Pinky's Motorcycle Passion
Biker Friendly Bars
On October 30, 2011, Tim and Cindy Butler were in a horrible motorcycle crash. Any time you collide with a pick up truck, the results are going to be nasty, and it was devastating to this couple. A pick up truck turned left in front of them and both were airlifted to Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. Cindy had a collapsed lung among other injuries and spent several days in the hospital. Tim, on the other hand, was not as fortunate. He has severe breaks to several bones and injuries that have left him paralyzed from the waist down. Whether or not this is a permanent condition is yet to be determined. He is struggling through therapy each day to regain strength while his wife sits by his side at the hospital. This family has some long struggles ahead of them, but they can rest assured that the motorcycle community will be right beside them on their journey to recovery.
Yesterday, several riders showed their support by coming together in a Poker Run fund raiser to get donations that would assist them with their financial needs. The day was sunny and cold, but it didn't deter the riders who donned their leathers and took to the streets in for this cause. It is well known in the motorcycle community that bikers are a segment of society that takes care of their own -- when one is rowdy or messes up, they will be taken aside and scolded. When one is hurt or injured, likewise, they will be given all the assistance the community can muster. Five locations volunteered to use their place of business for stops along the Poker Run; Coyote's Bar and Grill, the Showdown Saloon, Four Way Country Club, Camp Joy Marina and Our Place Bar and Grill. A great big thank you to each of these biker friendly businesses that support clubs and independents throughout the year. Several individuals and businesses (too many to list), donated money, services or gift certificates for the cause.
In the end, the community raised nearly $3,000 for the Butler's. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported this great cause.
The annual event, the Boo Benefit
, will take place inJefferson, Texas
this weekend. Just 55 miles from Shreveport, the town of Jefferson is a popular destination year round, but many bikers in the area, anticipate the Boo Benefit all year. The Boo Benefit is centered at downtown Jefferson, along its cobblestone streets. Expect thousands of motorcycles to roll into the area this weekend for a good time while raising money for a great cause. Estimates for attendace is 40,000. It's not often that one gets to see that many bikes at an event so close to home. The event was started in 1998 by some friends of Charles "Boo" Chaler, who was burned in a welding accident on over 95% of his body. It was held while Boo was still in the Burn Center at LSU Burn Unit in Shreveport. All proceeds from the first event were given to Boo and his wife, who donated it to the Percy Johnson Burn Foundation
. Since 1998 Boo and some of the same friends involved in the first event continue to organize an annual event to support both the Percy Johnson Burn Foundation and the Shriner's Children's Burn Hospital in Galveston, TX. A good portion of the funds raised support the free week long summer camp, Camp I'm Still Me
, for children and adolescent burn survivors, held in Scottsville, TX. In 2003, the Percy Johnson Burn Foundation founded the Chaler-Rods House
, which provides housing for out of town families of burn survivors during their hospitalization. The Boo Run donations also help support the Chaler-Rods House which operates with charitable donations and fund raisers. The Burn Foundation does not receive federal, state, or city funds.
This year events
include a ride with Boo (limited to the first 200 bikes) on Friday, a meet and greet with Boo on Saturday, and a Biker's Ball Friday night. But that's not all. There will be a bike show, poker run, tattoo contest, karaoke contest, bike games, raffles, auction, and plenty of good food, vendors and music. And, as always, the biker friendly town of Jefferson will open its doors with their typical hospitality for this event. Don't miss a trip to Auntie Skinner's
for great food, music and fun, a trip to the General Store
for ice cream. Stroll along the shops in Jefferson where you'll find an abundance of antiques and unique gift items. And, be sure to get in some of the great riding in the area. A trip to the dam at Lake o' the Pines
is a scenic ride and a trip to Uncertain Tavern and the Lighthouse Bar and Grill
in Uncertain, TX is a must while in the area.
Pre registration for the Boo Benefit is over, but you can register on site for $20 which includes all of the activities all weekend (except for Biker Ball). Activities include: poker run, bike show, bike games, cruisin w/boo, auntie skinners, and etc. You will be able to buy t-shirts and pins separately.
