Mark Daley, owner of Thunderstruck Custom Bikes, stands with the Billy Bike. - Jamie Lusch

Thunderstruck for kids

For those who can't get enough of the "Easy Rider" legacy, Mark Daley of Thunderstruck Custom Bikes is making the iconic choppers of Captain America and Billy appear on the streets of the Rogue Valley.

Daley has built a Peter Fonda chopper replica for J.R. Lamsindorf and is working on Dennis Hopper's ride for J.R.'s brother, Mark Lamsindorf, owners of Star Body Works in Medford.

The Easy Rider choppers set the theme for the 12th annual Thunderstruck Custom Bikes Xtreme Bike Show and Street Party on Saturday, Aug. 23.

The event will fill Medford's Front Street with gleaming choppers, baggers, street bikes and racers; not to mention food vendors, music, a beer garden and above all, lots of riders and families having a good time.

Registration for the bike show costs $10 and begins at 11 a.m. in front of Habañeros Mexican Restaurant, 142 N. Front St., in downtown Medford. Habañeros has been one of the event's primary sponsors since it started in 1996. The judging goes on from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and trophies in a wide variety of classes are awarded at around 3:30 p.m., Daley says.

The motorcycle categories include everything from full-blown customs to your everyday street ride. There's a "Ladies' " class, and, new this year, there's a "Metric Cruiser" class for motorcycles built in other lands.

All proceeds from the bike show, vendors, and other sources go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Jackson and Josephine counties. In 2007, the Thunderstruck event earned $18,000 in a four-hour period for the clubs.

It's the support of the Boys and Girls Clubs that keeps Daley going. He says he almost stopped producing the bike show after the 10th year, "But I got letters from the kids in the Boys and Girls Clubs thanking me, and the kids drew posters saying 'Go Thunderstruck,' when I was competing nationally," Daly says.

"It tugs at my heart," he adds. "It takes a little bit of my time, but that makes it all worthwhile. Anytime we can keep a kid in Boys and Girls Clubs so they can get some direction, that's the biggest thing of all."

Daley, 42, started out fixing friends' Harleys in the garage of his Medford home, and grew his business to include servicing, repairing and rebuilding customer bikes, and building custom motorcycles for customers. He has won numerous trophies from custom bike shows across the country and has had his creations featured in many national magazines.

One of Daley's recent customs pays tribute to veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars and World War II. It was the focus of his 2007 bike show in Medford. Now it's a featured attraction at the "Shasta Salute to America Motorcycle Rally" set for Labor Day weekend in Tulelake, Calif. For more on that rally, see www.shastasalutetoamerica.com

There will be a few new wrinkles at this year's Street Party:

  • The "Hot August Ink" tattoo competition will be held at 2 p.m. in front of Howiee's on Front Street
  • KBOY FM will do a live remote from the bike show, offering five people attending the show a shot at a "Bullitt" Mustang giveaway the radio station is promoting. That's a replica of the car Steve McQueen drove in the famous chase scene in the movie "Bullitt"
  • A "Screaming Eagle Only" class is being added to the bike show for riders who have customized their bikes with Harley-Davidson's line of add-on products
  • Custom, muscle and exotic cars will be on display as eye candy for participants, not to compete in the contest
  • Stuff for the kids, including sno-cones, face painting, and good stuff to eat from the vendors

Daley reminds bikers that the show isn't just for radical customs.

"People can bring their everyday riders," he says. "We want people to participate with their pride and joy, not just showbikes."

Sponsors and vendors include Habañero's Mexican Restaurant, D&S Harley-Davidson, Oregon Motorcycle Adventures, Next Concepts, Elite Scooter Sales, Every Little Detail painters and others.

Raffle prizes will include tool sets, Hellgate Jetboat rides for two, a stay in a Rogue Regency hotel suite, a wine refrigerator full of wine, and many others.

Daley says he believes the economy and fuel prices will have a positive effect on this year's bike show.

"I have a feeling this year's show will be a lot bigger because people are staying in the area," he says. "And they're riding their bikes."

Mark Howard is a Mail Tribune copy editor. Reach him at 776-4475, or e-mail mhoward@mailtribune.com.

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