From Mama Tried to Mama Done and Did It!
There's something ineffable and special when Harley Davidson sponsors a multifaceted weekend on their own turf, amidst their own adult playground in none other than Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Never more in my motorcycle show attendance has "there's no place like home" rang true than at the Mama Tried Motorcycle Show and Flat Out Friday, 2021.
For its 8th year, this years events felt like a homecoming in a major way. Allow me to take you back a bit…
…For many, memories of the start of the pandemic was marked by The Mama Tried Show 2020, which was ultimately shut down before it even began on the Thursday afternoon prior to the event kickoff, as vendors, builders, journalists, staff and more had all arrived, or were on their way (some in mid-airplane flight or driving) to Milwaukee from all parts of North America. What remained were many nights (and even more beers to throw back) at Fuel Cafe, boonie bike races galore, an outdoor vendor market and the question in everyones minds of what was to come in the days and months to follow.
Flash forward a year and half to when Mama Tried again, and well, Mama done did it! While pre-party events took place Wednesday evening, our arrival Thursday night landed us at the Harley Davidson Museum where boonie bikes were raced and flat track racers displayed what heat they were packing for the following day at the Flat Out Friday indoor flat track races.
Friday morning came early at Fiserv Forum, a new venue to the races at Milwaukees newest arena that is the home of NBA Champions, the Bucks Basketball team. Racers unloaded their bikes, tools and gear, then made way into the pits to run their practice and qualifying heats on the track, better known as the “Milwaukee Syrup.” Syrup being a Dr. Pepper sprayed and coated concrete where rubber is then intentionally laid down for traction. The evening hours led to open doors for spectators to arrive for the main event where many heats were raced from boonie-bikes to hoooligans, vintage, bicycle races for the kiddos, women’s open and the infamous, goofball class, to name a few.
Saturday and Sunday welcomed hundreds to the Eagles Ballroom. A large event space inclusive of multiple levels and spaces for a multitude of vendors found in every direction, all leading to centerstage which was not the stage itself but rather the ballroom floor, where custom bikes of all mediums, backgrounds and influence were displayed from survivor chopper to an incognito Honda dressed up as jet-ski which swept the goofball class main event for first place. Classic, out of this world, historical, and all the proof that “if you can dream it, you can build it.” It was all there and hopefully you were too!
From everything I've heard, Mama Tried has served as a source of inspiration for many whom end up returning following years into a new pastime from custom street builders expanding their repertoire and riding skills by showing up following years onto the flat track and vice versa. I've met countless people, especially in the midwest who originated their want and will to race, build and display, however they can, their passions for their two-wheeled counterparts however they've dreamed to do so. Mama Tried is a springboard, better yet, it's the Mecca to try new things and keep life long passions alive and well.
Perhaps ignorance is bliss having not known what would have been if the show carried on in 2020. I am left happy and full of memories knowing better now of what Flat Out Friday and Mama Tried are all about. Mama Tried Weekend is a show and one hell-of-a party all in one. Like any motorcycle inspired gathering, the meaning and importance of the milestones reached and memories made go far beyond the mechanical aspects and machinery alone. It’s about the heart and soul-fueled passion of all the people who make weekends like this possible. The dreamers. The believers. The doers.
Special thanks to co-founders and wizards to this “Oz,” Warren Heir Jr., Jeremy Prach and Scott Johnson. Hats off in addition to the sponsors, staff, builders, racers, artists, vendors, enthusiasts, and attendees at large. To the city of Milwaukee itself, where every storefront seemed to be a bar and to those who came before us... thank you all for keeping the passion and dream alive. And as a Harley owner myself, I’ll say it again… there’s no place like home!
In case you missed the 2021 events, Mama Tried and Flat out Friday dates for 2022 are already set during their normal timeframe of mid-to-late winter. Just shy of 3 months away, come experience it for yourself. Mark next years calendar, make your travel plans, and see you there, March 4th-6th, 2022!
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