I had the opportunity and good fortune to meet the Demented Cycles, Bridgeport, Texas, Bike Builders, Charlie and Kevin Russell, this weekend. I even had the privilege of riding with business manager, Jon Magill. We rode Interstate 20 from Shreveport to Minden, where we switched over to Hwy 79 and headed to Homer. In Homer, we visited the antebellum, Greek revival architecture of the Courthouse on the town square. This courthouse is one of the oldest public buildings in continuous use in the state, and has an imposing statue dedicated to the soldiers of the Confederate States. From the town square, we doubled back to visit Valhalla motorcycle campground and biker bar. Curt, owner and caretaker (along with his wife, Tana), showed us around the property. He promptly turned on the water cooled fan for us that sprayed a mist so satisfying to us who had been riding in the intense Louisiana heat. After a cool down in front of the fan, Curt showed us the bar and the grounds. I've spent some time at Valhalla, but it was a first for Jon and he was treated like family. I'm proud to say that our motorcycle community in Shreveport and Bossier and surrounding areas, welcomes and befriends all bikers, local or visitors. I'm reminded that it's riders like Curt who have set the stage for all riders of our generation and generations to come. And, Jon likened the grounds of Valhalla to those at Luckenbach, Texas, near his home of Bridgeport. Together, we will work to hold a future fund raising event at Valhalla featuring the bikes and builders of Demented Cycles. Please support Demented Cycles by visiting their website, friending them on Facebook and supporting their store in Bridgeport and New Braunfels, TX whenever you're in the Austin or San Antonio areas, or riding the Hill Country of Texas.
After our visit at Valhalla, we rode to Minden and had a delicious lunch at Pepe's Mexican restaurant, a family owned establishment. Supporting small businesses and family owned locations is a passion of mine, and there are plenty of them in our area struggling to stay open in this declining economy.
An approximate 40 mile ride later, we found ourselves at Coyote's Bar and Grill, and our choice of drink was water. Yes, water! In the oppressive heat, we needed to rehydrate and let our bodies recover. Finally, cooled off, we were ready for a cold beer and a quick stop in to Mad Dog's shop to browse his wares and say hello to his wife, Mona, who was busy on the sewing machine, taking care of her customers, as always. Mad Dog's is yet another small business I support, and if you're ever in need of leathers or would like some awesome, custom made jewelry, stop by his shop, located behind Coyote's Bar. And, if you need sewing, alterations or custom made clothing, Mona is the person to visit. Finally, it was time to say goodbye to Jon, who was getting ready for the big night at Centurylink Center where the Demented Cycles custom motorcycle would be on display at the CBR (Championship Bull Riding) event. Visit the CBR website to sign up to win the motorcycle. Demented Cycles is entrenched in the motorcycle community and have many events and fund raisers planned. Their next event is scheduled for Sep 25, 2011 in New Braunfels. They have teamed up with Stoney LaRue and other musical artists to put on "Ridin' for a Reason", a motorcycle ride and concert to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and provide an easy way for everyone to show that they care about lives touched by cancer. A small business started by two brothers, Demented Cycles makes custom motorcycles individualized and unique to each owner. If you're in the market for a custom cycle, these are the folks to visit first!
is a destination like no other. It truly is "a step back in time",
attested by the motto plastered on a banner running across the top of
their official website.
Just 58 miles from Shreveport
via Interstate 20 and Hwy 59, it's a great option for a day trip. In
Jefferson, opportunities abound. Visit their official web site for
details, and make sure you don't miss my favorites.
"Holiday Trail of Lights"
- Don't miss one of five cities in Texas and Louisiana that are displaying beautiful holiday lights.
- a variety of food on the menu including chicken fried steak, nachos,
grilled chicken sandwiches, big cheeseburgers, fried pickles and Texas
toothpicks. A great place for a cold beer, too.
Jefferson Old Fashion Hamburger Store
- often overlooked, this small restaurant down the street from Auntie
Skinners has the best burgers in town. Try their sweet potato french
fries; they're yummy.
Excelsiior House Hotel
- Ulysses S. Grant, Oscar Wilde, Rutherford B. Hayes and Lady Bird
Johnson have all stayed here. Steven Spielberg, of ET fame once stayed
here, and reportedly, after seeing an apparition in the night, fled from
hotel. Across the street from Auntie Skinners, it's a short walk to
the General Store and shopping district.
Jefferson General Store and Old Fashioned Soda Fountain
- This is a "must see" while in Jefferson. Pull up a stool and enjoy a
milk shake or a root beer float. And, they always have 5 cent coffee
for visitors. This is the place to purchase souvenirs, pralines, jams
and jellies, candy, t-shirts and more.
The Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk
- Every Friday and Saturday evening, stroll with historian and tour
guide, Jodi Breckenridge, and discover the ghosts of the most haunted
small town in Texas.
Saturday was a great day to ride, and Sunday promised to bring more of the same. I was fortunate enough on Saturday to ride with good friends and participate in a couple of notable fund raisers as well as a birthday celebration. I also found a new favorite hangout, Valhalla Motorcycle Campground and Bar. We met at my house at noon and six bikes took off for an enjoyable "in the wind" experience. Our first stop was the Bossier City Harley Shop where they had free burgers and beer and we met up with a lot of good friends. We made our donation to the Hip Hop and Ride for the Cure fund raiser that is being held to support St. Jude's children's hospital in Memphis. There's a ride scheduled next weekend to Memphis to deliver the donations. Search hip hop and ride for the cure on Facebook for more information. Even if you can't attend the ride, they sure could use your donations. It takes over $1,000,000 a day to keep the hospital operational and there is absolutely no charge to the children's families. After the Harley Shop, we went to Crawfish Hole Number 2 in Dixie Inn for our favorite spring meal of spicy crawdads, tators and corn!
