BIKER BUILD OFF MEETS FRED

Pamo’s drawing of the store.

When I’m not laughing at some cartoon I’ve drawn or thinking of a humorous anecdote to share, I’m slaving away at the store with Jeff. We opened Biker Rags in 1994 and remain the owner operators to this day.

Our business is driven by our love of riding and our love of motorcycles. We’ve always had several bikes, but became serious collectors of antique and vintage motorcycles in 1996. The collection has grown over the years and includes many rare and unusual bikes. We display around 25 of these bikes in our store at any one time and rotate the collection on a regular basis.

Fred on display inside Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum – May, 2008.

In June of 2008, while visiting the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum, we spied a barn fresh, unmolested 1967 Harley Davidson FLH, also known as a ‘Pan-Shovel’ or a ‘generator Shovel’. This was exactly the kind of bike we had been looking to add to our collection and as luck would have it, Dale Walksler, the WTT proprietor and collector extraordinaire, was ready to pass on this gem. He had been to our store, Biker Rags, and knew we would give it a good home.

Picking up “Fred” at Wheels Through Time. Taking him to his new home at Biker Rags. June, 2008. Pictured left to right: Pamo, Jeff, Dale Walksler and his son Matt.

After a couple of weeks of negotiations, we finally made a deal, loaded up the ’67 FLH on our Biker Rags truck and placed him in our collection. Jeff had acquired an old windshield years before to use in one of our vintage displays. It matched the old FLH and the bike became lovingly known as “Fred”.

Fred on display in the front window of Biker Rags. September, 2012.

This past September 24th, we got an email from Aaron Kaufman, head mechanic from Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Texas, starring in the new Discovery TV show Fast N’ Loud. Gas Monkey, part of the latest TV Biker Build Off, wanted a very specific bike- an unrestored FLH generator Shovelhead. In their search, they called Dale Walksler who, in turn, told them that Biker Rags had just the bike they were looking for.

Gas Monkey wanted to know if we would be willing to sell them Fred and be on TV. We don’t normally sell bikes out of our collection, but we figured the chance to promote Biker Rags on national TV was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. So we agreed.

Fred displayed on Biker Rags front patio. September, 2012.

Several phone calls later, they told us that production had already begun and they needed the bike as soon as possible. At first they were going to come pick up the bike and film it but that quickly changed to having it shipped to them by truck. Once they arranged for the shipper, we realized Biker Rags wasn’t going to be on TV. Since we had already agreed to sell them the bike, we chalked it up to being naive and figured that at least we would get a mention on the show.

Fred being loaded up. Heading to Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas. September, 2012.

Another couple of phone calls later, the reality part of Reality TV hit us pretty hard. To make the show more interesting, Richard Rawlings, owner of Gas Monkey Garage, had decided to say they bought the bike from a local bike collector in Dallas so they could film the transaction. Needless to say, we felt as deflated as a fifty year old tire.

So we did what any red blooded American does when cheesed, we blabbed it to everyone we knew. We sent off an email to all our customers on the Biker Rags email list telling the story. The response from our customers was overwhelming! Some were shouting to get the bike back, others were talking about a Fast N’ Loud boycott, and the emails were being forwarded faster than a Harley in spring!

Jeff and Pamo with Fred inside Biker Rags just before he heads to Dallas and fame on Biker Build Off.  ~ September, 2012.

That very evening, we got a call from Richard, who had the forwarded email in hand. He did a bit of back tracking, saying we had misunderstood his intentions and that Biker Rags would be mentioned and credited as the original source of ‘Fred’. We thought ‘that’s nice but we won’t hold our breath’ knowing that the pressures of reality TV must be overwhelming.

The Biker Build Off 2012 airs on Monday, December 10th and Tuesday December 11th, kicked off by Fast N’ Loud at 8pm. We know from following the Gas Monkey Facebook page, that while the bike has been completely changed and customized, they still call him “Fred”.

In watching the shows, Orange County Choppers, Outlaw Garage, and Fast N’ Loud, we’ve seen the FLH engine dismantled on the Gas Monkey lift and we’ve seen Fred’s old windshield in the background. This past Monday on Fast N’ Loud, Richard said he can’t wait to see Jesse’s face when he beats him in the Build Off with a pink motorcycle.

