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Thunder Struck Xtreme Bike Show

It's mini-Sturgis time again in downtown Medford.

Time for the 14th annual Thunder Struck Custom Bikes Xtreme Bike Show and Street Party.

Time for a two-block length of Front Street to be taken over Saturday by hundreds of gleaming motorcycles, live music, beer garden, food and product vendors and a couple thousand people out for a day of schmoozing with the bikers. And, as usual, proceeds from the bike show benefit Boys & Girls Club of Jackson County.

Custom motorcycle builder Mark Daley, founder of Thunder Struck Custom Bikes in Medford, just returned from the real Sturgis last week, where his latest custom motorcycle, "Sniper," won second place in the world — that's right, the world — at the Official AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building competition at the 70th annual Sturgis Bike Week motorcycle rally in South Dakota. Custom bike builders from all over the globe enter this competition, says Daley.

Winners from the 2010 AMD European competition brought their bikes across the pond to Sturgis to compete with America's top builders. Two of the top three winners were European. First place in the anything-goes "freestyle" category went to Kruger Motorcycles of Belgium; Daley took second, and third went to Yuri Shif, of Belarus.

Daley says he hadn't planned on entering the contest at Sturgis, but his wife, Betsy, talked him into it. His was the last of 112 motorcycles to be entered.

In recent years, Daley has garnered some impressive wins at custom bike shows, including first place at the 2009 Artistry in Iron competition in Las Vegas. Saturday's bike show in Medford is his way of sharing the fun of competition with other motorcycle enthusiasts in the Rogue Valley.

Entry fee is $10 per bike, and trophies will be awarded in about a dozen categories, from full-blown customs to stock street bikes, "metric cruisers," which is bikerspeak for motorcycles made outside the United States, and just about every other category imaginable. Registration for the bike show begins at 11 a.m. The event takes place on Front Street between Habañeros and Porter's restaurants. Habañeros is a sponsor, along with KBOY radio and Lithia Motors.

It's a family event, so bring the kids.

All proceeds from the bike show, vendor fees, raffles, 50-50 drawing and other income go to Boys & Girls Club, which has been providing programs for kids in Southern Oregon for 40 years. Club branches are in Phoenix, Talent, White City and Shady Cove, as well as two locations in Grants Pass and Cave Junction. The group's after-school and summer activities, sports and outreach programs touched the lives of more than 6,000 young people last year. Find out more about Boys & Girls Club at www.begreat4kids.com

"I get the satisfaction of knowing that I'm helping provide a place for kids to go for the proper guidance and to gain the tools they'll need to help them along as young people," says Daley. Last year's bike show generated $12,000 for the organization.

The event's "street party" will feature live music by Lavender Blue, booths by D&S Harley-Davidson, an art booth where airbrushed "tattoos" are available, a shaved ice stand and even a guy who sells "Slap Yo' Mama BBQ Sauce."

Vehicular attractions aren't limited to the two-wheeled variety. Daley says a number of exotic and classic cars will be on hand for viewing.

Among the hundreds of bikes on display will be a pair of scooters familiar to aging film buffs. Exact replicas of the Captain America and Billy bikes made famous in the 1969 film "Easy Rider," built by Daley for two local customers, were at last year's show, too. But in the meantime, the bikes were featured in a series of television commercials for Microsoft's Bing.com search engine. You can see the commercials, and some of Daley's other creations, at his website, www.thunderstruckbikes.com.

His latest creation, "Sniper," is an otherworldly motorcycle. It has a machined, industrial look with an aircraft influence combined with exotic, sports-car styling. Built for the 2009 Artistry in Iron contest in Las Vegas, the bike follows no standard trend.

"I knew if I wanted to win that event, I'd have to think outside the box," says Daley. "I didn't want to follow any trend."

Fellow bike builder Brian Fuller, of Fuller Hot Rods in Atlanta, Ga., is host of the "Two Guys Garage" television show on the Speed Channel. At Sturgis, he told Daley, "Man, you didn't think outside the box. You blew the box up."

The Sniper, a custom-built bike by Mark Daley of Thunder Struck. - Photo by Jim Craven