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MAMA'S GOT IT

When roundabout one hundred first rate builders are coming to dance, it must be Mama who called. The Milwaukee, Ill., Eagles Club Ballroom was crammed with visitors swirling around the beautiful bikes, that had been parked on the dance floor. Good for us to have shown up early, ’cos to get a clear view of the bikes and their often marvellous details was somewhat difficult later in the morning. There was excellent inspiration for that next wrenching session to be found, no matter what style. The ballroom was a temporary cross-section of the world’s customizing history, from the almost-as-found ratty Knuckle bobber to the glam-and-glitter chopper, from the 70s racer with Japanese genes (fully faired) to the 1903 French bicycle with an early auxiliary motor.

Yeah, sure, there was a slight bias towards

the famous Milwaukee V-twin brand, but no wonder: the factory museum is just a few blocks away from the ballroom.

This very museum was one of the many party locations spread around town from Thursday, where the wrenching community congregated time and again. It all started with the pre-pre-party at the Fuel Café in downtown Milwaukee. From there the party tsunami flowed to the Harley Museum’s Motor Bar bike night, where WILD THE COYOTE & THE BADD WOLF BIO let rip their Country Hip Hop crossover. In many gasoline fueled conversations people got in the groove for next day, which was Flat Out Friday. Wild action, indoor flat track racing, demented bikes, tough pro riders, not a quiet moment all day. From 9 pm the pace slowed thankfully in the Turner Ballroom, where the mandatory pre-party was taking off. Beer bottles were seen dancing on the tables, while dudes tried to focus their conversations on nuts, bolts, washers and all the rest.

Saturday at 10 it was show time at last, but at 12 doors had to (temporarily) close again. The venue filled to capacity, entry was possible only when someone else left. Which sometimes meant a long wait. No wonder, to see and appreciate all the bikes took hours. And, spread over three floors there were about a hundred vendors’ stalls, a cinema showing rare bike related movies: THE LEATHER BOYS, UK, 1964, OUT OF NOTHING, USA 2014, HOGSLAYER, USA 2003 und SUGAR AND SPADE, USA 2016.

So no problem to spend the whole

day in the Eagles Club, until from 9 pm six bands powered up their amps for the After Show Party, making people swivel their hips and drink the beer fantastic.

Next day, Slippery Sunday was supposed to clear the foggy heads of late night excesses. Last year this ice track race event was a major highlight of the weekend, but not this time. The lakes were not sufficiently frozen, so we all went back in to the Mama Tried Show and had our eyeballs dance once more over the bikes. Who knows, when we’ll be seeing grade A stuff like that again.

*funny name that for a bike show, MAMA TRIED. Rumour has it that there’s an old Merle Haggard song called „Mama tried“, about a boy who failed his mom badly. His takeaway was: „Mama tried to raise me better …“ We leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.