Jeff and I are pretty excited about the whole thing. On Monday December 10th starting with the new episode of Fast N’ Loud at 8 pm, on the Discovery Channel, we get to see Fred in his new life form and we’ll have a great story to share. So if you watch the show, root for Fred! He was a big part of our family at Biker Rags and was enjoyed by many.

Bye Fred! We’ll miss you. Good luck in your new endeavor. September, 2012.

GO FRED GO!!!

POST SCRIPT: Despite the verbal promises made to us, Biker Rags was never mentioned on Fast ‘N Loud or Biker Build Off. Aaron and Richard won second place in the Build Off with their updated Fred. Shortly thereafter, the bike was won by a Fast ‘N Loud viewer in a drawing.

Letter we sent with Fred to Gas Monkey Garage.

Letter we sent with Fred to Gas Monkey Garage.

About Pam Huggins

I love to hang out with my family, ride motorcycles, and draw comics.
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35 Responses to BIKER BUILD OFF MEETS FRED

  1. Robin says:

    What a story, and you are such an awesome story teller Pam but pretty incredible stuff from a slice of real life “live and learn”. I don’t know anything about motorcycles but if I don’t forget, I will be watching the shows and looking for a Fred sighting.

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  2. Ben Frazer says:

    I remember seeing Fred in the store, and its heart warming to see yet another Knoxvillian join the ranks of David Keith, Kenny Chesney, Peyton Manning and Dollly in International Stardom! I do hope that Bike Rags gets the credit its due. You have done and keep doing so much for the Bike community in East Tennessee.

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  3. Pam a/k/a Yama Mama says:

    We can only hope the producers will do the right thing but what a legacy for Fred and for Biker Rags! You should record the show and play it on your system in the shop for all to enjoy for the next several months. We can all say we “knew him when….”

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  4. Lidna Clifton says:

    “Fred” will have his wonderful day in Harley history on TV…nothing less. I remember seeing him at the store and smiling with pride. Good to have met you, Fred.

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  5. shame you can’t get fred back after they are done with it

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  6. PAMO says:

    Robin- Thanks so much! If you remember to watch you’ll already know Fred.

    Ben- You’ve made me laugh right out loud! That’s quite a celebrity list– haha! But seriously, thanks for your support- it means A LOT!

    Pam- Great idea! Definitely- we’ll have to play it in the store. Thank you for your wonderful comment. Glad you got to meet Fred before he became a star. 🙂

    Linda- Thank you! We’re very proud of Fred too. He never pretended to be more than he was.

    Steve- That would be cool!!! He’ll probably be out of our price range. 🙂

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  7. Kathy Cote says:

    Go Fred Go!!!!!! He’ll come shining through inspite of all that has happened.

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  8. Sorry I didn’t get to meet Fred–sounds like a Cinderella ending. I certainly hope Biker Rags gets its due.

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  9. I’m so bummed to find out the reality tv is not real 😦 I may have to rethink my tv watching habits LOL I do hope you guys get some recognition on this… karma does have a way of biting people who richly deserve it.. and rewarding those who deserve it too… I think Biker Rags will come out of this better and stronger than ever… hope Fred likes his new home and if not finds his way home some day…

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  10. Lisa Foutz says:

    Hey guys, if Fred is half as awesome as you all are he will serve you proud and so will reallity TV. Thanks for all you do.

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  11. It is so great that your pals rallied around with that email campaign! I am proud of them…and you too. You definitely did the right thing in any case..because Fred is sure to come out of this just breathtakingly beautiful….and I happen to think beautiful machines like that are part human and deserve to be restored to youth. It is very exciting to think about Fred’s new life. I hope they give you a mention for God’s sake!
    BTW, I got my PAMO tshirt in the mail..and it is fabulous!!!! I can’t thank you enough for it. I plan on being photographed wearing it, like your other blogging friend did. I love it!

