Custom Chrome Europe meets "Redskins" and Riders – the Indians are back in town!
(*Goodbye/See you/farewell in Lakota)

Tókša akhé* Budweis!

Bigger, better but the last Pow Wow in Budweis: Indian Riders Fest 2024 with superb Bike-Show and state-of-the-art program!

June 13th to 16th 2023, Budweis (České Budějovice) /Czech Republic: Indian Riders Fest #4, definitely the largest gathering of Indian Motorcycle owners in Europe, attracted thousands of new and old Indian riders to Southern Bohemia! The Custom Chrome Europe team was present, rode the parade, judged the bikeshow – and sponsored the class winners with € 4.000,-- in parts vouchers. 

But it was probably the last time that the rumble of American-made V-Twins echoed in the scenic streets of České Budějovice, a last parade stop on the iconic Budweis market square - and the last time at the now established facilities of the Budweis Výstaviště fairgrounds which hosted the ever-growing event since its premiere in 2019. An estimated 4.500+ visitors from all over the world – including Indian VIPs from the US racing and customizing scene – arrived in Czech Republic for a well-organized event that underlined the potential of the brand which - has won a lot of new riders since the first 2019 Rally in Budweis! Indian Dealers rode in with clients and privateers arrived from as far as Norway and Qatar. And Ola Stenegärd, Indian Product Design Director finally making it to the event, had a surprise re-encounter with one of his 20+ year old design projects! The third "Indian Only" Bikeshow was held during the Budweis event in style and underlined the quality of Indian-Customizing: Incredible machines of outstanding quality in all categories were shown. And outside the bikeshow hall, the party was rocking three days and nights: Again, Indian Riders Fest was THE 2024 "Pow Wow" for Indian-powered riders from all around Europe!

Almost as soon as the doors of the Indian Riders Fest Bike Show pavilion opened on Thursday morning, the show bikes started rolling in! And what a line-up! In just 4 editions, Indian Riders Fest has not just grown into a superb Indian and Indian fans riding event, but a superb "Indian Only" bike show, presenting the very best of all new Indian motorcycles plus a retrospective on classic Indian "Motocycles" from 1901 to 1953. Including a very interesting addition of the historic Indian-CZ connection after World War II, which saw Indian's Czech-built two strokes competing with Harley-Davidson's 125 S, both from the same origin, the German DKW 125 RT which was present at the event in three very different variations! While the bikeshow team, again led by "Madness Photography" Onno Wieringa as Chief Judge and organizer was photographing the incoming custom beauties, IRF visitors started rolling in from all over Europe – and beyond! 

With a re-arranged event calendar, Thursday, Friday and Saturday have been designated the main event days. Sunday, as visitors often ride several hundreds, if not thousands of kilometers, was now available to return home, as many riders did in previous years. Vendors and facilities were set up in time – and by Friday, Budweis also heard the familiar sound of V-Twin motorcycles in the town center and the roads around the main Show-Hotel and many other pensions and hotel well booked for the 4th edition of this relaxed and cool event. 

Indian Riders Fest is known for it's all-out and late into the night program – and 2024 again featured a full program of live music, entertainment, Indian Demo Rides, Stunt Shows, Wall of Death thrill riding and some "off the beaten path" Steampunk performances by the Dutch Abacus Theater group that prowled the eventsite several times every day on eccentric, yet super-cool scratch-built Steampunk themed vehicles. Mingling with old, new and customized Indians, a perfect show part that got the cellphones clicking as the Punks steamed by! The music program presented some outstanding Czech music acts and international bands, including "Hairy Groupies", AC-DC (High Voltage/ Italy), Gun's & Roses (Slovakia) and ZZ-Top tribute (Fuzz Top/France) bands that rocked the crowd! 

Friday evening saw the Indian Riders in full swing and the "main street" lined in four long rows of parked Indians. Industry exhibitors, Indian Demo rides and Wall of Death were placed "on top" next to the main stage of the event. Custom Chrome Europe, CCE partners Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde, Wunderkind and several international Indian dealerships presented their latest products and custom beauties – plus added sponsor prices to bike show and Saturday's raffle which culminated in the giveaway of a brand-new Indian "101 Scout", introduced about 95 years after the original and soon to become legendary Scout 101. Custom Chrome Europe presented a brand new VMP/Indian Pisek built V-Performance exhaust system equipped Chief alongside Bike Farm's "Bolt On And Ride" Scout "Green Arrow" which also was ridden into Saturdays parade by CCE marketing manager Axel Scherer. With Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde almost "back-to-back" efficient co-operation was granted – including a peaceful Dutch German team-up for watching the first games of the European Soccer Championship that started Friday. 
Saturday saw the huge and probably last parade into scenic downtown Budweis market square: A different route and a different schedule as in previous years, as the Budweis authorities this weekend had to deal with TWO major events in town: The Indian Riders Fest and the also quite popular "Draci mezi Mosty" aka "Dragonboat Race". Definitely a bigger parade than in previous years! Ola Stenegärd, Director of Product Design for Indian Motorcycle, Freestyle Motocross legend Carey Hart and Jeremy McWilliams of the Indian Motorcycle Racing team led the parade with event organizer Jean-Marie Guyon, followed by an ever-growing number of "Ladies First" riders who always are riding in "front of the pack".

