I have witnessed more biker rallies than I can stomach. At every one of these somnambulant soirees, pomposity, posturing, and machismo hump and grind through their horny mnage trois like drunken dwarves in green suits on St. Paddy’s Day. Strip away these forces and the totemistic affectations left behindunisex chaps, 40-inch-wide apehangers, and neon engine lighting, for instanceseem vainglorious to the extreme, don’t you think?
I do, which is why I rode 150 miles southeast of my cozy but culturally bankrupt Orange County home to sleep in the dirt with 1,500 other freethinking freaks at the Slab City Riot in Niland, California. For the second year in a row, Billdozer Bryant, Harold McGoo McGruther, and several dozen sponsors and volunteers descended on this barren wasteland to stir up a bitch’s brew of anarchy among today’s motivated malcontents. Men and women from as far away as New York and Canada rode their freedom machines to a deserted WWII-era munitions dump to swill suds and listen to live music with the hundred or so hippies and leathery locals who call Slab City their home.
Because Bill and McGoo are also the Batman and Robin of online motorcycle community ChopCult.com, web chatter leading up to the event was high. Ramping up that energy even further were rumors of something called the Coctagon. Not surprisingly, Slab City Riot cofounder McGoo hates conventional biker rally diversions. If you’ve witnessed spectacles like the roller derby and gunslinger’s demo at past Smokeouts, who can blame him. To kick off this year’s Riot, Halwade painted a dick-shaped battle zone on the dirt beside the fire pit and offered Wiffle bats to anyone man enough to take a swing. After explaining the rulesdon’t drop your bat and don’t step out of the arena; everything else goesthe house band rocked and the war raged on. Three minutes later, Dr. Kevin Moore emerged victorious. Brains over brawn strikes again.
Free Booze, Live Music, Good Times
After washing their wounds and drowning their regrets in a near endless river of free Pabst Blue Ribbon and whiskey, Coctagon combatants joined their friends in front of the main stage for six hours of nonstop rock ’n’ roll. When the booze stopped flowing, the pharmaceuticals and organics started. Barefoot hippies, bearded weirdos, and tough guys too drunk to throw a punch jiggled like tweakers at a two-for-one Sudafed sale while the less strung out among them scrounged for more booze. Local law enforcement made a predictable show of force, but heat was never as high as it could have been for an event so goddamned crazy. Consider the methods of mayhem on display: a 20-foot-high bonfire and at least 100 subordinate blazes in a one-mile perimeter, one burning car, a tattoo parlor on wheels, an endless supply of Mexican BBQ, and of course more titty shots than you can shake your dick at. A couple citations for DUI were handed out, but when all was said and done the spirit of this year’s Riot was very cool indeed. Maybe not as cool as parking your shovelhead in front of the Viper Room in Hollywood, but heyeven Jesus had to make sacrifices. sc