Motorcyclin’ At CIC

Once again Troy Blakely of APA will be leading a parade of motorcycle riders during the Concert Industry Consortium – taking other concert industry folks up the scenic Pacific Coast highway and still getting them back in time for the Keynote.

Even with the CIC in full launch mode, Blakely has had no trouble getting motorcyclists to trade a day of meeting and greeting for a ride and a free meal.

At this point, readers who’ve cruised down the road on a hog are likely nodding their heads. There’s nothing that tops a trip with other enthusiasts.

"It’s a whole other culture," Mark Prows, VP of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, told Pollstar. "It gets people intertwined and helps them bond."

Blakely, Prows, Steve Bassett of Bill Young Productions, and former Doors manager Bill Siddons have all taken the Pacific Coast ride many times and were willing to share stories about their love of motorcycles.

And, boy, do motorcyclists love to share. Asking motorcycle enthusiasts about their bikes is like asking a new father if he’s got any pictures of his kid handy.

The former assistant GM of the Delta Center, Brent Allenbach, has taken his passion to a whole new level: Allenbach is now the owner of two Harley Davidson dealerships, one in Ogden, Utah, and the other in Logan.

Blakely has been riding for 40 years and rode some metric bikes and a Triumph until he bought a Harley Davidson Softtail Night Train in 2000. Currently, his baby is a totally sweet special edition 100th Anniversary Screaming Eagle Softtail Deuce – one of only 3,000 total sold worldwide.

Siddons also brought a wow bike to the ride: a Royal Enfield Bullet. Turns out Siddons craved a motorcycle since he took a ride as a kid on a friend’s Triumph. He still remembers the model: A Cub 200cc. He bought a Bultaco Metralia 200 by mowing lawns, babysitting and other odd jobs. When he got involved with The Doors, he graduated to a Triumph Bonneville 650.

"It taught me about Lucas the Prince of Darkness," he told Pollstar. Siddons took some time off from bikes when he thought his focus should be on his young children (and because his Honda got stolen) but he "ached every day of that year to own a bike."

Siddons crashed twice – once on a freeway onramp but still made it to his college class on time. The other crash took place about 18 months ago with his wife riding on the back. He and his wife once took a two-week trip on a BMW R1100RT in northern Italy and Switzerland. When he got back, Siddons bought the same model from Monterey International’s Paul Goldman.

Prows is a recent rider, relatively, but only for cruisers. He’s ridden dirt bikes his whole life but recently traded a golf habit for a motorcycling habit. It started out as a bonding activity between him and his kid; Prows decided to buy some dirt bikes and helped get his 4-year-old son interested in the sport. But he started renting cruisers and went on a Valentine’s Day run.

"I found it extremely therapeutic. I’d go on different runs and rent different bikes. It gave me a good understanding of Harleys and what kind of bike I wanted for my first one," he said.

One day he was sitting in on a managers meeting at the MGM, where the senior VP of marketing gave a presentation on branding. To make his point, the exec drove out onstage on his Harley Davidson Road King, then discussed the branding power of Harley Davidson and how the MGM should follow its strategy.

Prows found the speech inspiring. And, he found his first bike. A few months after the lecture, he bought the bike from the marketing manager and increased the odometer mileage 4,000 to 18,000.

He ended up helping Blakely organize the APA run and has gone on every ride. Prows also helped organize the Academy of Country Music run in Las Vegas and he’s about to lead another run in Sin City called the District 7 ride. Meanwhile, motorcycling will be part of his yearlong celebration of his upcoming 50th birthday, along with some parachuting, riding an Indy race car and other activities.

Prows is also waiting on a new Harley that’s getting built for him because, as a lot of riders know, the new Harleys have 96-inch dual cams and six-speed transmissions – stock. He’s also got a hankering for a chopper. Riding buddies include CAA’s Rod Essig and Clair Brothers senior VP Ralph Mastrangelo.

But Bassett might have the best story of all. He’s been riding since he was 10 years old and, at one point, decided to modify a used Suzuki 1400. He kept at his modifications until the Suzuki became a custom chopper. It won first place at the Big Dog of Houston Bike Show in 2005.

Also expected be on this year’s the run were Essig, Allenbach, Union Entertainment Group’s Tim Heyne, The Coach House’s Roger LeBlanc, William Morris Agency’s John Marx and China West Entertainment’s Steve Sybesma.