How Motorcycle Riders Beat the Winter Blues

First year motorcycle show gives much-needed boost to Oregon bike scene.

A steady Oregon rain didn’t stop motorcycle enthusiasts from showing up in droves for the first-annual Cherry City Classic. Motorcycles stretched from end to end of the cavernous Jackman-Long Building in Salem, vendors like Timber Town Harley-Davidson and moto artist Tony Morgan surrounded its perimeter, and a slew of tattoo artists clustered on one end. From a restored 1948 panhead barn find to a heavily patinaed 1935 VLD, vintage motorcycles were well represented at a diverse and eclectic show.

The Cherry City Classic is the brainchild of Marc Gore, a fixture of Salem motorcycle culture. Once upon a time, the void of motorcycle activities in Oregon during February was filled by The One Motorcycle Show, but since it moved to April, opportunities to gather en masse for some good old-fashioned biker fun are almost nil. Gore put together all the right ingredients for a stellar first-year event. The style and quality of the custom motorcycles ran the gamut. You could get fresh ink if you wanted to or have a part freshly pinstriped. Food, drinks, and a combination of live and DJ music set a relaxing vibe. It being a smaller event, everybody was amicable and approachable, and at night, all you had to do was cross the fairgrounds to go watch some bar-bangin’ flat-track racing indoors, sheltered from the rain.

Top honors in the invitational bike show went to Seth and Casey Neefus of Red Clouds Collective for their custom 1957 Triumph Tiger T110 called “Green Dream.” The pre-unit motorcycle is the result of eight months of fabricating and customizing by the Neefus brothers, who built it for Born-Free 2023 as one of the invited builders. Mike Aldridge won the award for Top Twin Cam with his 2001 Harley Low Rider called “Darla the Dyna.” Aldridge named the motorcycle after his Mom, who taught him how to ride and her ashes are in the frame of his daily rider. The “McShovel,” featuring a twisted Ronald McDonald paint job on the tank, a wicked redheaded Ronald suicide shifter, and an air cleaner shaped like large fries, was also a fan favorite.

When the sun went down, the action shifted to the comfy confines of Salem Indoor Speedway for a full slate of flat-track action. Despite a steady Oregon drizzle, the covered track was well prepped and tacky, and racing was top-notch. The crowd cheered as champions of tomorrow pinned their 50cc dirt bikes fearlessly around the same track as the pros. Quad and three-wheeler races added to the entertainment. The smell of two-stroke smoke and the bellow of bikes on the boil filled the air. Pro American Flat Track racer Davis Fisher pocketed the Dash for Cash money in a night full of high-spirited action as a day spent checking out custom bikes and watching dirt track racing was just what bikers needed to chase away the winter blues.

Ken Simons’ “Oh So Orange” 1946 Knucklehead bobber sat diamond-like in the center of the Jackman-Long Building during the first-annual Cherry City Classic invitational bike show.Bryan Harley
Seth and Casey Neefus of Red Clouds Collective, who built this beautiful 1957 Triumph pre-unit custom for Born-Free 2023, won the Grand Champion award at the Cherry City Classic.Bryan Harley
Custom motorcycles, live music, tattoo artists, vendors—the Cherry City Classic featured plenty of much-needed biker fun.Bryan Harley
Timber Town Harley-Davidson, a big supporter of the show, turned this 2005 XL1200 into the perfect ripper for Oregon fire roads.Bryan Harley
Artist and builder Tony Morgan (left) chats it up while showcasing some of his captivating creations.Bryan Harley
The track was tacky and the racing was fast at Salem Indoor Speedway as riders competed for cash prizes at the Cherry City Classic.Bryan Harley
Quads were comin’ in hot at the Cherry City Classic dirt track races.Bryan Harley
Between its Ronald McDonald suicide shifter, large fries air cleaner, and a wicked rendition of the iconic clown on its gas tank, the “McShovel” was a fan favorite.Bryan Harley
And the award for coolest air cleaner cover goes to—”McChopper”!Bryan Harley
Every good bike show deserves a burnout or two.Bryan Harley
Mike Aldridge’s 2001 H-D Low Rider, named “Darla the Dyna” after his Mom, who taught him how to ride, won Top Twin Cam at the 2024 Cherry City Classic.Bryan Harley
The tank of this sweet hardtail scoot was dripping in gold leaf.Bryan Harley
Salem, Oregon–based artist and muralist @jonezyartwork travels to different events like the Cherry City Classic doing live painting demonstrations and selling his original artwork.Bryan Harley
Dale Pader had three motorcycles on display at the Cherry City Classic, including these gorgeous Vicla-style Road Kings.Bryan Harley
We think Lemmy would have approved of this high-powered Motorhead chopper.Bryan Harley
Tattoo artists were busy at the Cherry City Classic because there were lots of riders looking to get new ink.Bryan Harley
Classic rock filled the air as the DJ kept it old school with vinyls spinning on a Numark.Bryan Harley
It was a family affair at the Cherry City Classic flat-track races as champions of tomorrow anxiously waited for their turn to spin fast laps.Bryan Harley
Sketchy three-wheelers on a fast dirt track in Salem on a Saturday night—now that’s entertainment!Bryan Harley
This Triumph rider looks like he’s seen his fair share of storms.Bryan Harley
Oregon enthusiasts didn’t let a little rain dampen their spirits as many still rode to the show.Bryan Harley