The "20th Anniversay Kern River Fats Memorial Run" took place this last weekend at McNally's / Fairview Campground along the upper Kern River and what an incredible amount of survivors, most still solid runners, gathered in one place to celebrate the life and love of one man who made such an impact on motorcycle history and the direction of how "choppers" would be thought of, even if history hasn't given him the fame one might expect in life and in death, the fact that this memorial has occurred now 20 times is a statement upon itself by those who truly understand.
So who was he? He's been called "the other South Bay Builder" besides Dick Allen, Fats Noriega outside (Sportsters Haven) his shop, (pic above) taken in the 70's, picture originally posted by his son and by Mark on MCArt Webzine (LINK HERE) taken directly across the street from what is now the Gasser Lounge (you might not recognize the building, but rest assured that's your favorite watering hold way way back in the day... He built long bikes amongst a group of Southbay Originals who's true impact can not simply be expressed in a short paragraph here on this blog.
In typical Lady Hump fashion, we screened a bunch of free shop rags to hand out to the "old guys" who would appreciate the gesture up at the rally point. Never before have I heard so many people say they'll proudly display this shop rag framed under glass when they get home. It was truly a pleasure to pass these out with Mike Torres throughout camp, hear the stories people had and shake the hands of guys who (unbeknown to them at the time) help lay the foundation of what choppers are thought of today, that plus a whole lot more...
Of the nearly 20 Fats Survivors that made it to the Kern, our own Cowboy Greg had the fate of resurrecting a classic Fats build and getting it up and over the grape vice from the South Bay, and into the line of survivors at McNally's Resort and Restaurant. That's not to say he didn't have his fair share of adventure along the way, we did. You might even notice in the picture above, the cap is missing from the typical reserve tank (a very common accessories on Fats builds, designed for long runs). Well, not to loose any part of history trust to him, when we returned home along the same route, Greg actually took the time to find and RECOVER his missing reserve tank cap! Talk about spotting the needle in the haystack aye!?! He also burned out his ignition wiring and had to do a roadside re-wire in the truck lane of Highway 5 above Pyramid Lake.
Although we rode up in a small pack, many other South Bay residents, some "lifers", some current, some new, most old, and those who brought their entire families, made the trek up to the Kern River. I'd estimate there was a 300+ people there celebrating the event camped throughout the Fairview campground and lodged at the resort directly next to the camp. Activities were scheduled throughout the day on Saturday, and I was able to photograph most of them including tons of awesome riding shots which I'll be posting throughout the week.
Our typical back-of-the gas station roadside stop about midway to the Kern. So yeah, you know we brought a little bit of our own Lady Hump zaniness up to the Kern with our regular cast members in attendance too... those pictures should be entertaining.
Hope you enjoy all the upcoming pictures as much as I enjoyed attending the event and experiencing this small yet influential little bit of history!