The Cycle Showcase St. Louis event has grown over the years to encompass a broad range of custom and collectable vintage motorcycles. Each covering completely different styles, genres and eras but all coming together under one roof as an impressive display well worth the wait. Now in it’s 6th year the show found it’s way to “The Pageant,” a famous concert venue with multiple levels and balconies where you could view the motorcycles from every angle imaginable. They went to great lengths to make sure each bike was presented as a work of art on display with custom risers and lighting for each bike. Along with the bikes the upstairs areas were lined with vendors selling everything from, handmade custom leather footwear, motorcycle parts, knives and leather goods, and even a taxidermy booth. There was just a good feeling you got when you first walked in and you just felt at ease. The bikes were arranged to where no one felt boxed in or awkward at any time. You could tell they put a lot into the preparations for this and it shows. It takes someone of a particular skill set and finesse to pull off something like this, so we wanted to sit down and speak with the gentleman himself who has been working so hard for over half a decade now to put this all together. That man is Randall Noldge.
How many years have you been doing the event now?
This is the 6th version of Cycle Showcase and I do it about every 16-18 months now. The first 3 years I did it the same weekend every year and it became just like a job and I don't do this for the money, it's for the fun so now it takes me that long to put it all together and really make it the show what I want it to be.
So initially Saint Louis isn't what you would think of right away as a mecca of custom motorcycle culture and maybe that's a good idea you worked so hard to bring something like this to the city of St Louis.
Well I'm a big fan of all bikes and I could either go to the Harley night in one place or the vintage bike night at another or maybe even a European bike night elsewhere but I just kind of wanted to bring it all together into one. We used to have a couple of big events in town like the "World of wheels" shows and things like that, that I can even remember as a kid but those all went away years ago and we haven't had any really good shows since. I've been in the music business all my life and I know how to put on a show, maybe I dont have a big history of bike shows but I have an idea of what I would like to see and it turns out a lot of other people like my ideas too.
Well you don't necessarily have to be a bike person to put on a bike show but if you are presenting something to a wide audience you just need a good appeal for promotion, marketing and event management and that's sometimes all it takes. It's really cool that you have filled that gap for St Louis though.
Exactly. Where geographically there is no reason St Louis cant be a host for huge shows. We are within 6 hours away from 8 major cities with a population of one million people so we are really in a wonderful place to do this. I mean what it comes down to is I could either complain about the little shows in my own town or I could make my own and that's what I did.
That is in a way I believe how our friends Mikey Arnold and the Lowbrow Customs and Gas Box crew sort of blossomed that same mindset in organizing the fuel Cleveland show. They felt like their area regionally might need represented better and there were so many people in close proximity that are into this custom culture that they needed to bring it there. So it's cool that you have done that in a similar way with the city of St Louis as well.
Thank you I think the diversity is another thing that has helped this along because I haven't pigeon holed anybody, it's really not just a chopper show and that plays in my favor here because we've got all these little pockets of bike culture here and if we can bring them all together and let this grow as one big unit then it's good for everyone.
Well with that in mind what are your aspirations for the show going forward?
Going forward I've always had fanciful ideas of doing Cycle Showcase STL, KC, MKE or really anywhere. It would be nice to travel and do this in a number of cities because I travel quite a bit throughout the year. I see these great bikes that these really talented builders are building or these collectors have in their collections and I come back home to Saint Louis and talk to people who don't travel or don't so much have the ability to travel and it's hard to describe the stuff that you see. You can look at pictures on your phone all day and swipe and swipe but it's just not the same as standing here and really being able to look at a bike and appreciate it in person. Some of the out of the way places that don't have a lot of builders, I would love to bring 40 or 50 bikes and let people appreciate them all weekend there.
Sometimes all it takes is one person with that aspiration to do just that and it's admirable that you've done that here and want to go even further.
I would love to curate something like that beyond St. Louis and if anyone out there would like to sponsor that then you know that would help it go forward. In the end that sometimes is the biggest roadblock that keeps things like that from moving forward. It definitely takes support.
Speaking of which we see Cycle Source magazine and several others sharing a lot about the event, who are some of your main sponsors that helped keep this going, is there anyone you would like to thank or give credit to?
Gateway Harley Davidson here in Saint Louis has been a huge supporter for the past couple years, Polk Audio, Trader Bob's, All Star tattoo, Flying tiger moto, they help out with a lot, let's see, Cycle source, Biltwell, Lowbrow customs have always helped and kept the public interested. It goes without saying you couldn't do this without some sort of sponsor help, this is not a cheap endeavor and it would be hard to attempt without it. So I appreciate all those people have done so far to help keep it going.
The way that you've presented the bikes here in the Pageant is really neat. You see photos of the show in years past but when you see it in person it shows that you guys really did your homework on making sure everyone can see the bikes and that they are well lit, on risers and with notes by each of them. It's very well presented.
Well I'm a tall guy as you are and I hate going to bike shows and not being able to see the bikes. I don't wanna get down on the floor and crawl around to look at everything. So I get all the bikes up in the air, get them eye level where everyone can appreciate them and also we put white paper underneath each to reflect light and such make it easier to see the details.
We love the notes builders all have their own individual notes next to the builds things to notice I really like that.
That's one thing we did after the 1st year people really liked I found that if I can give them a little information about each bike it becomes more engaging and more interesting and we get more reward out of it.
We certainly agree. Well, Randy thank you so much for everything and all you've done for the city of St Louis and the bike scene here.
Thank you and I hope everyone enjoys the show.
-Photos and words by Mike Vandegriff