Springfield Motorcycle Show, January 22nd, 2011

SMC 012211 006Saturday January 22nd saw Kathy and I shake off the winter blues, give snow shoveling a break and head north to the Springfield Motorcycle Show held at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, MA. After checking in at the media office, we entered the hall and Kathy’s first experience at a bike show began.

Straight away we ran into fellow CT Cruise News photographer Dexter Balyeat. Dex is also the Special Events Co-ordinator with Haymond Law and had the enviable job of staffing their booth with Amanda Gosselin and the rest of the Haymond Law girls. While we were there, Dex introduced us to show organizer Doug Sousa. Doug told us that he was extremely pleased with the attendance. He was even happier when we told him about the 100+ yard line of show visitors waiting patiently to buy tickets.

We then set off in search of our good friend Gary Lambert from NorthEast Cycle Shop in Windsor Locks. As we searched for Gary, Kathy set up a photo op with the members of the Unchained MC out of Connecticut and Vermont. What a great set of guys, they couldn’t have been more helpful and obliging. We even interrupted setting up the shots so that John Haymond could come over and say hello. What impressed Kathy most about the guys from Unchained was the way they thanked and greeted the veterans in attendance.

Moving into the second building, we soon found the NE Cycles area. In the days leading up to the show, Gary had contacted us to commission some images, because his turbo Suzuki Hayabusa was now repainted and named after the Batman movie ‘The Dark Knight’. Actually seeing the bike wasn’t so easy. The crowds were three and four deep around it. The owners of the other two bikes on the stand, Lawrence and Mike, told me that it had been like this since the show began the previous evening. The new paint, applied by Jay Skorupski from XSPaint Airbrush Studio in Wallingford, CT, is simply amazing. Attention-grabbing images of Batman, Two Face and the late Heath Ledger as The Joker adorn every panel. I managed to take the shots Gary needed without stepping on too many toes and decided to call back later to see if the crowd had died down and get a few shots of Gary with the bike.

Moving on, we admired yet more amazing artwork, this time from Joe of Joe V Designs. Joe had a range of airbrushed crash helmets that were simply superb. We also met Mark from Toce Performance, out of South Windsor, CT. Toce specialize in custom exhausts and wide-tire kits for late model sports bikes and the workmanship is excellent. The company had a selection of bikes on display, including Mark’s race-replica Suzuki.

As we browsed the rows of bikes and picked up some good deals on T-shirts, we chatted with Eileen Barthell, The Slipper Lady. Eileen specializes in professional leather repair and alterations, custom clothing and footwear. She also sews motorcycle patches on leathers and has 25 years experience working with leather. I got a few shots of Eileen operating her Singer sewing machine. One of these images now graces the home page of her website.

The special guests at the show were TV celebrities Mikey Teutel, Vinny DiMartino and Cody Connely from ‘American Chopper’. Mikey was displaying his original paintings and artwork, while Vinny and Cody were also promoting their bike-building company V Force Customs.

Returning to Gary and The Dark Knight, things were a little quieter so I took some shots of the bike with its proud owner and finalized our business arrangements. On Monday, we discovered that The Dark Knight won the “Best Of Show – Radical” award, a great result on its debut.

As we drove home, Kathy and I reflected on the day and what a great trip it had been. Kathy’s first bike-show experience was very positive. She had a great time (must have been all the leather-clad men!) and was looking forward to visiting another bike show very soon.

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