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Rrrrrreving Up For Rrrrrrrockerbox!

by Tea Krulos

Rockerbox is the crowd. “That’s the cool thing about Rockerbox,” Scott Johnson tells me. We’re sitting outside his flagship business, Fuel Café. This type of conversation will be impossible to conduct here August 11, when the street will be filled with revving motorcycles for the fifth annual Rockerbox Motofest.

Johnson thought of the idea along with Scott Radtke, who owns Riverhorse, around the 100th anniversary of Harley Davidson.

“We wanted to have an un-Harley fest,” he says, although later he makes this distinction: “The Journal wrote this piece once, and they got it wrong, because they kind of said we were anti- Harley. We got nothing against Harley fans. We’re just trying to showcase other bikes. It’s not a prefabbed big bike manufacturer showcase, it’s more of a rootsy gathering.”

Rockerbox has evolved over the last five years. Last year there was the experimental merge of Rockerbox and Center Street Daze, which will not be attempted this year. Sources say nobody got exactly what they wanted last year and some felt the two mixed like peanut butter and Tabasco sauce.

Johnson is a biker himself, and enjoys dirt track racing. He owns a 1975 Yamaha 500 and a couple 426 Modern DTX dirt bikes. Fuel Cafe has sponsored a variety of races and individual racers over the years. The Frozen Snot Ride takes place the second weekend in March. It starts at Fuel, carries on to the Nomad, then moves to Bay View with stops at Café Lulu, Frank’s Power Plant, and ends at Palomino to watch the Daytona 200.

Fuel used to sponsor the MTM2TT, a race from Fuel to Bob’s Java Hut in Minneapolis. Fuel had to withdraw official sponsorship due to what’s known in the racing biz as “legal bullshit” but the race still happens. Anonymous organizers put up flyers telling people where to find maps for the racecourse. The whole thing is pretty mysterious.

“Down there, we’ll have a giant tent set up where we’ll have beer vending and give out the awards,” Johnson tells me, pointing to Stonefly brewery.

Rockerbox has a few new categories this year in addition to the standards like Best of awards for Café Racers, Vintage Competition Road Racers, Choppers, Street Trackers, Scooters, European and Japanese Stock, Best of Show, etc.

There is also the Worst Turd award for the junkiest, most unpolishable turdlike bike, and perhaps the ultimate biker price, the coveted Cool As Fuck Award. And if that language is too strong for you or you don’t like the fest set-up in general, be prepared to boo hoo hoo over the Big Baby Award. All of the awards are created from old motorcycle parts from the guys at The Shop, a motorcycle repair shop.

Besides the bikes, music, and beer, the revelry has a good cause. The proceeds from the entry fees go to the Steel Shoe Fund, a non profit that helps injured flat track motorcycle racers with medical bills.

If You Go:
5th Annual Rockerbox
Motofest & Street Party
Saturday, August 11, 11am-7pm
Center Street between Weil and Pierce

Riverwest Currents online edition – August, 2007