The 18th Annual Indian Larry Block Party: Our Review
We have exhibited at or attended a lot of great motorcycle shows and events around the world, from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to the Mooneyes Kustom Kulture Show in Japan, to name two. However, very few of them have the same raw energy and excitement as the Indian Larry Annual Motorcycle Block Party. The event was started 18 years ago by the legendary man and bike builder, Indian Larry. Even after his untimely death in 2004, this annual event is still going strong today. The event has moved over the years, but was always held in Brooklyn, New York. For the last couple of years, it has taken place on the same block as the Indian Larry Shop. It's located in an industrial area that has been slowly gentrified over the years, but the shop still has that grit and grimy feel of Brooklyn in the 1970s, back when New York was known as Fear City. The event takes place on the third Saturday in September, and usually the day is sunny and hot. This year held the tradition. Although there was rain on all the days leading up to the event, Saturday was sunny and temperatures were in the high 80s.
Locked and Loaded: The Riders Start Rolling In
The event went on last year, but with the COVID issues, we skipped being part of the 2020 show, which was definitely a hard decision to make. So, doing it again this year was something we have been looking forward to for months. The event's start time is noon, but riders were already rolling in by 10 a.m. After our 9 a.m. arrival, we began to unload our trailer, set up our tent, wheel out our car front end display, and set our products on their hooks to satisfy the early crowd that was ready to spend some cash. By the time it was noon, the block was lined on each side of the street with tents and vendors. A wide array of T-shirts, riding gear, motorcycle paintings and bike parts spread out on the sidewalk. Motorcycle after motorcycle was parked down the middle of the street. Once the main street overflowed with bikes, all the surrounding blocks filled up with every type of Harley and V-Twin, from stock to custom-built.
Excitement at the Wall of Death
Interestingly, the event had a first this year: Rhett Rotten had set up his wooden Wall of Death to thrill the crowd. It's one thing to see videos of a Wall of Death attraction - it's something totally different to see it live and in person. Rhett Rotten travels across the U.S., setting up this classic carnival attraction that was constructed in 1938. During the show, Rhett rides a vintage motorcycle up and around the vertical walls, performing cool tricks as he goes. Hold out a cash tip and it's gone in a blink of an eye. To see the show, you climb up a set of stairs to the top of the attraction and look down into this wooden contraption. Later in the day, an all-out brawl broke out among some spectators. One guy was trying to throw another guy into the pit, which was more than a 40-foot drop. Luckily, the fight was eventually broken up. That would not have been a pretty scene. At the very least, we got to see some excitement in AND above the Wall of Death!
Witness Skilled Stunt Riders
After we got our fill of the Wall of Death, the smell of burning rubber and the noise of revving motorcycles had the crowd running towards the next streets over, where the East Coastin' Crew was laying down some rubber. These guys are a motorcycle stunt group from New Haven, Connecticut, who perform on Harleys. From full-on Baggers to Dynas, these guys require an unbelievable amount of skill (not to mention big balls) to do the tricks they pull off. The crowd lined up on both sides of the street, as the East Coastin' boys tore down the Brooklyn asphalt doing wheelies, side-to-side burnouts and standing wheelies, really pushing the boundaries of their bikes. Some collateral damage is expected, so it was not a shock when they hit some parked bikes and cars. Occasionally an out-of-control bike would fly into the crowd of spectators - and everyone loved it! The grand finale was a six-bike tire burnout. The smoke was so thick that you couldn't see your hands in front of your, but getting hit with specs of hot tire rubber only had the crowd wanting more. After a quick tire install, the guys were back at it again. This stunting was going on all day, not only by the East Coastin' Crew, but by individual daredevils that pulled out any tricks they knew to get a piece of the action.
Motorcycle Artwork to Remember
If you wanted to take a break from all the action outside, you could head into the Grind House Art Gallery, which is set up inside the garage of Indian Larry. Motorcycle-related artwork was on display, along with an exhibit of custom-built bikes by talented motorcycle builders, both old and new from around the U.S. As always, it was amazing to see the Japanese artist Makoto Endo painting a portrait of an Indian Larry bike. He set up a white canvas on the floor in front of the motorcycle, and using knee pads, he kneeled on the canvas to apply his art. Makoto's one-of-a-kind technique is simple yet powerful. He flings India Ink onto the canvas, using bamboo chopsticks to create a detailed portrait of the motorcycle set up before him. Once you spend a good amount of time admiring the motorcycle-related art and custom-built bikes, you can go into the Indian Larry showroom to view some of his most famous motorcycles, along with photos and artwork of the legendary bike builder.
Meet Other Bikers and More
With stunt rider entertainment, custom bikes, killer artwork, music, food and the vast array of products from a large group of vendors, it's safe to say that this one-day show packed a pretty big punch. Our Lethal Threat booth was busy from the start to the very end. It's always great to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones. This is definitely a show that we suggest putting on your bucket list. Needless to say, there are plenty of stories and memories from the 18th Annual Indian Larry Block Party to keep you excited and looking forward to the next one.