People’s Champ / Vote for the Final 6-Pack!


A dozen builders all around the country (and one down under) have been melting metal and busting knuckles to get their shot at the title. The next stage of voting is live below. Please select your favorite SIX builders and submit your vote. The half-dozen finalists will move on to the last stage of the competition and we’ll all have to vote in person for the Champ the night before Born Free at Cook’s Corner on Friday, June 21st. (FYI: We can see multiple votes from same device or IP, so don’t bother). 

The motorcycle industry has embraced this event and the builders with some generous Sponsorships. Below is a list of companies who’ve jumped in with cash and product for the event. We’re passing on every cent they pitch in to the Champ (and a couple bucks to second and third). Right now the pot is up to $9,000 so this shit’s gettin’ real!

805 Beer

Born Free Show

Chop Cult

Choppers Magazine

DicE Magazine


Heatwave Visual

Himalayan Heroes USA

Lowbrow Customs

Old Bike Barn

Pangea Speed


Russ Brown

S&S Cycle

Cast your vote and follow us on @biltwell and @biltwell_peoples_champ where we will announce the Final Six-Pack this coming Monday, April 22.

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Jefferson Dillon

Jefferson Dillon


“So here we are! It’s been a great time building this bike and now we’re at the final stage before the big night at cooks corner.

This past couple months has been a challenge. Unfortunately during the process of adding the goose neck it got severely warped and i ended up cutting the whole thing off and starting over. It was a real bummer but I’m glad i was able to fix it and get it right and now I’m really happy with how it turned out.

The other thing that kinda kicked my ass was the rear fender. Building custom one off components such as fenders and tanks is one type of skill, and i had the harsh realization that replicating something as accurate as possible from 40 year old chopper mags is another beast. But it’s almost complete and I’m super stoked how it turned out.

Anyways next step is to completely mold the tank (while keeping it removable just like franks), the fender and french in a seat pan.

Due to the setback with the neck i didn’t have time to complete my Dick Allen front end but I will be posting step by step of the build of it as i finish it off and get it ready for chrome.

I appreciate the support I’ve been getting and i hope to see y’all at cooks. Good luck to all the builders, let’s kill it!”

Caleb Denton

Caleb Denton


First I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to log on to the Biltwell web page and participate in the 1st round of voting.

When the top 13 builders were announced I was out of town on business and had no Wi-Fi. I actually had no idea that I had made it through to the next round until theater that night. The first thing I did after I found out I had made it through was to call my Painter to let him know he was going to be busy.. Very Busy..

This Chopper will be ridden coast to coast after Born Free 11 so everything has been designed and fabricated for strength, ergonomics, ride-ability as well as Style. For example, the seat pan has been shaped to give the rider great back support, the mid foot control mounting location also helps keep the fatigue factor down. Another very important comfort factor was actually styled into the gas tank. Great care was taken to make the tank not only look great but it was also shaped to help function as a wind fairing. This will keep the wind pressure off the rider helping to add to the ride-ability factor of this chopper.

The paint that choice is actually a base coat of Silver Heavy Metal Flake from Big Daddy Roth which is overlaid by 4 different shades of the same Orange called Tropic Cali Orange. The different shades of this color were made by diluting it 4 times. There is also some airbrush work done to blend the color transitions and the entire paint job was then detailed out with some hidden pin stripping as well as bold pin striping.

The handle bars are crossed arches. They feel like a good set of drag bars and were double tig welded for strength. The rider’s position is set up to be aggressive and upright for control. The bike was kept narrow which will help when lane splitting and city riding.
The seat was not only designed to give good support but it has some unique diamond stitch patterns in it. The diamond stich starts off from a center line then the diamond pattern is set on a 45 degree angle to the left and right from that centerline. The diamond stich then tappers from diamonds to stripes up the tail of the seat.

The Engine is setup with a good torque cam, it will be great cross country power plant. This Shovel is topped with two Mikuni carbs and is backed by the original 4 speed transmission. Taking advantage of all the torque and to make the highways fun to ride, this chopper has been geared for highway speeds. The exhaust was a very cool find. I was able to locate a Vintage NOS set of MAC open Pipes from the 1970’s. I had actually set out to make a replica set but as luck would have it I was able to locate this brand new set of pipes still in the box. They are a perfect fit on the chopper.

The 1975 Frame is now modified with a hard tail rear section. The backbone is now 6” up and the neck is 2” out with 30 degrees of rake for good maneuverability in traffic and in cities as well as great control while canyon and mountain carving. Many hours were spent fabricating the rear fender section and the contoured, molded and boxed in back bone which will give the strength needed to be a daily rider. The 6” over Springer Front end has been fitted with a Hurst Airheart Mini disc brake which adds to the ride-ability factor.
When up close and in person with this chopper. I want you to pay close attention to all the small hand fabricated pieces such as brackets, risers and hardware items. Almost all the hardware is stainless,brass or brass plated.

I can’t wait to meet all of you at Born Free 11.

