Over the last few years, I cannot even begin to count the number of people who have told me to check out the Georgia Grundle Run. They always go on and on about how the Grundle Run is a real old school chopper event that looks like something straight out of a 1970’s issue of Easyriders. Obviously, this is exactly the kind of event I want to check out, but then they start talking about the neighboring chicken farm and that the event is held right in the middle of August. At that point I usually start wondering just how bad a chicken farm smells in the middle of the summer and start imaging the stink melting the paint right of my gas tank. Well, after three years of that fresh farm air, the guys from Long Brothers Choppers decided to move to a new location that was not downwind of any poultry and switched up the dates to the much cooler month of September.
Once I got wind of the changes, I was all in. As is typical, I left about five hours later than I wanted, which had me riding through the Georgia mountains well past midnight. As I rolled through the pitch-black countryside, I spotted some of those generator-powered lights they use for highway construction off in the distance. At first I thought, ‘Who the hell is doing road work out here on a Friday night?’, but then I saw that they were illuminating a massive clearing in the woods filled with motorcycles, vans, tents, campfires and people (mostly, staggering around). I figured this was either the right place, or the start of a zombie apocalypse, but either way, I was too tired to keep going and pulled in to set up camp.
I cannot say I really slept at all that first night, even though I spent a few hours tucked up in my sleeping bag. Just as I would start to nod off, a minibike would come ripping past or someone would start laughing at some unheard joke. When I heard someone say, “I can’t believe it is already 6am!”, I gave up on sleep and set out to explore the campground. After grabbing a breakfast sandwich from the food vendor, I headed up to the top of a large hill to survey the property. Tents and motorcycles were lined up around the entire perimeter of the campground, totaling up to about 400 people spread out over 40 acres.
Around 11am, everyone got together for a 70-mile ride through the Georgia mountains. We stopped halfway through at a scenic overlook for a quick break and some group photos before ripping back down the mountain to the campground. More than one chopper was left on the side of the road as people found out that if your tank holds less than two gallons, you better top off at every gas stop.
Once back at the campground, the Honda Bash got underway. Not to be confused with the Honda Hoot, which is a bunch of old dudes riding Honda Gold Wings through the mountains. The Honda Bash featured a Honda Gold Wing suspended from chains like a piñata that you could pay to pound with a sledge hammer. At a dollar per swing, that Honda took over 500 hits before it was surrounded by broken plastic and leaking fluid all over the ground.
The rest of the afternoon was filled up with a swap meet, anonymous bike show and a solid raffle. The grand prize for the raffle was a Shovelhead chopper, and unlike most bike raffles, you had to be present to win. This eliminated the usual bullshit where the winner was someone who just registered online and did not even attend the event. Turns out the one-and-only Gorgeous George was the grand prize winner and had to scramble to find a way to get that chopper back to North Carolina. Those are the kinds of problems I would like to have.
While everyone was still buzzing about the raffle, it was time for the main event which was professional wrestling! A full-on wrestling ring was erected at the campground and what transpired was an ’80’s style, no-holds-barred event. We’re talking people getting knocked out with folding chairs, dives off the top ropes and more shit talking than a septic tank pumpers’ convention. As the sun went down, the wrestlers beat each other bloody amid a hail of beer cans and cheers from the fans.
After dark, the remains of the Honda Gold Wing were lifted onto two full size bales of hay and doused with diesel fuel before being lit on fire in honor of Nickolas Trott who died earlier that week in a motorcycle accident. Like a modern-day Viking funeral, the flames from that bonfire shot up 30 feet in the sky pointing, the way to Valhalla as the diesel and plastic burned what was left of that old Gold Wing into a smoking ruin. There is something very primal about fire that drives people to do all sorts of crazy things and there were more than a few NSW activities going down in the firelight.
Probably the craziest thing I saw that night was a dude getting choked out over an arm-wrestling match. Things started off nice enough until one of the ladies challenged this dude to arm wrestle. Where he went wrong was pulling her off the table onto the ground when he beat her. Sure, she was pretty drunk, but she was also some kind of MMA fighter and jumped on his back like a spider monkey. Then, using some quick moves, she had him lying in the dirt surrounded by his buddies trying to slap him awake, all in under ten seconds. Of course, there were a lot of tears and apologies, but clearly the real culprit was the tequila.
Sunday morning showed up seemingly out of nowhere and people started packing up to head home way too early. Once again, I only managed to catch a couple hours of sleep, but man was it worth it. The guys from Long Brothers Choppers packed so much fun into one weekend, it almost made up for being stuck at home all spring in quarantine. The great news is they reserved the same spot for next year, so Grundle Run 5 will be another chicken farm-free event. The dates are September 17-19 which gives everyone plenty of time to learn how to swing a sledgehammer and practice their wrestling holds.
Story and Photos by Panhead Jim