On Saturday June 2nd, S&S® / Flathead Power® made the scene at the second annual Knuckle Shuffle (don’t look this up on Urban Dictionary) in Yuba, Wisconsin. For 364 days of the year, Yuba is a quiet, rural village located about half way between Madison and La Crosse, WI, but Saturday was a little different. Several hundred motorcyclists gathered in Yuba for the Knuckle Shuffle, a fund raising event for the chopper class at Kennedy High School in Lakeville, MN. The weather cooperated with a nearly perfect day for an outdoor motorcycle event.
Many of the attendees showed up on vintage bikes in various conditions from original paint to fully restored. (Check out our photo gallery below) The vintage bikes alone would have been a good enough reason to show up at the Shuffle, but there were a whole lot of other good reasons too. The first and foremost reason to be there is the financial support the event provides for Kevin (the Teach) Baas’ Industrial Arts class at Kennedy High School. This is a high school class where they actually build choppers! S&S Sales Manager and Knuckle Shuffle event instigator Jeremy Gilbert says, “Initial figures show that this year’s event was a little larger than the first Shuffle, and by the time the smoke clears and the bills are paid, there should be about $4000 available to donate to Kevin’s class and possibly to some additional schools with similar programs.” Supporting the Chopper Class is the primary reason for the Knuckle Shuffle event, but there’s no reason why you can’t have a good time doing something good!
The atmosphere at the Shuffle is very laid back and easy going. As Jeremy puts it, “The Knuckle Shuffle isn’t like the bigger rallies where it sometimes seems like a war between T-shirt vendors, in the middle of a rock concert, with motorcycles in the background. We keep it pretty real, and it’s easy just to relax and enjoy yourself. It’s about the chopper class, it’s about the bikes, and it’s about simply having a good time with your friends.”
There were two rockin’ bands on hand to provide music for the event. Annie C. and the Roundervilles from Madison, WI started it off with classic rock and blues. They even convinced the S&S Marketing Manager, Bruce Tessmer, to get up and jam a few tunes with them. After a suitable recovery period, The Krank Daddies from Chicago, IL put on a great rock-a-billy show until late in the evening. Of course, a full range of shenanigans are inevitable when motorcycles congregate. A good time was had by all those present.
Just before the Krank Daddies got down to it, Jeremy gave away the raffle items from all the various sponsors, including a brand new Anders Nygren signature series 93" engine from Flathead Power®/S&S®. Dan Grosskopf of Minneapolis, MN took home the motor. Dan doesn’t currently own a motorcycle, but he thinks now he might have to build one. Other sponsors included Baker Drive Train, Crane Cams, Cycle Source Magazine, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Builtwell Inc, Baas Metal Craft, Frame Lock, Gear Driven Performance, Lowbrow Customs, Faribault Harley-Davidson®, Sucker Punch Sally’s of Wisconsin, The Symco Shakedown, The Knucklehead Company, Smiley’s Cycle Works, Full Throttle Bar, Sinclair Art, Bodie Design, and Lake Muskego Lake Trash.
The word is getting out about the Knuckle Shuffle. This year, there were several representatives of the motorcycle press hanging about and taking it all in. Hopefully a few articles will come out of the experience. Ken Kick from the Garage Kickers TV show was on hand to shoot an episode about the Shuffle. Ken ended up with some really cool interviews with industry notables and a lot of footage showing how it’s done in the big town. Yuba, WI – population 91.
Plans are already in the works for Knuckle Shuffle #3 in June of 2013. Good things come in threes!
S&S® Cycle, Inc. of Viola, Wisconsin invites anyone with an interest in vintage bikes, technical education, or just having a good time to attend the second annual Knuckle Shuffle in Yuba, Wisconsin.
The Knuckle Shuffle is a vintage motorcycle event that will take place in the normally quiet farming village of Yuba, Wisconsin, located about half way between Madison and La Crosse. This S&S sponsored event is actually a fundraiser cleverly disguised as a party! Metal shop instructor Kevin Baas, aka “the Teach,” is the founder of the chopper building class at Kennedy High School in Lakeville, Minnesota and he – along with many supporters – is trying to keep the class available to his students after funding was cut to an all time low.
The Knuckle Shuffle was conceived and organized by S&S Sales Manager Jeremy Gilbert. Jeremy was a college friend of Kevin’s and when he heard the news that the chopper class budget was barely able to sustain the class, he came up with a plan to help keep it going. The first Knuckle Shuffle in 2011 provided $3300.00 for Kevin’s class at KHS. Doubling that amount is the goal for 2012. And the wheels are in motion to donate money to other high schools with similar programs. Corby Bodenburg, another classmate and Jeremy’s right hand man, has donated countless hours of graphic and web design to help out this event.
Corby Bodenburg and Jeremy Gilbert (bottom left) present Kevin Baas and his chopper class the check from last year's event.
The residents of Yuba and the surrounding area stepped up and pitched in to help make the first Knuckle Shuffle a success. S&S Cycle jumped at the chance to sponsor a local event for such a good cause. Says S&S Director of Sales and Marketing Gary Wenzel, “S&S Cycle has always supported technical education and the local community. First and foremost, education is what the Knuckle Shuffle is all about, and of course it’s right in our back yard. Yuba is only about 20 miles from Viola, and the tie in with our Flathead Power® line of vintage engine parts makes this a perfect fit.”