People's Champ: Sam Rapschutz

People's Champ: Sam Rapschutz


Well here it is, time for the final six. Thank you every one for the kind words and input along the way. So far things have been going slowly and fairly smooth. I have the motor off to polish, and a few key parts are getting cerakot as I type this. This build has been a idea that I have had for a while, with some build as I go. I have been spending a decent amount of time trying keep it simple with a classic hot rod vibe.
As of now I am finishing up the last few pieces of molding to achieve a seamless look. I still have to finish the sissy bar, and controls before tearing down for body work and paint. While my motor is gone and parts are at chrome I will be doing the paint.

People's Champ: Ante Pratezina

People's Champ: Ante Pratezina


My 59’ Panhead build – WarHorse is progressing nicely although I think my heart murmurs every time I see the BF11 date! My front end is all finished up, working on an epic sissy bar and mid controls right now. It will be Christmas for the chrome shop when I hand them all my parts, can’t wait to see them all done! You can check my feed for the latest updates!

People's Champ: Nick Busby

People's Champ: Nick Busby


Hello everyone! Here is some progress pics of my 1962 panhead. I’d like to present “Double Take”! The bottom end is complete, but mocked up the top end for pics. This is what days of hand sanding gets you. Finished molding the frame and getting a bunch of stuff back from chrome. Go to my profile for some crazier progress pictures that I’ll release later. Thanks for taking the time to check everything out!

People's Champ: Ben Jefferies

People's Champ: Ben Jefferies


1960 Panhead chopper. Most of the heavy fab work is done. Just need to finish up small stuff & pipes and get it ready for paint/chrome. I work a lot of hours and pretty much done everything on my day off. Been kinda freaky putting myself out there and doing it my way but glad people actually dig it so far. My main goal starting this was to get to the last six, would be super humbled to take this bad boy to Cali and party with ya’ll. Thanks for all the love, support and the companies that have given generous sponsorships. Been a cool experience, everyone else is killing it and having so much fun!

People's Champ: Tom Heavey

People's Champ: Tom Heavey


First, I would like to thank everyone for all the support up to this point in the competition.

Here is a quick update on the bike:

The bike has been broken down for paint, chrome and polishing. I received my chromed frame just a few days ago. This is one part of the build I have an enormous amount of time into. I had no idea of what it would take to polish a 63 year old steel frame to be prepped for chrome, well I do now! I couldn’t have done it without the help of my buddy Skip at tarheel parts and DGM Chrome who did an outstanding job of plating it. My engine parts are all back from polishing. I’m in the process of reassembling the engine, which will be my first time assembling a full engine. This was also the first time I have attempted to build a tank from scratch that needed to hold a liquid and not leak. Well, lets just say the oil tank put me to the test! Chasing those small pin holes after pressure testing was really an eye opener for me but I got ‘er done. My hat goes off to the fabricators out there that make this look so easy, it’s not!!!!

Tins are in the hands of Shawn Long of Imperial House for him to do his thing and lay down a classic 60’s style Triumph show bike paint job. At first glance the bike does not look like it has a lot of one off part fabrication, but it does. I didn’t want any one part to jump out but there isn’t a part on the bike that hasn’t been modified or massaged to some degree. I think when people see it up close that’s when they will really see it.

Once I get everything back from chrome I can start final assembly. The one huge difference between building a show level british bike as opposed to an HD is there isn’t a Colony catalog with 3000 plus chrome bolts, washers and parts you can order from to get things buttoned back up. I will be hand polishing all the stainless steel british fasternes on the entire bike, there won’t be a part on the bike that isn’t chromed, polished or painted.

I want to thank all the sponsors who have stepped up and supported the 13 builders and the show as well. The combined amount of time, energy and stress that has gone into all 13 of the remaining builders bikes up until this point, is tough to explain and understand if you have never had to build a bike on a deadline before. With that being said, I wish all the builders the best of luck . For me to be given an opportunity to be chosen as one of the final 6 pack of builders and move into the final round I could only sum what that feeling would be and it would be “ righteous”

People's Champ: Suzy Pilaczynski

People's Champ: Suzy Pilaczynski


“So here is the current state of my bike. Since the last update I’ve done or added the following:

  • Exhaust- I decided on a simple 2 in 1 setup which follows the shape of the motor and the bottom of the frame. I haven’t decided on how to end it though, it may bend outward from the kicker cover or extend back towards the axle plates.
  • Cam cover- I machined the cover down and added a chamfered edge to match the rocker boxes. I also extensively hand sanded the corners to create a nice sharp edge. The points cover will probably look a bit different in the end.
  • Primary drive- currently experimenting with different pulley and belt sizes; although undecided it will likely be an open primary.
  • Headlight- this unique and very rare light was originally a 1920’s Packard taillight. It’s been patched up and primered and the bezel was straightened and stripped of chrome. A simple mount was made to bolt it to the lower tree.
  • Wheels- I designed and made my own wheels out of steel. The design consists of four sets of two spokes staggered around the rim. Although a 21” front and 18” rear is a more popular size combination currently, I chose to go with a 21”/16” combo instead because I wanted to emphasize the size difference and keep a tapered look from front to back. I’m also looking into a slightly wider back tire. I’m currently working on something a little different for the rear brake setup and not running a front brake.

