The Congregation Vintage Motorcycle Show in Charlotte, NC, presented by Prism Supply & DicE Magazine is growing in popularity. This year we asked Danger Dan (Dan Hardick from Tin Top, TX) to tell us all about his trip to the show! Take a Gander!
Danger Dan has a weekly podcast called "Danger Dan's Talk Shop" where he brings the age old concept of "talking shop" to your computer, phone or tablet. Listeners feel right at home - or in their shop - with Dan and his guests. On his shows he shares the real grit to riding a Pan Head. He also has a fun time interviewing some down to earth folks in today's industry, & shares good times at the shows going on this season.S
o generally I ride my Pan Head chopper to all the events I attend but on the way back from Daytona, a few weeks ago, I lost a wrist pin clip on my front cylinder and shredded metal throughout the whole motor. Now, needing a full rebuild, I threw in a nosecone shovel motor and transmission to make it to Giddy Up
. Which I didn’t, ended up having some charging system and battery issues. I thought I had it all fixed and was gearing up to leave Wednesday to go to The Congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina this past weekend. Was gonna take my time and see some sites and friends on the way there.
Tuesday night I got a text asking me to be a part of the filming for a TV show called RIDE with Norman Reidus
. Of course I said yes and rescheduled my trip. So I planned on leaving the shoot in Dallas Thursday night with hopes of making it to Charlotte Friday night for the pre-party. 1,060 miles to my destination on a bike that has left me stranded on every trip I have taken it on this year. Sounds like a good idea, right?!?! It did… So I packed my gear, a tent, bed roll, socks, always bring sockssss, warm over layers and all my podcast equipment in a Sweatshop Ind.
sissy bar bag located, you guessed it, on my sissy bar. Then I took off headed for my first TV experience on my barn built chopper. I got no further than turning off the road I live on before my chopper just quit. So I kicked it again and it started right back up. Until I gave it some throttle and it spit and sputtered then died again.
Sounded electrical, so I changed the condenser and points while I was at it. Same result. I had my friend, the Wizard, come down and look at it and made a phone call to another grey beard we call Redeye. Redeye said try a coil, the Wizard said try a Twin Cam like mine. So with time running out on making the TV shoot I limped it to the Wizards house around the corner we changed out all electrical devices we could get to without pulling the stator. No good results. The TV show, was not happening, but I wasn’t giving up on the Congregation.
A day before this my good friend Mike had made a joke about me borrowing his FXRT side-Hack to take to Charlotte cause he didn’t have faith my Shovelhead would make it. So I decided to call and find out if he was joking or serious. Turns out he was more than happy to help and asked when I would be coming to get it? I said right now so he called his wife and told her to turn over the keys. He gave me a quick run down and told me to enjoy it.
“If anything happens don’t worry about it we will fix it when you get back”, Mike said. So I unloaded my chopper, jumped in the truck, and hauled ass over there. It took a little getting used to the feeling of a third wheel hanging off the right side but in no time I was rolling down the highway as comfortable as could be.
I did 1,060 straight to the pre-party with a short nap and a couple gas stops and not one worry the whole way there. I document my travels with a recorder for my podcast called Danger Dans Talk Shop
available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. You can get a more accurate account of how this trip went there so lets move on to the party.
When I pulled into Charlotte it was Friday night, 11 0’clock, and the weather was perfect for two wheel riding. Even 3 wheel riding! I took the scenic route through downtown Charlotte to the MidWood Country Club where the pre-party was spilling out into the parking lot. Everybody was gathered around bikes they rode in on and some that would be displayed at the show the next day. As I un-boarded my vehicle I heard a familiar voice say “is that Danger Dan?” Then saw a little silhouette bend over to read my plate. It was a face I hadn’t seen in over a year, Mr. Potter! Immediately he asked what my plans were and if I had a place to stay and offered up the house he was staying at and told me about how my friends here in Texas had treated him the same way. I seem to run into good, honest, friendly people wherever I go. So I told a handful of people about the journey and heard about theirs.
This is always my favorite part of any rally, show, or meet-up. The first night when everyone arrives and we get to exchange our stories from the road with the comfort of being at the final destination amongst friends, new and old. We then mass exodus to the Air BnB. Only one bike was dropped in the getaway and one stalled on the way there. After riding all day and one small breath of the devil’s finest, I opted to sleep right next to my bike in a gravel parking lot and you wouldn’t believe how fulfilling it was.
