PEOPLE'S CHAMP

The goal of the People’s Champ competition is to get exposure for people who might not have been well-known enough to be official “Invited Builders” at Born Free. After competing in our event, many have gone on to be Invited Builders. We pick the first big batch of bike builders and then you, the public get a chance to vote on the internet for the Final 6 and eventually for the Champ!

July 26th, 2024: Submissions Open

September 3rd, 2024: Submissions Close

September 6th, 2024: Original Builders Announced

December 2nd, 2024: OG Builder Update Submissions Due

December 6th - 9th, 2024: Online Voting to Determine the Final 6

May 24th - June 6th, 2025: Biltwell Media Team Travels to Final 6 Builders

June 16th - 20th 2025: Final Online Voting to Determine The Champ

June 20th, 2025: Ride Out to Cook’s Corner, Party, and Crown the Champ!

Watch it all unfold on the People's Champ Instagram!

Cook’s Corner Bar is a legendary biker bar that stands as a proud symbol of forgotten freedom in a sea of ever-encroaching cookie-cutter houses and the inevitable “progress” of Orange County, California. It’s the perfect spot to host a party the night before Born Free with thousands of riders in the area eager for the weekend’s festivities to start.

On the morning of the party at Cook's Corner, all Final Six builders will meet in Lake Elsinore and ride approximately 50 miles to Cook's Corner.

The party at Cook’s starts about 3:00pm, and around 9:00pm we'll announce the Champ! We’ll all clap and hoot, the trophy and check will be handed over and we’ll call it a night.

Once it starts going down, it happens fast, so make sure to be around the upper bar area by 9:00pm or so. It’s standing room only and the suspense is pretty intense.

All voting will be done online, here on our website. Regardless of how many votes a builder receives, they must ride their bike to Cook's in the time allotted or they won't be eligible to be the Champ! All the bikes won't just be “show” bikes, they'll be “Go” bikes too!

THE RULES

Anyone who has not been a previous Born Free Invited Builder or made it to the Final Six of any past People’s Champ competitions. You can build your bike in a carport or a shop, it’s all fair game.

We determine the Original builders from a much larger pool of contestants. When there are over 100 initial entrants and only a select few move forward, it’ll leave quite a few people pissed. Welcome to life, suck it up and try again next year.

We will pick the OG builders from the submissions here on our website, and will announce the first round of competitors September 6th, 2024.

No “co-builds”. Of course, you can get help from friends, but there can only be one Champ and one name on the check, so submissions will only be accepted if they're from a single person.

You'll be asked to submit some progress photos and a paragraph or two about your build via our builder update form.  All original builders will need submit that form by December 2nd, 2024.

We will post each builder update and open voting here on our website on December 6th, 2024 and announce the Final 6 a couple days later. 

Tip: quality photos and a thoughtful paragraph go a long way in your campaign to get votes. It’s simple; if you present your project as professionally as possible, it’s likely that more people will take notice, so take this part kinda serious.

This is where it gets different from any show we’ve ever been involved in, so pay close attention before entering. 

For the past four years, we have traveled to each of the final six builders to take photos and videos to release prior to online voting. In previous years it was because we had the time due to Born Free being postponed or canceled due to the COVID pandemic. We realize these photos are extremely important to a level playing field and allow those following the competition a more detailed look at the build to allow for successful online voting and not give an advantage to someone with great photo skills.

To allow us to produce these photos this year the builders will need to have their bikes photo ready by the date our team shows up. Our media team will then travel to all six builders May 24th - June 6th, 2025. The photos will be released before the final online voting opens, which is to be held June 16th - 20th 2025.

But wait there’s more!  We will meet the Final Six Pack builders on the east end of Ortega Highway on Friday, June 20th, 2025 – the morning of the Biltwell People’s Champ party. This is approximately 50 miles away from Cook’s Corner. Each builder will be required to start their own motorcycle and ride it to Cook’s. This is not a race. We will ride together with you. This means not only do you have to build a beautiful machine, but it has to be an actual motorcycle that runs and rides, and that you can ride it yourself. The route will go up the twisty mountain pass and down the other side, onto a moderately travelled freeway, through some lights and traffic, ending at the bar. Just like a real motorcycle ride! You can have a chase truck follow and work on your bike along the way if you must, but it needs to be ridden the entire route and arrive at Cook’s by the set deadline. This ride is open to spectators, but we will put the Final Six Pack up front and respectfully ask all spectators to give ‘em some room to do their thing. We ride rain or shine.

The show starts at 3:00pm and we will shoot interviews and bike features with each builder and machine before putting the bikes on platforms and getting them ready for the show. If your bike does not make it to the show from the starting point under it’s own power (or you pushing it) you will still be able to display it, and get your consolation cash, but you will not be eligible to be crowned the Champ.

Not enough, that’s for sure. If we can wrangle some sponsors again, we’ll give some discount codes to the Final 6. Then, we do just like last year: beg for as much cash as possible from generous sponsors and divide that up between the Final Six.

The way that works is the non-Champs (no one is a loser in our book, lol) get $1000. Whatever is left over goes to the champ in one giant check. The Champ for last year took home $10,000. Please note, Biltwell takes zero from the sponsorship money and we kicked in two grand of our own money to make sure this grand prize was significant. We’ve got no idea how much we can generate for this year, but we’ll do our best and share it all.

We also shoot bike features and videos of each of the final contenders and showcase them on our WTF Blog and our  YouTube channel. If possible, we’ll try to get some magazine coverage for as many as we can. Our goal is to not forget the builders as soon as the show is over, so we will try to highlight the bikes and people as much as possible.

The Champ will be able to display his or her bike on the grass with all of the Born Free Invited Builders on Saturday and Sunday, and all bikes present will be eligible for any awards at the big show. We also have an area on the grass for all Peoples champ participants to show off their bikes.

We love all kinds of motorcycles, but seeing as how we were at the first Born Free and the first People’s Champ shows, and how they started as Chopper shows, we'll be picking highly customized, hand-built motorcycles. Japanese, American, British, it’s all good.

There are no separate classes and we won’t be picking any club style Dynas, performance baggers, or even our beloved FXR’s. No trikes, quads or VW’s. We only have room for six bikes and we’re looking for choppers!

Hit us up at champ@biltwellinc.com