Our next stop was Valhalla where we enjoyed a cold beverage. As temperatures rose into the 90's, we hopped back on the scooters and headed to Coyote's Bar and Grill for a benefit for James "Panther" Stanford, who is battling cancer. Thousands of dollars were raised as the motorcycle community came together to support him and his family.
Finally, we all landed at Harley's Pub in Bossier City where we celebrated our friend, Julie's birthday. Great food and great friends finished out the ride.
On Sunday, our plate was once again full as we left the house at noon with five riders. We first headed to Longwood Grocery where we met up with a couple more riders (who had found my ride to Uncertain on this website, recognized my bike outside, and came in to introduce themselves), and since they were heading to the Lighthouse in Uncertain, we asked them to join us. At the Lighthouse we met up with some more riders, and a couple left our group to depart for home. We hung out with 7 Bridges Coussack's, a friendly motorcycle club, and introduced ourselves. Next we rode to Uncertain Tavern for a spell and then took the 40 mile trip to Archie Hebert's for some fried pickles and beer!
What a great weekend!
Rick Fairless' Stroker's, Dallas is a fun biker destination, albeit, a little bit of a road trip. It's about a three
hour ride from Shreveport to Dallas, and one that is well worth the visit.
Stroker's sits in the middle of downtown Dallas, just off Harry
Hine's Blvd. It's a little hard to find, so take a GPS or google map it
in advance to refer to in case you find yourself driving around in
circles like I did the first time I went there. I keep the Stroker's website
bookmarked, and occasionally revisit it to bring back memories of my
trips to this fun establishment. If you visit the website, among other
interesting facts, you'll learn that Rick was born in Dallas, Texas and
grew up around motorcycles. When he was 19, he went to work for his
uncle at a chain of paint stores that was eventually bought out by
Glidden. There he worked hard and became the number one sales rep in
the country. He worked 20 years for Glidden, and never missed a day of
work, a fact that he is rightfully proud of. And, after 13 years of
owning his own business, Stroker's, he hasn't missed a
day there either. He
claims that he works 13 hours a day, eight days a
week, and is only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days, but he is
It all began in 1996, when Rick tired of big business and the corporate life, followed his dreams and opened an Easyriders
franchise naming it Stroker's. He bought land just six miles outside
of Dallas for the motorcycle shop and two years later opened a bar which
he named the IceHouse Bar and Grill,
after the historical ice houses where men would go and pick up blocks
of ice for their ice boxes (refrigerators) at home. It was a place
where they could drink beer, chew tobacco, play cards and generally just
hangout and have a good time before they went home to mama. Rick liked
the idea of calling the place an ice house. He said he filled it up with
all his goofy stuff that he likes to be around. In 2002, Easyriders
dropped their franchise plan, and Ric was a little scared to lose the
famous Easyriders name, but he says it hasn't hurt him a bit. “I'm just a
lucky chump from Texas. I am so proud to be successful in a business I
truly love”, he says. If you look at Wikipedia , you'llsee that he still has the Easyriders logo painted on the roof. There are plenty of custom bikes on display inside and out,
including my favorite, the Janis Joplin tribute bike. There's a store
full of clothing, bike accessories, Converse shoes, sunglasses, pins,
and just about anything a biker would want or need. And of course, in
the Service Department
you can get a tire changed, get your bike serviced, or other
maintenance completed while you shop or enjoy a cold one at the
IceHouse. On the weekends, you're likely to find 1,000 bikes or more
packed into the large parking lot in the rear of the buildings, and
usually there will be a band playing on stage. And since he opened Stroker's Ink in 2007, you might even find time to get a tattoo or piercing.