If this year’s Knuckle Shuffle is anything like the first one, you’ll see more original running knuckles, flatties, and Indians® in one place than you’ve ever seen before, or are likely to see again. Not to mention a lot of other rare and unique vintage machines. Rest assured that you don’t have to show up riding a knucklehead. The main thing is to come and have a good time… and of course support the Teach’s chopper class! Good times for a good cause!
Bruce from S&S interviews Kevin Bass from last year's Knuckle Shuffle
To make the party even more fun, an Anders Nygren signature KN-Series engine by Flathead Power (FHP) will be given away in a drawing to be held Saturday evening June 2nd. This is a special limited edition of the FHP KN93 engine, which boasts a 93 cubic inch displacement and the signature of Anders Nygren, the founder of the original Flathead Power Company in Sweden, CNC engraved on the cam cover.
It all starts on Friday, June 1st, when folks start showing up and getting ready for the main event. On Saturday, June 2nd, four rides from four different locations in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin will converge in Yuba for live music, food, good times, and an engine giveaway drawing. Sunday, those still standing can take a tour of the S&S manufacturing facility in nearby Viola, Wisconsin.
Shenanigans from the First Annual Knuckle Shuffle
For more information about the Knuckle Shuffle, visit the event website at www.theknuckleshuffle.com.
Beautiful days and a lush green scenery are not uncommon – at least in the summertime – to folks who live in Wisconsin. The riders of S&S Cycle got together for the tenth annual memorial ride honoring S&S Founders George and Marjorie Smith. It was a gorgeous day for a ride, 37 riders gathering for a route that took us winding through the beautiful countryside and Home to S&S, the driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin.
Two groups, one starting in Viola and another in La Crosse, met at Jersey Valley county park where current S&S president George B. Smith (son of George and Marjorie) gave a speech commemorating his parents and thanking all of the riders for their enthusiasm and hard work.
"My parents started this company in 1958, to make high performance parts for american v-twins. It's all of you who have taken our motto "Proven Performance" to the next level, and helped shape the company into what it is today. I look forward to the years ahead and thank you for your hard work. Now, get out and ride!"
Motorcycling is an important part of life for many S&S employees, as it was for George and Marjorie Smith, both avid riders and enthusiasts.
Following the Memorial Ride, employees and family enjoyed a picnic bash, including a feast of BBQ favorites, games, a bouncy castle (not just for the kids) and camaraderie.
Just recently, S&S had a visitor. Unlike many of the visitors we get who ride in on their motorcycles, Milo brought something much more unique. Milo and Joni Anderson were touring the US once again and attending the Rolling Thunder run to support our veterans. On their tour, they stopped by our headquarters and we had a chance to talk with Milo and Joni about the work-in-progress that is Milo's rat bike. The video below will get you a close up look at all the detail of Milo's rat bike.
June 4, Yuba Wisconsin - The first annual Knuckle Shuffle!
Knuckle what? And what's a Yuba?
First things first. The Knuckle Shuffle is a fundraiser for a high school shop class that actually builds choppers. The purpose of this ride is to raise money for the Kennedy High School Chopper Class in Bloomington, MN. Every year Kevin “Teach” Baas reaches out to the motorcycle industry to help support his class. This ride was dedicated to him and his class to ease the burden and keep the chopper class alive! About 300 people joined us for the ride and enjoyed some of the coolest scooters, incredible food, and the best music around. All bikes were welcome, but this ride was dedicated to the vintage iron and keeping history alive! This was an old school ride, participants were encouraged to pack their sleeping bag, pack their tent and prepare for a fun weekend.
The ride consisted of two routes to Yuba, one left from The Ole Piper Inn in Lakeville, MN and the other from The Shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both rides converged on Yuba, Wisconsin at the Full Throttle Bar, for a street party, bands, burnouts, and fun. The next day, a Plant tour of S&S Cycle in Viola, WI was available for ride participants.
Yuba is a small town (pop. 91) in southwest Wisconsin, were their community spirit and love of a good time contributed to the success of the Shuffle. Motorcycles, food, and great music in a rural setting made for a great event with a relaxed old school atmosphere. Lot's of vintage bikes (predominantly knuckles) were ridden from impressive distances to attend the event, proving that the American spirit of adventure is alive and well. The choice of food was impressive, but the roast pork sandwiches provided by the Yuba fire department were just too good! Then there was the music. The Trunk Monkeys from La Crosse, WI started it off at about 4:00 pm followed by the Eric Tessmer Band from Austin TX at 8:00 pm. Great times!
The event was so successful that event organizer Jeremy Gilbert tells us that over $2800 were raised to support the Kennedy High School Chopper Class! S&S Cycle is all about having a good time, but supporting education has always been a top priority. That is especially true of technical education, and if it involves motorcycles, even more so. As Kevin "Teach" Baas say's "It's for the kids!"
A good time was had by all, and plans are underway even now for the second annual Knuckle Shuffle!