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Mama Tried Show 2024

10 Years in the Making

By Johnny White
3/1/2024


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The Crowd on Saturday was crazy. I was with "my people"...motorcycle enthusiasts who've been trapped by winter far too long.
The Crowd on Saturday was crazy. I was with "my people"...motorcycle enthusiasts who've been trapped by winter far too long.

 

The Mama Tried Show is an extravaganza that I’ve been jonesing to visit for a few years now. I took the following from their website at mamatriedshow.com:

 

The Mama Tried Motorcycle Show is an indoor invitational that connects motorcycles and builders to fans and riders alike. Keeping the fire stoked all winter long. The show features over 100 motorcycles from builders of all calibers--flat-trackers, hill climber, chopper, and bar hopper.

This show was their 10th anniversary and is put on by Harley-Davidson. Harley goes’ all in on the show and I am sure has many of their scouts looking at what the trends are as usual. To me, one of the coolest traditions continued this year was the fact H-D picking up the tab on active-duty servicemen and women as well as veterans, giving them a free pass to the show. Thanks H-D, classy move. Saved me 15 bucks which I honestly wouldn’t have blinked an eye to pay considering the excitement I felt headed to this one.

 

I haven’t had the opportunity to visit many shows since moving to Illinois from Texas a couple of years ago but was determined this year to make a few shows.

  
 
This years show took place February 24-25th at The Rave/ Eagles Club in downtown Milwaukee. It’s not too difficult to find as it’s basically a street over from the freeway, maybe two. I woke up early that Saturday morning and layered up the best I could as the drive up from West of Chicago takes just under 2 hrs to get to Milwaukee. As The bike was warming up, and I finished a hot cup of coffee, I couldn’t help but already feel the sting of the cold air.
 
Blue with gold flames, and bass boat style flake
Blue with gold flames, and bass boat style flake


 

“You really think it’s a smart idea to ride that thing? Why not just take the truck or your Jeep,” my wife asked? The look on her face and her sweet demeaner just sharpened my resolve to get on the road. Between work, marriage, and basically life always throwing headaches my way I need something to numb my mind for a bit. This show would do it.

My tired Roadglide-75K miles and counting. The weather that morning was 19 degrees, so I bundled up and left early to ensure i had plenty of time for breaks. I needed them....riding in this was not awesome.
My tired Roadglide-75K miles and counting. The weather that morning was 19 degrees, so I bundled up and left early to ensure i had plenty of time for breaks. I needed them....riding in this was not awesome.

The thermometer in my garage read 45 degrees, but that’s indoors. Once outside the bike’s thermometer read 19 degrees and never got over 25 that day. One good thing about riding a full tourer, is you can hide behind the fairing and go much further than on a naked bike for sure. I do not have heated grips or heated gear, so I planned to take frequent breaks along the way to thaw out.

The ride took me almost 3 hours each way because of the weather. While the Twinkie’s 103 High Output motor rumbled through my Bassani 2 into 1 pipe, I hit a stretch on the highway where I didn’t have a radio playing and was just enjoying that Milwaukee -bred engine singing along the route. The colder air makes that Twin Cam run so well, It just feels stronger and more responsive to the throttle.

 People would pass me and look at me like I was nuts, which I guess I am at times. My fingers hurt the most, and by the time I finally arrived in Milwaukee my toes and feet had become almost numb. I concentrated so hard on watching for ice along the way, I was ready for a nap by the time I crossed that state line for sure.

Entrance sign outside...people were lined up around the corner to get in to the show.
Entrance sign outside...people were lined up around the corner to get in to the show.

Once I arrived at the venue, the parking attendants were charging 20 bucks to park in the lots across from the venue. I got lucky though, as I made a lap around the block, and someone waved me into the gates and let me park near the vendor trailers inside the gated venue. I guess they figured since I rode, I deserved a break. I was amazed and it also eased my mind as I didn’t really want to park the bike too far from the venue in a sea of vehicles.

Man, I bought more tickets than I should have but to own this bike would've been killer. It has the best of everything.
Man, I bought more tickets than I should have but to own this bike would've been killer. It has the best of everything.

Once inside, the lighting is dark, and the venue is set up like a maze. As you wander from floor to floor, it’s almost hard to tell where the vendors stop and the show begins. You start seeing displays of choppers rollers, art displays, knives, parts, clothing, you name it. Once you make it to the show area, the ceiling opens up to a cathedral style ballroom and there in a sea of onlookers is the line up of bikes. The balconies are full of fans, builders, VIP stands, and there’s food and concessions on every level. It wasn’t long before I had a knife, a new chopper seat, and a Busch light in my hand. Like I said, this was my kind of place.

One of many Sportster customs... the lighting inside the venue made catching details difficult but added a hue to each shot that enhances it's essence.
One of many Sportster customs... the lighting inside the venue made catching details difficult but added a hue to each shot that enhances it's essence.

Another angle of the tuning nightmare
Another angle of the tuning nightmare

I called this the "Tuning Nightmare"
I called this the "Tuning Nightmare"

This bike had speakers, turbo, paint, all performance with audio to match. Pictures did not do this bike justice at all.
This bike had speakers, turbo, paint, all performance with audio to match. Pictures did not do this bike justice at all.

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