This is a family business, and his mom runs the IceHouse. On any
given day, you're sure to see one of his five children, his wife,
brother, sister, mom dad or other family member hard at work making
Stroker's run efficiently. You'll also certainly see Rick. He'll be the
one in the 1960's tie dyed t-shirt and long hair. And although he's a
busy man, he always has time for his customers, to chat a few minutes
and to take photos. He is famous for saying “I'm the owner, but you're
the boss.” And, maybe with that attitude, that is exactly why he is so
In my opinion, Stroker's is not your typical “I'm in it to make
money” kind of business, although I'm sure it brings in plenty. You
won't feel like you're being pressured to buy anything, and you'll be
treated just like an old friend visiting for a cold beer and possibly a
The metroplex of Dallas/Ft. Worth has a reputation for horrendous
traffic jams, road construction, and a distinct lack of available
parking spaces. But, I have found a way to guarantee motorcycle parking
almost anywhere for my ride crew. Fortunately, the two wheeled
vehicles are smaller than the four wheeled variety, and if you’re good,
you can fit four of them in a regular sized spot; we don’t need a lot of
space. Friday night, while in Ft. Worth, I was visiting my brother,
Johnny, and we had five or six bikes traveling the roads of Azle, TX,
just West of Ft. Worth. At Lynn’s, a small biker friendly bar, (like
the Red Barn that
I recently reported on), the owner, Jacky, who also rides, had set out
small, 6” orange traffic cones to mark the spots for his biker
customers. Knowing that Jacky wouldn’t mind, we decided to borrow the
cones for the weekend, and stashed them in the saddlebags of Johnny’s
Road King. Everywhere we went over the weekend, we simply pulled out the
cones and set them up in what would normally be “no parking” areas, to
give the impression that it was designated for us. All we needed was a
sign that said “motorcycle parking”, to look more authentic. Maybe I’ll
buy one to accompany us on our next travels. We had a lot of fun with
the cones; really it doesn’t take much to entertain bikers. Each of
the riders that weekend got their turn at being “coned”. Someone would
sneak outside and surround their bike with the cones, creating a
barricade. We even acquired a real traffic cone at a little store (we
got permission to borrow it, and we did take it back). To get the cone
to our destination, we simply set it on the sissy bar of the only bike
with an available one. We must have looked crazy riding down the
highway with the cone sticking straight up in the air. Like good little
thieves, when the weekend was over, and it was time to go home and get
ready for the Monday morning routine, we returned all of the cones to
their rightful owner. After all, we might want to borrow them again
Often bikers are looking for a place to hang out with other bikers in an
atmosphere where everyone understands their lifestyle, and where they
feel welcome. The old saying “If you have to ask, you wouldn't
understand” is appropriate in this situation. At a biker bar, you don't
have to explain. Everyone knows that you're there because the
atmosphere is inviting and understanding of your needs, and you're
likely to meet others with common interests. You might find 1% clubs or
Harley Owner's Group Members together in the same place, each
respecting the other's right to be there. Over the years, I have,
indeed, met some great friends in local biker bars. There are some famous biker establishments that make for a great road trip such as Rick Fairless' Stroker's in Dallas, but the Bike Barn Saloon
in Sunset, Louisiana is a lot closer, and it's a place where bikers can
go just to hang out and enjoy each other's company. The ride from
Baton Rouge is just over an hour at approximately 70 miles, and the
destination is as far from the hustle and bustle of the city life as one
could ask for. From Baton Rouge take I-10 west and turn North onto
Interstate 49. It's on the Frontage Road, and easy to spot. The large
red barn with the steel roof will alert you that you've arrived.
I first visited the Bike Barn during the 2008 Louisiana State H.O.G.
(Harley Owner's Group), rally, and now it's a favorite. When I arrived, I
easily parked my motorcycle under the ample, covered parking lot, in
front of and attached to the barn, and reserved especially for two and
three wheeled vehicles. The bike parking was easy to maneuver in and
around, and there wasn't any gravel as you might find in many of the
biker bars you visit. Inside, the air conditioning was inviting and the
bartenders (called Bike Barn Angels) were cute, smart and friendly. I
toured the facilities and was pleased with the raucous, yet clean and
comfortable surroundings. The large, four sided bar held the grand
position in the center of the room, and the pool tables were stashed
away in yet a second room. The bar offers specials throughout the week,
and happy hour is Wednesday through Friday from 5-6pm with ½ price mix
drinks and $2 beer or $1 tube shots/their choice. You can also buy a
t-shirt or jacket from the Tack Room that is not only useful, but a
piece of memorabilia from the visit. They hang, displayed on a large
area of one wall, and there is a good selection.
Outside, there's a restaurant and even a tattoo shop. The Bike Barn
offers music on the weekends by local bands like Lil Kenny, Seasoned
Soul, Remy and Trilogy, and there's never a cover charge. Still
outside, you'll find Miss Dee's Bike Barn Kitchen, where there's
cheeseburgers for just $5, and mouthwatering steak, fried shrimp or “the
best pickled quail eggs around” for very reasonable prices. There is
plenty of room for the crowded bar patrons to overflow outside, and the
location is far away from anyone who might complain of the noise. I
got the feeling that the owners were happy to have all the bikers
partying and having a good time at their establishment, and that they
were living their dream. No doubt, the bikers, too, were happy to be
there and share in the dream.
Visit the Bike Barn at 558 I-49 North Frontage