she adds. "So this is a great fundraiser for us."
Motorcyclists who want to enter the bike show to win trophies can register their bikes beginning at 11 a.m. on Front Street between Habaneros and Porters restaurants.
Whether the bikes are full-blown customs or stock street bikes, vintage cycles or foreign-built rides, choppers or baggers, there are trophies for every category. The judging will take place from 1 to 3 p.m., and trophies will be awarded at 3:30 p.m.
While that's going on, visitors can enjoy live music by The Blues Society from noon to about 3 p.m., a beer garden, food vendors, booths featuring jewelry, clothing and a host of other merchandise. There will be a 50/50 drawing for the adults and stuff for the kids, such as a man who carves wooden bears with a chainsaw.
In addition to riders' entries, Daley will have some of his own world-class, custom motorcycles displayed. This year's featured bike is called "The Kraken," named for the mythical sea monster in Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. The bike's radical paint theme — by airbrush artist Jeremiah Thiring of Thiring Designs — resembles tattoos with oceanic themes. The gas tank features a mermaid wrapped in the Kraken's tentacles. The bike, owned by Robb Hebble, owner of Trans-NRG in Medford, will be entered in this year's "Artistry in Iron" invitational motorcycle competition in Las Vegas.
Daley won first place at the Artistry in Iron competition in 2009 with another bike. And in 2010, he finished second in the AMD World Championship of Bike Building at the Sturgis, N.D., motorcycle rally. Daley's bike "Sniper" came in second to a bike from Belgium, to give Daley the honor that year of having built the second-best custom motorcycle in the world.
Also on Saturday, there will be hot rods by Tommy Carr of Carr's Auto Body, older bikes from Vintage Motorcycles of Medford and new Harleys from D&S Harley-Davidson in Phoenix.
Daley says the annual bike show is a group effort, starting with his wife, Betsy, doing most of the organizational and publicity chores associated with holding an event of this kind, and including his main sponsors: radio station KBOY, Trans-NGR, Star Towing, Minute Markets, 123 Stickers.com, Budweiser and Lithia Motors.
"I want to thank all my sponsors down the years who have supported our cause, even through tough times, to help me do this," Daley says. "I can't do this by myself; it takes a lot of people to make it happen."