The fender/sissy bar is for mock-up purposes only. As for a seat, I’m leaning towards a cobra style or similar as opposed to the king/queen seat I was originally planning on using in order to keep it low profile- I want a longer horizontal line and by using a k/q I feel it would raise the height too much and diminish the tapered effect I’m seeking. The frame will be kept simple, with perhaps a bit of stretch or rake in order to level the bike while preventing the front wheel from being pulled in too close, thus shortening the overall length. I’ve still got a ton more work to do and have a few more tricks I hope to implement if time permits. Lastly, paint will likely be kept simple so as to provide a backdrop of color without overshadowing all the hard work I’ve done.

Thanks for looking and I can’t wait to reveal the final result soon!

People's Champ: Craig Kenyon

People's Champ: Craig Kenyon


Well here it is! Our second peoples champ update. Johns been slaving away at the pound of sheetmetal welded onto this frame. The plan was to make a fully molded chopper and it’s been a lot of work to achieve that. Some of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is having an idea, then spending countless hours on it and then welding it on the bike and realizing we hate it so we have to grind it off and start on something completely different. We know this build is polarizing and that was the plan. We hope to see y’all at cooks corner! Vote or die!

People's Champ: Matt Pontano

People's Champ: Matt Pontano


Frame is at paint, parts dropped off at the chrome shop, seats at the upholstery shop and engine being finished up. I’m stressed, nervous and scared. I have no backing by any big companies and don’t do this for a living like some of the other guys. I’ve put my heart and soul into this build and did everything the old fashion way. No fancy machines or computer programs, everything done by hand like it is supposed to be.

I for one am tired of seeing the same style bike being built over and over again so I decided to stray away from the OEM Harley frame and Wassell tank. My bike is built around a 45 magnum that me and my machinist built from scratch and backed by a early panhead ratchet top. I started with a Paugcho 45” frame that I then cut up and went up and out with to accept the magnum.

I modified a stock panhead oil tank to fit the lines of the frame and moved the oil lines to the inside of the tank where a battery would have been. All of my foot controls are hand made and one of a kind. I’m running a 20” over springer that I made using a set of old AEE trees, with a 21” spool invader. Out back is a 15” invader with a juice drum and a vintage m&h drag slick.

My favorite detail of the bike is the tail light I formed and made to fit into the duck bill of my rear fender this way there is nothing hanging off the side of my bike. Everything is molded and will be painted by @mikeymachine87 who has everything and has gotten started with finishing all of the body work and getting it ready for paint.

My seats are with the upholster now and will be wrapped in relocate leather and will be sure to blow everyone away. All of the hard parts are at the chrome shop and should be back soon.

I’m very anxious to see this thing together. I hope then when you cast your vote for the bikes you want to see at Cook’s Corner you pick them for the actually work and creativity in the bike, not just because someone told you to vote. If you actually read all of this and you feel like I have what it takes to be in the final 6 then vote for me, the guy that’s building bikes in his basement at nights after work with his kids.

People's Champ: Hank Schell

People's Champ: Hank Schell


Lately I’ve been working on my Turbo/ dual S&S Carb  set up which I’m planning on one of the Carbs to run the engine, and the other when under boost,  I’ve gotten most of my polishing done and I’ve been engraving a couple nights a week on my parts ,  Hope to send parts to chrome next week, then I’ll start molding the frame to get ready for paint, I’m not sure what way I’m going with that yet but since I’m the body man and painter ill cross that path when I get there. My biggest setback is I’m building another bike for a customer, to fund my chopper which is a blessing and a curse, and both of those bikes never get worked on during regular  hrs. since those are my hrs. for my everyday living expenses Family, house payment etc., ,  only in the evenings I work on the other to bikes ,  just trying to build something wild without blowing any money, Thanks for the  Votes  I appreciate it.

People's Champ: Jim Baaske

People's Champ: Jim Baaske


“As the bike sits today I’ve got most all of the frabricated bits buttoned up. My shifter set up was kind of an unusual one, mating two aftermarket pieces and a lot of brainstorming, but all the angles of the dangles seemed to play well, and I think the thing might actually work. Right after after these pictures were taken the bike got blown apart and we’re about head into paint and shine time. I’m really excited to get to this point because this where shit might get a little wild and the bike is really going to take shape. I really just want to thank all for friends for helping me get this far, my girlfriend Julia for always supporting me, Dirty Adam for always listening to my rambling bouncing ideas off him, Merfy for always lending me drill bits over 1/2″, A-Bomb, Charlie even though he’s color blind, Chuckie, Seth, Toddy even though he’s just a painter, and everyone else. I couldn’t have got this far without you guys.”

People's Champ: James Juarez

People's Champ: James Juarez


With winging so many things on this bike, and literally thinking up/making the pieces as I go, i’m steadily moving along! I want to say that the exhaust area ( pipes, sissy bar, pass-pegs)  has been the area that I’ve spent the most time on so far, but I wouldn’t be doing the gas tank, oil bag, or raked casted (looking) neck, any justice. I’ve had a handful few issues so far, but simplicity and practicality has kept the build movin right along. There’s a  handful of loose ends to button up, but the final break down for paint and chrome is in the horizon!