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.