Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shiny bikes and acres of leather at the 2012 Wide Open Bike and Car Show

Warning … several animals were skinned in the making of this story.

In spite of the unusually nice winter weather, we haven’t had a car show in the Kansas City area for quite some time. So when the Wide Open Magazine Bike and Car Show turns up on the calendar each January, people are typically ready to go see a room full of shiny objects.

This year, the show moved from its traditional location at the Kansas City Market Center to the Overland Park International Trade Center. And from the looks of things, the spectator turnout was quite a bit greater.

Because Wide Open Magazine is a motorcycle rag, this is primarily a motorcycle show. There were quite a few wild, modern creations, a handful of stock bikes, and my favorites, the vintage bikes. I appreciate and am amazed at some of the metal shaping work, creativity, and craftsmanship on some of the modern, big-wheeled terrors, but there’s just something about a 60-year-old Harley or Indian that sparks the imagination.

Judging by all the pickups and SUV’s in the parking lot, not many people actually rode to this show. But virtually everyone in the room was wearing some combination of black leather jacket, black leather chaps, and black leather riding boots. One old guy even had a real eye patch, also made from black leather. In a lot of ways, watching the crowd was as interesting as looking at the show. I was definitely underdressed in my NIKE’s and plaid Craftsman hoodie.

I wasn’t completely lost, however, because there were six old cars on display. A ’62 Impala, a ’32 Ford hot rod, a ’67 Camaro street machine, two rat rod-style hot rods, and a ’70 Charger R/T made up the four-wheeled portion of the show. The nicest one, in my opinion, was the Charger. The red and black MOPAR with its perfectly presented orange 440 under the hood was as nice as you’d ever hope to see. The interior, however, was covered in rich, black … vinyl.

There was also some interesting side-entertainment. Michael Ballard and Angie Carlson from truTV’s Full Throttle Saloon reality series were on-hand to sign autographs and pose for pictures. There were some live bands playing gritty music on the stage, and the flyer said there was a bikini contest, although it was obviously not scheduled while we were there. Chances are, the bikinis were made out of leather.

If you can’t wait until next year to see one of these shows in person, they’re having another one on February 11-12 at the Family Arena in St. Louis. For the more patient folks in the crowd, hopefully the slideshow below will hold you over. Just be sure to wear your leather riding gloves while operating your computer mouse.


  1. thanx for the pix - not much on custom Harleys myself, but LOVE the XR750-ish street tracker and the little Aermacchi flat track bike. Nice Norton and the 'boardtrack racer' was pretty nifty looking. The flames on that bagger were pretty cool too. As was the 70 Charger and the 62 Impala.
    But my motorcycling gloves aren't black leather ; is it ok if I go ahead and use them? :)

  2. As always, great pictures!