The next morning was the day of the show and I was the first one to roll my gear up and leave. I wanted to see the city during the day so I took off about 8am and rode around till I found a nice coffee shop downtown where I ordered a red eye, a cup of juice, and a cronut. Now this was my first cronut and it was amazing! A cronut is a doughnut made of a crescent dough and this particular one was stuffed with cayenne peppered chocolate and covered with raspberry sugar. You must try one for yourself. This coffee joint was located at the bottom of a Marriott hotel so I was able to take advantage of the bathroom, relieve myself and take a quick whore bath before the show.
I got to the venue early and was blown away at the size and the atmosphere produced by this old building that once built cars and bombs. The vendors were loading in and the builders were pushing bikes. There was a photographer in the corner taking portraits of the bikes and the owners as they loaded into the show. The floor plan was open, and I mean OPEN. I believe this building was in the range 200k square feet. I located the food, cold drinks, and started running into more friends and making new ones as all the pieces fell into place.
Before the show opened they ran all the participants out so the “press” could get their photos and the fire Marshall could do one last inspection. I took this time to grab some tacos and catch up with my good friend Bill Dodge
. His pitbull puppy got about as much attention standing idle waiting on me to drop a taco as any bike in the show. Doors are open and the weather is beautiful inside and out.
As you walk in the entry way there was a “hallway’ of vendors to the left and right. I was set-up with the RT-Hack as my merch booth. Selling Danger Dan T’s
for gas money and giving away the last few Prism Supply shirts I had to anybody that signed up for my T-shirt subscription plan MCshopTs.com
on the spot. The crowd ranged from strollers to walkers and everything in between.
Once you got past vendor row you approached the Prism display where they were showing off their past two Born Free builds and the current one that will be given away at Born Free 10
. Hang a right from there and it was a almost chaotic array of choppers and custom motorcycles lit up by the few rays of sun that made it in through the 100 year old windows that looked out onto the swap meet grounds where you could find live music, cold drinks and fill your belly at the food trucks located around the corner.
Roughly 5000 attendees walked through the doors that beautiful Saturday between 2-8pm. Once you got past the choppers you’d find an assortment of vintage dirt bikes. Some beautifully restored classics and other modified for specifics landscapes. All beautiful. Although the weather was somehow a factor in the participation of some of the hots rods, there were some cages that made the journey. You’ll have to pay attention to Rodders Journal
for more coverage on them.
Now the choppers were all vintage and that means I don’t believe I saw even one evolution motor in the group. Now my personal favorite was a Panhead brought by a cat named Stephen Webb
It was a matte finished olive green color with some classic dull yellow stripes on the frame which turned into flames on the tank. Looked as though it was built to have that recreated “patina” look. Little did I know until we spoke. He told me he found that frame in an old grey beards barn up in the rafters with that exact paint on it. He spent many years trying to get the old man to come off the project. But got the all too familiar “I’m gonna rebuild that some day” until last year he finally decided to let it and some other parts go. Stephen made one helluva a haul that day which he was able to use to add his own personal touches to this timeless chopper.
As the day went on I ran into one of the hardest working guys in the industry and I finally got some one on one time with Micheal Lichter
. Super nice and a pro at what he does. We talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly ways of the world as he positioned me and my friend Mike’s RT-Hack so he could get just the right shot. By the time we wrapped up Jake and the last few of the crew ran us outside at which time I realized everybody else had already vacated the premises to enjoy the after party.
So I jumped on my ride and cruised through what ended up being the prettiest night of my trip on the way to Tipsy Burros
, an old late night Mexican food joint where the food seems to come second to the booze sliding across the bar. Once again the party had spilled out into the parking lot where people were still checking out bikes and planning their journey's home. After meeting some more good folks and slinging some more t-shirts in the parking lot I took off to finally get some sleep under an actual roof.
Talk was, storms were a brew’n. Turns out they were right which made for a very interesting beginning for my journey home. I wasn’t planning on taking the straight shot home like I had followed on the way there. I was gonna take the “scenic route” First stop, Wheels through Time
in Maggie Valley.
Hear all about my journey to and fro on my podcast Danger Dans Talk Shop. This series which I titled “Team Work Makes the Dream Work”
can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, or my website DangerDansTalkShop.com
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