Tag Archives: Harley-Davidson

Kody McNew of VooDoo Bikeworks.

TV Series Spotlights Phoenix Custom Motorcycle Industry

Arizonans love their motorcycles. With a total of six Harley-Davidson dealerships in the greater Phoenix area, it is clear to see the brand of choice for many local riders. A subsidiary of this thriving commerce is the world of customizing these magnificent machines. Many of the country’s top bike builders reside in the Valley of the Sun. These creative geniuses are as colorful as they are talented, making them ideal characters for a reality TV show. On July 1st, the History Channel premiered “Biker Battleground Phoenix”, a series that chronicles the competitive, cutthroat relationships between the Valley’s top custom shops. Paul Yaffe of Bagger Nation, John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts, Brian Jenkins of Hatred Customs, Len Edmondson of Azzkiker Customs and Kody McNew of VooDoo Bikeworks are the five builders featured on Biker Battleground Phoenix. These gentlemen are more than willing to provide plenty of fodder for the drama hungry cameras. From good natured smack talking, to intense altercations, the show offers a fascinating peek into the trials and tribulations of staying on top of a market that is as trendy as the fashion trade.

The current focus of the show is on the race to get ready for the largest motorcycle rally in the Southwest, Arizona Bike Week. This week’s episode featured Brian working feverishly from his garage/shop to get a bike completed in time to compete in the rally’s “Baddest Bagger in Arizona” bike show. Kody announced his plans to attempt an unprecedented “72 hour build” in his vendor booth at WestWorld, during Arizona Bike Week. Paul, considered to be one of the founding fathers of the custom bagger craze, is intent on getting his new concept, the SRT, ready to unveil onstage before the Big and Rich concert, Thursday night at the rally.

Arizona Bike Week 2014 was held at WestWorld in Scottsdale, April 2-6 and is unarguably one of the fastest growing rallies in the country. With attendance up 25% at ABW this year, it’s very apparent why these gentlemen are so eager to showcase their latest and greatest works of art to the massive gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts the event draws from all across the nation. Even if you attended ABW 2014 and already know the outcome of the upcoming episodes, you won’t want to miss seeing the behind the scenes process that got each of these creations to the ABW main stage.
It’s easy to surmise what makes Arizona such a motorcycle mecca. Supreme riding conditions most months of the year, coupled with virtuously limitless scenic terrain, make it ideal for two-wheel exploring. The economic impact of this tourism focused industry is not lost on our state legislators. You may recall that the state of Arizona gave a nod to the local motorcycle community in 2012, when they commissioned Paul Yaffe to build the official mascot of the state centennial celebration, the “Copper Chopper”. The centennial parade was an organized motorcycle ride consisting of a reported 5,000 bikes, led by the Copper Chopper and ridden by its creator. This should certainly serve as confirmation that Arizona is truly a biker-friendly state.

Tune in to the History Channel Tuesday nights to see Biker Battleground Phoenix or you can attend one of the weekly viewing parties and meet some of the show’s stars at such local biker favorite watering holes as the Dirty Dogg Saloon, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row and the Hideaway Grill. Early reports indicate rapidly rising ratings for this new show and there are already rumors of a second season.

John_White UPDATED2013

Universal Technical Institute Chairman White to Retire

After 37 years of service, John White is retiring this December as the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) executive chairman. White will continue to serve as a member of UTI’s board of directors. White retires as the most tenured employee in the company having played a critical role in the history and success of UTI, along with the advancement of technical education overall.

White began changing the world for thousands of future technicians when he acquired Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) in 1977; the school had just one building, a handful of students and two instructors.

In the early 1980s, White’s vision guided him to launching a first-of-its-kind training partnership with Harley-Davidson USA. This partnership set the stage for a successful strategy working closely with leading motorcycle manufacturers. Soon after Harley-Davidson, relationships with Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda were also formed, driving the creation and delivery of industry-driven education that best prepares technicians to enter the workforce.

Over the years, MMI became the premier brand and undisputed leader in technician training for the motorcycle and marine industries.  White’s visionary leadership and ability to see the value in partnering with some of the world’s leading manufacturers, as a way to help both students and employers, was revolutionary then and has continued to be the core of UTI’s brand and strategic positioning nearly 40 years later.

In 1997, when MMI and UTI merged, White assumed the role of chief strategic planning officer, in addition to serving on UTI’s Board as vice-chair and co-chair, before becoming executive chairman in 2005. During this time, with UTI’s merger completed, White began thinking of ways to build upon the successful strategy he had launched at MMI and how UTI could do the same with automotive and diesel OEM’s.

Today, it is no coincidence that UTI partners with more than 30 leading manufacturers with their newest partner being General Motors Co.

Before White announced his retirement plans, he made sure that the new partnership he spearheaded with GM became a reality, as UTI has formalized an agreement with GM to develop a 12-week elective training program for UTI students. The program will first be available at UTI’s Avondale campus.

With more than 30 industry-leading brands now associated with UTI, MMI and NASCAR Tech, White’s legacy will continue to positively influence the company and benefit thousands of students and employers across the country for many more years to come.

White has been a generous supporter of the UTI Foundation and a number of other charities, such as the American Red Cross and Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. He and his wife reside in Pinnacle Peak.

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GoDaddy Founder Hosts Bob’s Biker Blast

Bob Parsons might be known as the spirited founder of GoDaddy and one of the most prolific big party throwers in Arizona history, but in just one month the Valley will see a whole new side of Parsons when he kicks off one of his biggest biker events yet. Thousands are expected to attend.

The 1st Annual Bob’s Biker Blast will be held on October 20, 2012 at Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale and Go AZ Motorcycles from 10 a.m. to midnight. Parsons, who acquired both dealerships several years ago, has grown the business and is now giving back to the motorcycle community.

The all-day event will feature the grand-opening of Go AZ Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale Training Facility, including public demonstrations of the first ever commercial application of a motorcycle simulator that was originally developed for the United States Military. Feel what it’s like to go at top speed and make hair pin turns, all within the safety of the motorcycle simulator.

“If you have never ridden a motorcycle before, this is your chance to get a really good idea of what it’s like without actually getting on a moving bike,” said Bob Parsons. “You won’t find a motorcycle simulator like this outside of a few military bases. We own the first commercial simulator and now we’re even hearing from private agencies who want to use it.”

The day-long event includes live music, food and activities at the dealerships as well as a special appearance by Tommy Flanagan, “Chibs” from Sons of Anarchy, from Noon to 7 p.m.  Concert gates open at 4 p.m. featuring a Fear No Ice Thrill Show followed by a concert by rock legends 38 Special and George Thorogood.

Free admission to all riders with a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license.  Endorsement is good for the rider plus one passenger.  There will be a $20 fee for all non-riders with 100% of that being donated to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Bob’s Biker Blast is located at the Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale and Go AZ Motorcycles dealerships just off Frank Lloyd Wright & the 101 at 15500 N. Hayden Road in Scottsdale, Arizona.  For more information call 480-905-1903 or visit us online at http://www.hdofscottsdale.com/ or http://www.goaz.com/index.htm.