Brewtown rumbles with the sound of vintage motorcycles

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With less than 100 imported, this Bultaco Streaker was a magazine feature bike. | William Hall photo
With less than 100 imported, this Bultaco Streaker was a magazine feature bike. | William Hall photo

The fourth annual Brewtown Rumble ride-in vintage motorcycle show took place on June 2 Milwaukee, Wisconsin at a new venue which hopes to increase participation in the fundraising event.

The Rumble was formerly held in the historic Pabst Brewery complex, but this year’s permit was opposed by the district’s alderman. That prompted a move to an entertainment district on the city’s near south side. The new location on three city blocks of south Fifth Street in the Walker’s Point neighborhood drew synergy from the nearby Harley-Davidson Museum and the motorcycle-themed Iron Horse hotel and Fuel Café.

“We had a good reception from the neighboring businesses, so I don’t see why we won’t be welcomed here going forward,” said event organizer Kevin Frank.

The show was open to all makes and models of bikes 35 years and older, with awards given for Best Vintage Stock and Best Vintage Custom as well as eight class trophies for outstanding examples.

The display bikes are only half the fun, as the side streets quickly filled with hundreds of spectator’s motorcycles ridden to the street party and show.

Hagerty insurance was in attendance with their Youth Judging Program, which enlisted local kids as show judges. Members of the Badger Heritage Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America ushered the kids between entries and offered tips on the criteria used in competitive judging.

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All proceeds from the show went to Build, a high school mentorship program that encourages life and interpersonal skills education while working on motorcycles. Area schools competed against one another in assembling flat-track bikes which race at the end of each season.

 “We are still totaling things up, but we expect that from this year’s event we will be able to fund teams for nine schools,” said Frank.

The non-profit program was started in 2011 by the Iron Horse Hotel.

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William Hall is a writer, classic car broker and collector based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He has spent the whole of his professional career in the automotive industry, starting as an auto-parts delivery driver at the age of 16 to working for some of the nation's premier restoration shops. He is a concours judge and a consultant to LeMay-America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

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