As countless spectators and between 500 to 1,000 motorcyclists attended the second annual Hot Bike Tour in Joplin on Saturday, one of the events was the Sailor Jerry 2014 Invitational Hot Bike & Baggers Bike Build-Off.
A total of 24 of the top builders were on hand to show off their motorcycles. One of the builders was John Shope of Phoenix, Ariz.
“It started out as a Police Road King. It has a 30-inch wheel, it lays on the ground air ride, it is all hand engraved,” Shope said. “It is the only twin-turbo Harley right now that runs. The paint is spectra chrome, then it has like 200 hours of Oriental airbrush covering the whole bike. It is just an amazing bike.”
Those in attendance might recognize Shope’s name.
“I own Dirty Bird Concepts. Right now we have a show on History Channel Tuesday nights 10 p.m. Central Time called ‘Biker Battleground,’” he said.
Shope’s bike was all decked out and the spectators enjoyed seeing the bike and even getting Shope’s autograph.
As far as how he came up with the theme of his bike – Chrome King – Shope said, “it is a road king and this is the (best) king of the kings. It was just a fitting name. As we get going, we just start thinking more ideas, the more that you look at the bike, there are piercings, and there are all kinds of crazy stuff. You could sit there, pull up a chair for hours (and look at the artwork on the bike).”
Shope is no stranger to motorcycles as he grew up with them.
“My father was in an outlaw motorcycle club,” he said. “I used to race dirt bikes, I just grew up around it. It just evolved into this.
“There is probably more comfortable bikes, but you are not going to win the show unless your bike is extreme. This one is pretty comfortable.”
Joplin was the first stop for the five-city, 1,000-mile ride. Bikers left this morning around 9 a.m. from the Comfort Inn & Suites – where the biker hangout was – for their next stop, which will be Jefferson City. From there it’s on to Springfield, Ill., for day three, with Bettendorf, Iowa for day four and the journey will wrap up at Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
As part of being in the bike build off portion of the event, the bikes have to not only be displayed, but the motorcycle riders must ride the 1,000-mile tour on them.
“We are going to ride it on the 1,000 miles, end up in Wisconsin,” said Shope.
Shope said that he enjoyed the Hot Bike Tour.
“The thing that I like about this one is that we actually get to ride, and it is other builders,” he said. “We never get to spend any time with each other, so I am looking forward to it. I never had really done anything like this. It was an honor to be invited to it.”