Born Free will forever be the mecca of all shows in the United States when it comes to vintage and custom motorcycles. I cheated this year and flew out but it gave me 4 great days of fun! This was my second year attending, I knew a little more about what to expect but I still couldn't get rid of that overwhelming feeling you get while walking the grounds during the days of the show. It's just so surreal to walk through a sea of bikes with license plates ranging from all over the world. I felt a little more at home this year though and pretty much knew where everything was located for the most part. I was lucky enough to get inside a couple days ahead of the show to check out most of the invited builder's bikes. Also, I was able to witness the show set up and tear down; there is a lot that goes into making this show what it is. A huge THANK YOU to Mike Davis and Grant Peterson for all their hard work each and every year, their hospitality and their friendship.
Thursday 6.25.2015 - Street Chopper Pre Party
-Mike Vallely and Revolution Mother played the party as well! I geeked out a little, because skateboarding has been my whole life before motorcycles! They even ended their set with a few of my favorite Black Flag songs!!! It was an over-all awesome party!!
Friday 06.26.2015 - Set Up Day at Born Free 7 & Cooks Corner Pre Party / Show Class People's Champ
At Cooks Corner:
Saturday 06.27.2015 - Born Free 7, Day 1
First Day Awards:
JP Rodman won Show Class People's Champ with this amazing and art inspired Shovelhead. I watched this build for months on social media, words can't describe how happy I was to see him win!
Richard Minino won the Art & Fuel Paint contest with an amazing paint, mold combo. Super glad to see him win. He's an amazing artist and great friend!
The invited builders waited anxiously to hear who would win 1st place.
Dalton Walker took third place with his free hanging Panhead hybrid digger. That bike was absolutely insane, a masterpiece really, and one of my favorite bikes there. It made jaws drop all weekend long.
Arie VanSchyndel took second place with his rendition of a 1950 Panhead he saw in a David Mann painting. It was pretty amazing and the details where flawless from the painting.
Oliver Jones took the top prize with his 107 Cubic Inch Generator Shovelhead. It's one hell of a lane-splitting, high-stance, aggressive, and extremely innovative machine. Not to forget to mention the see-through primary, head, and trans cases, carbon fiber in the paint, and killer one-off wheels you can't find anywhere else. Oliver is a friend of mine and when he won I couldn't have been more stoked to see his face filled with emotion. Seeing his hard work being recognized by his fellow peers was inspiration to everyone. Well-deserved!!!!
They raffled off not one, but three bikes on the first day this year. They gave two H-D Lowriders to one very lucky person and a Pabst Evo Sportster by Speed Merchant to another lucky show attendee!
Sunday 06.28.2015 - Born Free 7, Day 2
On day two, I shot all the bikes of the invited builders. Looking at these photos makes me feel right back in the moment, just not as sweaty!
Oliver Jones - 107 Cubic Inch Generator Shovelhead
Arie Vanschyndel - 1950 Harley Panhead inspired by a David Mann painting
Dalton Walker - "Well Hung Harley" Hybrid of a '64 Right case, Bonneville Left Case, Dual Plug, Dual Carb outside oiler 96" Panhead
Jeff Leighton - 1950 Triumph 650 Pre Unit T110
Go Takamine - Indian "Chout" - '27 Scout / '40 Chief
Jason Moss and Carmine Belamore - Harley XR Pan
Scott Stopnik Sr. - 1949 Harley FL Panhead
Jeff Wright - 1976 Kawasaki KZ 900
Jason Webber - 1951 Harley Panhead
Kyle Edgar - 1946 Harley UL
Jordan Dickinson - 1947 Harley EL Knucklehead
Shawn Long - 1947 Harley Knucklehead
Trevelen Rabanal - Harley Shovelhead
Bobby "The Leg" Middleton - 1963 Harley "Shovester" with a gnarly Super Charger
Hunter Klee - 2004 Buel XB
Paul Cox - 1946 Harley Fl Knucklehead
Big Nick Zazzi - 1951 Harley Pan/Shovel
Matt Jackson - Harley 74 Cubic Inch S&S Knucklehead
Jon Rispante - 1957 Triumph TR6
Jp Rodman - 1977 Harley Shovelhead - "Show Class People's Champ"
Uwe Ehinger - 1937 Harley UL Knucklehead
Mick Evangelista - 1956 Harley Pan/Shovel
Roland Sands - 1974 Yamaha RD400
Day 2 Awards:
Best Paint - Duane Boatrip, "Haints" - 1960 Panhead
Best Competition - Mark Atkins
Best Knucklehead - Arlen Ness - "Untouchable"
Born-Free Founders Pick - Arie VanSchyndel
Best Panhead - Dalton Walker
Best Indian - Go Takamine
Best Pre Unit Triumph - Jeff Leighton
Best Japanese - Jeff Wright
People's Choice - Jason Webber
Born-Free Award - Elliot Grosshans - Panhead
Best Bobber - Nick Toscano - Harley UL in VL frame
Best Chopper - Thom Jones - Full Rigid Panhead
Best British - Matt Machine - Norton
Best Flathead - Uwe Ehinger - Harley UL
Best Sportster - Brandon Holstein
Best Shovelhead - Johnny Branch
Best Modern - Andy Carter - Hot Bike Sportster build
Best in Show - Ryan Grossman - "Quicksilver"
Rider Award - Peter Jackson - Panhead
AMCA Award - Larry Doane - Big Inch VL
The entire day was extremely fun, laid back and just a little on the warm side. I couldn't have had a better time anywhere else. If you have never been to a Born Free show, I highly suggest to make plans to attend in the near future. I promise it will bring memories for a lifetime! Till next year! Cheers!
-All words and photos by