“I’m 50 years old and have never bought a new motorcycle,” says Scott Johnson co-creator of the growing Mama Tried Motorcycle Show. “For $2,500 you can go get a used Sportster, chop it up, and go race it. To me, that’s what’s really exciting. We’re into really great workmanship, custom race bikes, and choppers.”
That passion for craft, racing, and choppers, mixed with a heavy dose of Midwest modesty, came together during the three-day show in Milwaukee to record-setting crowds. The weekend began at Flat Out Friday, where 10,000 fans came to watch 250 registered racers go fast and turn left on a indoor, Dr. Pepper-covered, flat track.
Sales might be down for the motorcycle industry, but enthusiasm appears to be up and growing. Flat Out Friday had over 60 percent more attendees this year. That interest carried over into Saturday to the Mama Tried Motorcycle Show, now in its fourth year. More than 8,000 visitors lined up down the block, some waiting two hours, to see a curated group of meticulously crafted custom bikes. Chris Urban, the Global Events Lead for Harley-Davidson (the weekend’s lead sponsor and hometown host), attributes the interest to the fact the event gets back to motorcycling roots.