Sukhee Goes to Sturgis!


Yes, I got the call! I was going to work for AFT Customs Modeling Agency and attended the largest motorcycle rally in the world. A place I had heard about for its bars as big as small towns, wild parties and wild people, sharing the common ground in their love for the motorcycle industry. People traveled from all over the world to be a part of this annual event. We met folks from Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway and Canada. I had no idea the impact of this experience was going to have on my life and the course it was about to take...

  It took Jim and I two days to drive the truck and trailer about fifteen hundred miles from central California to Sturgis, South Dakota.  As we took in the views of Nevada, the wondrous salt flats of Utah, and then Wyoming, Jim educated me about the "Er Hed." It was his custom creation that was also built with the help of the AFT Customs Models. This bike won 1st at the 2008 Los Angeles Calendar show, along with many other 1st place winnings.  I was proud to promote AFT and the "Er Hed," it is an amazing work of artistry. I shared my love of bikes with Jim, and that some day I wanted one of my own. That's where it began, Jim and I came to the conclusion that the next AFT Customs bike build would be my own personal bike. The AFT Girls and expert guidance of Jim Giuffra were about to explore the concepts of the next creation...and she does have a name...
    Sturgis was pretty country, rolling green hills, trees, blue skies and warm with a bit of humidity. We pulled into the AMD world championship tent so that we could drop off and check in for the competition that was to begin the following day. We watched Roger Goldammer start and run his bike the "Goldmember," and I could tell by Jim's expression and enthusiasm, that this guy must be a 'somebody' in the bike builder world.  That evening we checked into our hotel and got in some of the tourist attractions. I rode on the back of Jim's Honda 650 and we made our way to historical Mt. Rushmore.
    Sunday, the AMD tent was buzzing with builders and spectators. I was to have my first photo session with the "Er Hed." Horst, a well known photographer from Germany was going to be taking the shots. What a great guy he is and one of the hardest working photographers in the industry. Horst mentioned that his colleague Frank, another well known German photographer would also like to use me to be photographed with some of the other custom bikes. So for three days in a row, I got to work with Horst and Frank and pose next to beautiful bikes. In between shoots, I mingled with spectators and met some of the top builders who were more than generous in explaining their bikes and the ideas that inspired them.
    Day two of the AMD show started with a shoot with Brian Fullers military designed bike, inspired by his father. A very cool bike and fun to pose with. The next bike was from Orange County Choppers, super cool considering I use to watch the show. Then a shoot with the "Goldmember." Roger and his friend Jimmy joined me in the shoot, which made it extra fun. I learned that Roger would be taking his masterpiece to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats.  Jim, Roger, Jimmy and I decided to join up and see Deadwood, where the infamous Bill Hickock got shot. Deadwood was a town that old westerns were made of, except now there were no horses just thousands of iron ones. We rode through Spear Fish Canyon, it was a beautiful ride through nature. Then we ended the night at Full Throttle Saloon. Wow, this place was a town of its own. In the center we watched Jason Pullen stand on his gas tank as he did a burn out, good stuff..
    Tuesday.. judging day for the top twelve bikes. I went around with Jim and gave my input on the bikes I really liked and thought were the most innovative. That evening we attended Michael Lichters party at Thunder Road. Jim and I were interviewed by Randy Simpson, owner of Milwaukee Iron. The interview was for "Sturgis Rider Live." My first on camera interview, it wasn't as terrifying as I thought and Randy made it real easy, and fun. We talked with Randy about the next Aft bike build and he was gracious in donating fenders. 
    Wednesday, today the winners of the AMD World Championships are to be announced. One could feel the tension and suspense crowding the tent. The emotions ran deep for these talented bike builders. All of their hard work was about to be paid off. I realized as I looked at all the bikes, that there were no losers here, only inspired professionals that had the dedication and follow through to show up and show off their efforts.
Winner for the metric division..AFT Customs! The "Er Hed" also came in twelfth in the over all freestyle, This is major for a metric bike, especially since there were about sixty eight bikes entered. Second place went to Sepp from Germany. His "Seppster" bike was amazing with it's spiked tires for riding in the ice and snow. First place went to Roger Goldammer's "Goldmember." This is Roger's third world championship, well done and well deserved. That evening we celebrated with Steven, Roger and his close friend Jimmy. Steven is a young man we met at the AMD show. A real pleasure to hang out with. His mother Suzanne is a well known artist that does beautiful paintings of custom cars and bikes. We hope to work with her one day. The night ended at "Loud America," a popular bar that was wall to wall with people having a great time. Live music was playing and the voice was so was Axel Rose who played a couple of sets. Good times, great people and a perfect ending to the AMD Championship.
    Thursday, we showed up at the Legends Top 50 show and entered the competition. There was lots of quality networking and once again AFT Customs won the metric class! I rode into the tent on the bike sitting in front of Jim. Even though at first I wasn't too sure how it would look, Jim was right and it was a good photo opportunity and the spectators liked it. There were no women that entered the bike build this year, although next year there will be..That evening we attended a private party held by Grease Monkey. This was one of the highlights of my whole journey. I felt welcomed in the inner circle of custom bike building on an intellectual level. No one cared how much I knew, just that I cared to know and understand. I met Allan Krause and he explained the spiritual inspiration behind one of his creations, "The Mongolian Horse." It was truly touching and I was moved that he took the time.
    Friday, we entered the Keith Ball Show at Thunder Road. More networking and mingling with spectators. Jim and I did another camera interview, and also mentioned the next build that would be my own personal bike. The interview went well, I could get use to this! The "Er Hed" once again won "Best of Show!" Three out of three shows entered were won. It was truly amazing and Jim Giuffra is ridiculously talented with an unbelievable work ethic, he deserved every win.
    After the last show it was time to hit the road back home to California. We had our last meal in Sturgis, buffalo steaks, so yummy. Then a little shopping, and pictures of main street. I was still in awe, at the mere spots of concrete in between all the metal and chrome, bikes went on forever...
    As we made the travels home Jim and I talked a lot about my bike. He asked me what I would want to name it. I have named plenty of horses, dogs and cats, but a bike? After several moments, it came to me. My alter ego that I had joked about through out the years. The part of me that is rebellious and doesn't care what people think. The sexy and provocative girl with no fear, motivated by adventure and the quest to live life like she means it. The name of this alter ego is... LowLa, and that will be the name of my bike.
    I am so grateful to work for AFT Customs and Jim Giuffra. I get to work with really nice girls, Melanie, Elaina, Kyle, Sara, Jeanine,and Andrea who all also happen to be beautiful and professional. I look forward in getting greasy with them as we all take part in the building of LowLa.