Rat’s Hole Ride-In Bike Show and Black Hills Bagger Showdown Sturgis 2017
For 29 years the Rat’s Hole Custom Bike and Chopper Show has showcased some of the most extraordinary motorcycles in Sturgis. The 2017 contest was no exception as customs began filling the expansive lot of the Buffalo Chip’s CrossRoads early for a crack at “Best of Show” honors at the 29th annual Sturgis show. This year the ante was upped as the overall winner would also receive a six day, all-expenses paid trip to Zurich, Switzerland, to attend the Swiss-Custom Customizing and Tuning Show. Defeating contenders in 15 classes would be no small feat as the hotly contested Extreme Full Dresser Class brought out a strong contingency of competitors while the Three Wheeler Class also saw a robust showing.
“We had a great show and want to thank everyone one that came out and participated. Special thanks to Biker Bob for entertaining the crowd with his knowledge of motorcycle trivia with over 5,000 in giveaways. Our judges are the best and we can’t thank Wild Bill, Allen and Gene enough for the hard work they did with all of the great looking bikes that had to be judged,” stated the Rat’s Hole “Big Cheeze” Ted Smith.
One of our personal favorites was Justin Anderson’s 1950 Panhead chopper. No trailer queen here! With a burlap sack and gas can strapped to its sissy bar, it’s clear that Anderson made the trek from his home in Kalispell, Montana to Sturgis on his seasoned Panhead. The old chopper sported some true vintage flair, to its kicked-out Springer to a rear fender frenched into the custom frame to the coffin-style gas tank. The bike’s ram’s horn bars sported a peculiar bend while the “king & queen” saddle gave it even more groovy goodness. The fact that its custom paint was flaking and peeling off the frame only provided an already cool scoot with even more character. In its prime the Panhead once graced the cover of Street Chopper magazine and in its current state earned Anderson top honors in the Rat Class.
The custom that attracted more than its fair share of attention was the motorcycle/sidecar combo built by Stanislaw Myszkowski and the gang at Game Over Cycles out of Lubaczow, Poland. The base bike is a 2014 Harley Softail with a Twin Cam 96 while the sidecar was added this year and unveiled for the first time in Sturgis. Called ‘The Recidivist’ it is claimed to be the “World’s First Tattooed Motorcycle.” This might just be so as ‘The Recidivist’ is covered in a light-colored cowhide leather, similar to the tone of human skin, enabling it to be tattooed just like a person would be. The artwork is incredible and one could easily spent hours digesting it all as the tattoos tell a story, from the history of Harley-Davidson to inferences to the art of H.R. Giger and Zdzislaw Beksinski.
The build itself is a testament to the art of tattooing as well. According to Game Over Cycles, “The world of motorbikes and tattooes have long been kindred spirits. The theme of ‘The Recidivist’ relates to this traditional relationship. Bikers often tattooed using self-made machines and in reference to this, the bike’s front suspension has the look of a traditional coil tattoo machine. The motorcycle’s construction also includes other elements that draw from the look of tattoo machines. All of these parts are fully operational elements of the bike’s construction, and the mechanisms of these elements operate in the same way as they do in the original tattoo machines. For example, the exhaust pipe looks exactly like a tattoo machine, including the tattooing needles which when you start the bike move exactly as they do when the tattoo machine applies ink under skin.”
‘The Recidivist’ also has a slew of interesting design elements including a brass knuckle mounting plate framing the brake light, a front caliper housing that looks like handcuffs, a starting lever shape like one you’d find on a bomb detonator lever, and clutch and brake levers shaped like butterfly knife handles. While it didn’t take Best of Show laurels, the intriguing build from Lubaczow, Poland, did win the Most Unusual Class.
The main reason Game Over Cycles didn’t win Best of Show was because Hawke Lawshe left no detail unattended on his immaculate 1981 H-D XLS1000 Sportster chopper. The Ironhead engine itself is a work of art. Lawshe swapped the heads front to rear and spun them 180 degrees so the intake and exhaust ports exit off the left side. While the pushrods and split rockers remain in their stock configuration, he divorced the tranny so they link to a midshaft ratchet top with a twisted shifter leading to a custom Karata primary. The forward-facing SU carb sweeps up as do the inverted fishtail pipes. The engine is mounted in a Shortster hardtail frame with custom curved downtubes and handbuilt motor mounts. The slick skinny Frisco tank, oil tank and back fender have all been molded into the frame. The fork is a 21-inch over Paughco that’s tapered and twisted. The shift linkage and sissy bar are likewise twisted. He got creative with the mid-controls by using a rocker clutch and a brake pedal that also serves as the peg. The bronze/white pearl paint pops while gold leaf flames running backwards up the gas and oil tanks add a final subtle touch of brilliance. Considering how Lawshe flipped everything on the Ironhead, the bike’s name “Dyslexia” fits it to a tee. We hope Lawshe has a passport because next spring he’ll be heading to Zurich to check out the Swiss-Moto Customizing and Tuning Show after winning Best of Show at the 2017 Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show in Sturgis.
The Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show 29th Annual Sturgis Rally Winners
Rat’s Hole Best of Show – Hawke Lawshe, Columbia, MT
Black Hills Bagger Showdown – William Brown, Chapel Hill, NC
Three Wheeler – Gene Bateman, Bridgeport, NE
1 to 1000cc Class – Steve Savaria, Snohomish, WA
Over 1000cc Custom – Bryan Freytag, Farmington, NM
Over 1000cc Radical – Barry Leflore, Dallas, TX
Over 1000cc Super Radical – Larry Curik, Waterloo, IL
Sportster Class – Hawke Lawshe, Columbia, MT
Full Dresser & Touring Class – Bob Mester, Fort Calhoun, NE
Extreme Full Dresser – William Brown, Chapel Hill, NC
Rat Class – Justin Anderson, Kalispell, MT
1935-1966 Antique Class – Billy Alexander, Cotapi, CA
1967 – 1992 Antique Class – James Duffy, Romoland, CA
Bobber Class – Sean O’Laker, Imperial, MO
Most Unusual – Stanislaw Myszkowski, Lubaczow, Poland