The Biltwell People’s Champ looks like a rowdy good time at Cook’s Corner the night before Born Free, and of course it is. It’s also a stressful nightmare for the builders who get chosen to participate. Not only do they have to be done in time for us to shoot photos and videos, they also have to show up on the opposite side of a small mountain range the morning of the party, ready to ride. If they don’t make it all the way to the bar under their own power, they can’t be the Champ– even if they had the most votes. It’s only about fifty miles, but if you’ve seen many show bikes, it’s pretty easy to tell most of ‘em are trailer queens. Not the PC bikes! These are motorcycles man, and they are made to be ridden and not just gawked at. The voting happens online all week leading up to the party and one thing we learned from Covid was that doing the videos and photos in advance and letting the whole world vote is more fair than just in-person voting, where Californian’s could have a potential advantage. This year the votes were locked on Friday morning and we were tallying them while the riders were en route. Once they all made it to Cook’s, it was anyone’s guess who the winner would be. That info was secretly shared with our buddy Hot Dog who hopped in the back of our van and hand-lettered the new Champ’s name on the trophy about 30 minutes before it was presented. The whole goal with this competition is to shine a light on builders who haven’t been invited to Born Free before. With a little tailwind from the Biltwell social and YouTube channels, these guys and girls get some much-deserved recognition and can leverage that to their advantage if they want to grow a business around it, or just enjoy the spotlight for a minute and move on if that’s their style. Case in point, Jacob Conard didn’t win the Champ’s title this year but his insanely tight and right Twin Cam got noticed and he ended up winning “Best Modern” at Born Free– a very prestigious award for a guy who just finished his second motorcycle. Can’t wait to see what he’s doing next! When Cliff started posting photos and videos of his bike with one handlebar and exhaust that exits through the frame there was no shortage of hatred and disbelief. Fueled by their fear of his machine, old Cliffafonia piloted that one-handed contraption all the way to the win and then laid it on it’s side in the grass at the Born Free Invited Builder’s area. That’s pretty chopper if you ask me. Laughing all the way to the bank, he netted the $10k cash for winning plus an additional $2k from Metzeler Tires for running their rubber front and rear. Go, Cliff! Thanks to all of this year’s builders – every one was gracious and hard working and all of the bikes were fantastic. If you didn’t have a chance to see all of their videos, check ‘em out HERE.
This event and it’s generous purse wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for our friends and sponsors who chip in every year, so please support ‘em.
If you’d like to be considered for the 10th annual People’s Champ competition, check out thewebsitefor details and note the key dates listed below:
August 30:Open submissions October 24:Submissions closed November 1: Original 24 are announced January 10: Update Submissions Due January 14-17: Online voting to determine Final 6 April 24: Bike needs to be completed April 25-May 6: Media team travels to the location of the Final 6 June 20-24: Final online voting June 24: Ride out to Cook's Corner. Party and crown the Champ
The bikes ridden to the event are always worth admiring, so here’s a small collection of those…
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