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  12. p.s. sounds crazy to say so…but I believe I may have ridden on one of those! I had a handsome suitor back in 1968 who drove a motorcycle and this looks so familiar. It was a very generous seat! Back then, we never wore helmets. Can you imagine???

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  13. Sue Pownall says:

    How awful they took advantage of you like that- Boo Hiss Fast n loud.

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  14. PAMO says:

    Kathy- Thanks so much! Fred is a winner no matter what.

    Hallie- Thank you. I’ll have to draw Fred I think.

    Elaine- Who knew about reality TV? Haha! Loved your comment- thank you!

    Lisa- So sweet! Thank you! And thank you for all that you do too.

    Celeste- I agree! Fred deserves to be reincarnated. Reinvention is wonderful!
    I’m glad you got the shirt and look forward to seeing your photo. 🙂
    I bet you did ride on a bike just like Fred! Very cool indeed!
    And I agree- our customers are terrific people- we are filled with gratitude. Thank you for your great comment!

    Sue- You crack me up! Boo Hiss, hahahaha!!! Thanks Sue.

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  15. Kevin says:

    If Richard really wants to pay you back for not mentioning you on TV then he should donate Fred back to Biker Rags for you to display along with this story! This whole thing is bitter sweet, as I have never seen such an unmolested semi custom Pan Shovel anywhere else. I became accustomed to seeing Fred at the store. Will miss seeing a piece of American history on display.

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  16. PAMO says:

    Kevin – Thank you for your comment. We miss him too!

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  17. Cliff says:

    Not giving u credit for selling them Fred is low and crappy, were they friends with the shop they said they got the bike from? Trying to get that shop on tv? Shows they’re not the stand up guys they portray, or true bikers.

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  18. PAMO says:

    Cliff- Thanks for your comment. On the phone, they were speaking to Dale at Wheels Through Time who referred them to us. We sold them the bike and they said we would get the mention. Didn’t happen that way.

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  19. Craig says:

    FRED has had his day in the sun, and what a day it was!! Old FRED has quite the life, and the emotions he has stirred in all those who were lucky enough to be part of FRED! From the original owner, to the current caretaker; FRED just keeps bringing joy to those who know him. Even with the disability of being pink, he has managed to overcome this; and shine like the star. He has managed to tell the story of BIKER RAGS, because I am reading about FRED’s journey today. Thank you BIKER RAGS for sharing such a personality with America. Truth is, FRED will always be part of your lives, and even more attention to your store; even though, he isn’t with you any longer. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, when used appropriately. A story of a young motorcycle that had aged well, and underwent surgery to be a television star! 🙂 Trust me, more people have come to know and love FRED. While he has moved on to a new home, his time spent with you will always be cherished. I would be trying to get another Photo op with FRED, and make him part of your advertising campaign to promote your buisness.
    I’m telling you, FRED was the brightest star on that build off stage; pink and all. He didnt have a fan club, or even an unlimited budget for his transformation, yet FRED has endured the hands of time. Thank you BIKER RAGS for sharing FRED with the world!! He has, and will, inspire untold people to hunt down and revive other bikes like him because he shows us that even an old pink bike can compete and out perform the super customs.
    Go FRED, good Luck BIKER RAGS

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  20. Frank milian says:

    Hi…..great story…love the gas monkey garge….and when I saw Fred I was like they are going to take that great looking bike apart …..but when I saw Fred come back to life ….I was like holy crap they are going to win this biker build off that bike looks like wow……..what a great looking bike ….now I want to build one just like Fred……they build a freaking beautiful bike. Fred will shine in history for ever….Fred was the best and hottest bike on that stage.

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  21. LLSmith says:

    It is a shame that they had to cut Fred up and make him a Hy-bred mix of a couple of bikes, therefore destroying TWO bikes. Why could they have has just built it with “bones” they already have. I thought these guys were some of the more “honest” reality tv guys. Well I guess this just proves what everyone says about all of those shows. Sorry no longer a Fast and Loud watcher.

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  22. Gina Hill says:

    Pam and Jeff – pretty dirty trick they pulled on you. I posted something on the Discovery channel Fast and Loud website. Hopefully more will complain. Anyway, Fred is the real winner!