This years jury included quite prominent names: Ola Stenegärd (Indian Product Designer), Axel Scherer, Custom Chrome Europe Marketing Manager, Detlef Achterberg of Wunderkind, Thomas Wijers (Dr. Jekill & Mr Hyde Sales Development Manager), Carey Hart (Racer & Freestyle MX legend and bike builder), Jeremy McWilliams (King of the Baggers Racer) and Onno Wieringa had a tough time to check out the bikes and select the winners! Classes of the currently only "Indian-Only" bikeshow worldwide – Custom Chrome Europe´s Bikeshow rules now allow a "Harley vs. Indian" battle in all classes – included Indians in the 7 classes Indian Scout, Indian Chief/Non-Fairing, Indian Bagger, Indian Vintage, Indian FTR/Sportsbike, Indian "Clubstyle", Freestyle plus a "Best of Show". Top performer of this years bikeshow – and every bike a superb and extremely detailed piece of art: Austria's Markus Krasser of "Styrian Motorcycles" fame and authorized Indian & Victory dealer. SMC entered 5 motorcycles into 4 different classes, with 4 class winners and the "Best of Show" title for the outstanding Chicano-themed "El Acorazado", created from a 2023 Super Chief. As a matter of fact, his radical "Freestyle" winning "Burt Munroe Tribute" which placed a 2021 Chief Vintage engine into an air-suspension Peter Penzenstadler rolling chassis with Thunderbike fork, was just 1 point short of the "Best of Show" title. Styrian Motorcycles and Markus Krasser underlined their position of the top customizers for Indian Motorcycle customizing, no matter if in the "radical way" as with the "Samurai" themed Bagger for an Austrian Koi-dealer or "mild" customizing with spectacular paint jobs as his "#22 NASCAR Joey Logano Tribute", created from a 2024 Sport Chief. This is one Indian dealership and custom shop to be watched!

Top customs and classics were presented in all categories, three 125 cc CZ-Indians – in 1948 the small 2-strokes competing with Harley-Davidson's 125 S Model – in full stock and completely "radicalized" versions were present. A super-radical (and rideable!) beast by Czech top-metal-artist Tomáš Pitlík – check out the details on the wild and completely handcrafted "Chaindian" – were other attractions in a show that connected Indian heritage with present and future. The CCE team remembers Tomáš Pitlík from many EURO BIKE FESTs where his "rolling artworks" premiered!

An unexpected and surprising "re-unification" of a special kind happened in the "Scout" class: One of the few present "Gilroy Indian's" – those Indian Motorcycles that were built in Gilroy/California from 1999-2003 was the last design project of a 20 years younger Ola Stenegärd, then working for the "Indian Motorcycle Company of America". In stock condition, as Ola created this look with aftermarket parts (many of them of Custom Chrome origin as CCI's HQ was just "up the street" in Morgan Hill/California), the bike scored 3rd place in a busy "Scout" class that did see many cool "riding customs". The dedicated industry partners offered great incentives to all category winners of the show, with prices and merchandise vouchers worth over € 12,000,-- up for grabs, Custom Chrome Europe alone handing out parts vouchers for each class (except Clubstyle) € 500,-- and € 1500,-- for the "Freestyle" winner. Stylish "flaming" trophies will remind the winners of their success - in particular Markus Krasser who took five of six top prices back to St. Peter in Sulmtal, south of Graz/Austria! As announced by the organizers: The AMD-certified "Budweis Custom Show" will retain its name in 2025, even as the event is moving south to Lipno nad Vltavou 50+ km further south...

Thank you České Budějovice/Budweis, you have been a great host, but the Indians are "travelling people" – wherever the Buffalo goes, they have to follow! To say it in Lakota language: Tókša akhé České Budějovice - we will meet again! 

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