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FANDANGO 2021

At Last Brothers Have a Texas Antique Meet

by Bandit with photos from Wes and the gang
5/10/2021


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A couple of years ago the growing membership of the Cherokee Chapter of the AMCA (Antique Motorcycle Club of America) in central Texas made a monumental decision. The antique motorcycle group wanted to establish a major antique motorcycle event closer to the center of the country. Davenport, Iowa, Daytona, Florida and Wauseon, Ohio were like a thousand miles away.





The decision was made to institute a serious antique motorcycle event in Texas, not historically a motorcycle state, but don’t tell the Bandidos that. They looked hard at the Dallas area for proximity, but ultimately the town of Fredericksburg. It shined for several reasons, located just 70 miles from Austin and San Antonio in an area blessed with beautiful open roads and terrific destinations such as Lukenbock, Texas where Willie and the boys play (just six miles away).



Steve Klein with the last Crocker motorcycle built. I believe it's still for sale.
Steve Klein with the last Crocker motorcycle built. I believe it's still for sale.



Here’s where they could have stumbled into a briar patch of thorns. Fredericksburg is of German heritage, and celebrates Pioneering, ranching, rodeos, oil, cattle, the old west but not motorcycles. The town thrived on tourism and contained breweries, distilleries, and wineries. So persuasive Greg McFarland the president of the Cherokee Chapter of the AMCA met with the city and the fairgrounds officials and miraculously they were all for this event.





“The fairgrounds are larger than the Davenport location and a bit smaller than Wauseon, Ohio fairgrounds,” said Steve Klein, of the Gillespie County Fairgrounds, the first facility to host a fair in Texas in 1881. Officially established in 1888, 133 years ago, they are the oldest continuously operating Fairgrounds in Texas. “It sported 133 years of horse racing until three years ago. Now we race motorcycles.”





Greg McFarland, the current president of the chapter came up with the name Fandango and it stuck. Fandango (noun) means, “a foolish or useless act or thing” Tomfoolery. Greg and Steve developed a successful formula for the event, much like the infamous Smoke-Out: Action all the time and something for everyone.





The Fandango fairgrounds rocked with motorcycle action, interactive play, education, races and shows. The first year 2019, a national AMCA antique motorcycle ride ended at the Fairgrounds. This year Oliver Peck of Inkmasters TV series hosted the Chopper Coral with over 100 choppers on display along with Chopper related vendors and a bandstand.





The town stepped up this year after the Covid canceled 2020 and built an official ½ mile flat track. The old horse track contained over 6 inches of surface sand, which had to be moved to form a rideable track.

This kid asked if this Harley single could run. Steve poured in a pint of gas, kicked it and it came to life in front of an excited crowd.
This kid asked if this Harley single could run. Steve poured in a pint of gas, kicked it and it came to life in front of an excited crowd.





Cycle Source Magazine sponsored an indoor show. Over 116 motorcycles were on display of ever vintage and make including: American, Italian, German, Asian, Vincents, H-D, Indian, Excelsior Henderson, BMW, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, street bikes, vintage, trails, enduro and motocross were represented.

Lotsa RV camping available.
Lotsa RV camping available.






The RV park at the facility was packed and brothers and sisters formed tents with their highbar choppers and slept on the grounds. “Tent camping looked like Woodstock with choppers, VW vans, and vintage vans with shag carpet interiors,” said Steve. “Young bikers slept on Indian blankets next to their choppers. Young ladies in halter tops and striped bell bottoms were everywhere. It was a throwback to the ‘60s.”





One of the major Fandango goals was to make it new- enthusiast friendly. “We wanted to develop a larger, younger membership in their 20s and 30s. Our existing membership average age is 62,” said Steve. They were proud to host over 600 spectators who were from their teens to early 30s.







“They dug the choppers and young enthusiasts couldn’t get enough of their swap meet and mini-bike races.” After being locked down for 18 months and with no sources for vintage parts the demand was high for action and resources.







They hosted 200 Vintage vendors who bought 262 vending spots. “No modern shit or non-motorcycle shit,” Steve pointed out. All the existing vendors have already signed on for 2022. “This is an old-fashioned motorcycle event that is low key and enjoyable.”







Attendance surpassed 5,000 and the action never stopped with chopper dirt drags and mini-bike races, contests and pinstriping demonstrations. The fairground grandstands held 1,700 folks and the Chopper Drags drew a crowd. The XTREME Flat Track National Organization organized the flat track race to be the second of the national circuit after Daytona Bike Week.







“If you want to dodge the crowd for a minute,” Steve added. “The best riding in the entire state of Texas is right here.” Next year they plan for more tent camping with showers, better signage, improved trash services, etc. “We want everyone to have a great time all the time.”







Steve is getting ready for the mini-bike races next year.
Steve is getting ready for the mini-bike races next year.



--Bandit
 
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