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  23. PAMO says:

    Craig- Thank you for your comment. I laughed at “disability of being pink”- loved that. We at Biker Rags are glad you found us and really appreciate your words.

    Frank- Thanks for your comment.

    LL- I completely agree- they had the bones right there. Ah well. Thanks for your comment.

    Gina- You are so cool! Thank you sister. We appreciate your support!

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  24. Patty Phipps says:

    So sorry your place didn’t get a mention on the air; neither did ours, and Fred was chopped/rebuilt in our shop during the 6 weeks of the biker build-off (we own the property where Gas Monkey Garage is located and run our auto repair business out in the front building; they are behind us in our second building). They filmed hours and hours of footage but were only able to use a few minutes in the final show, and many things were left on the cutting room floor. Please don’t assume your shop was never mentioned just because the editors didn’t include it in the final product.

    If I could post a picture here, I’d post one of my son sitting on Fred after Aaron finished working on him. By the way, the man who provided the most help to Aaron was Aaron Mather, who owns The Old Bike Shop in Dallas. He and the GMG guys and my husband have been friends for years.

    Everyone at Phipps Auto and Gas Monkey Garage loved Fred, and we’re so glad he made his way to our shop. Aaron had really enjoyed his brief trip to Maggie Valley this summer, and that connection he made with Dale paid off when Dale gave him the name of your shop and you sold Fred to GMG. Thanks for the background, the story behind the story!

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  25. PAMO says:

    Patty- Thank you for your comment. I found your story far more interesting than the actual show. You should start a blog- I think you’d have a big audience.

    As for our end, the disappointment is still fresh. All it would have taken was a one sentence mention to fulfill the verbal promise made to us by Richard. Had we known that Richard, Aaron and the Discovery show producers were going to renege on that crucial part of the transaction, we never would have parted with Fred in the first place.

    We wish you and your family the best in the future. Let me know when you start that blog- I’d love to follow.
    Pamo

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  26. Patty Phipps says:

    Thanks, Pamo, for thinking I could write an interesting blog, but I’m afraid I don’t have time for that; I try to keep up our shop’s Facebook page, and even that is more than I can handle some days, but at least it has been a “visual blog” of sorts!

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  27. PAMO says:

    I just joined your Facebook site Patty. I look forward to following.

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  28. Hi PAMO, Your Fred was a beautiful bike. I’m glad he had loving owners for the time you had him. Interesting to know how un-real “reality” TV is, rather despicable. Don’t let them near your other bikes! Hmmm, do you suppose you could come up with a good cartoon? Be well!

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  29. Patty Phipps says:

    Just posted a video of the day they fired up Fred for the first time (on time for the 6-week deadline they were given). Credit given to Fred’s origins. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=561840400496843&id=144500222237532&ref=notif&notif_t=like

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  30. Patty Phipps says:

    (Or if you’re not on Facebook, you could watch it on YouTube here:

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  31. PAMO says:

    Peggy- Jeff and I have come up with a few cartoons… none I could share with the general audience. Haha! I suppose the good news is that despite the lack of credit on TV, we’ve gotten tons of exposure. This article alone has had nearly 10,000 views, we’ve gotten a multitude of emails and phone calls, and we’ve made many new friends. (Like Patty Phipps from Phipps Automotive who has so kindly posted here several times.)
    Our bikes are like our babies- so we probably won’t part with anymore anytime soon. But Fred gave us this great story- so all is well even if the ending wasn’t what we hoped.

    Patty- Thanks for sharing the video link. How cool that you took it! Thanks again.

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  32. Patty Phipps says:

    Now Gas Monkey has put my video link up on their Facebook page, so your shop should be getting even more recognition.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

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  33. PAMO says:

    Thanks again Patty. Merry Christmas to you and your family as well. We appreciate your time and I’ve enjoyed your Facebook page.

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  34. April says:

    We watch Gas Monkey all the time. They should do the right thing and let the world know where this beautiful motorcycle came from. No harm in that.

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  35. PAMO says:

    April- Thank you for your supportive comment. Life doesn’t always work out like we want it to, does it? Glad you got to know the history of Fred! Thanks again.

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