25th Annual Donnie Smith Bike Show. A Reported 30,000 Visitors.

Difficult to believe that The Donnie Smith Bike Show And Parts Extravaganza is already in its 25th edition. It has always been each year in March the mid-west largest motorcycle event. Faithful reader Art Welch, who owns Indian Motorcycle of the Twin Cities Minnesota and was an exhibitor in this past weekend show ( March 24th-25th) at the St Paul, MN prestigious River Cennter, reported to me a number of visitors estimated by the organizers at 30,000.

Quite a crowd for a 2-day regional event and certainly another hint that the US economy growing again, although at a relatively modest pace, unlocks the desire of many to acquire and customize a motorcycle. Donnie Smith has one of the longest, continuous running show in the custom bike world, and is also now a strong supporter of many of the Midwest High Schools and Colleges that have begun educating in the art of custom bike building. As a result, 4 high schools competed this year at the 25th Annual Donnie Smith Show.

11 Responses to “25th Annual Donnie Smith Bike Show. A Reported 30,000 Visitors.”

  1. 1 Jason Hallman Mar 27th, 2012 at 7:52 am

    This show needs more press nationally. It is people like Donnie Smith that obviously care not for ratings and media hype but for the industry itself. I have never met the man but I know his work well. I guess I am going to have to bug Eric E to let me cover this next year (unless he is already slated)-LOL. Great job Donnie!

  2. 2 LENNY SINNET Mar 27th, 2012 at 8:49 am



    Sounds like another great show from the master.


  3. 3 Jacob Lowrey Mar 27th, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Great show! I think there were more than 30,000 people though! Couldn’t even walk through the isle at times. Stopped over at the Indian booth too. Great staff. Good job guys. You will make Polaris Proud!

  4. 4 Tim Davis Mar 27th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    For Donny to be such a strong supporter of High School vocational programs deserves much kudos and appreciation! Educating and giving the youth of America mechanical skills is so important to insure we have properly trained mechanics in all types of industries. As we baby boomers are growing old and retiring the number of qualified & trained mechanics will dwindle to all time lows leaving the remaining shops short handed and the hourly rates for those thirty something mechanics going through the ceilng. Sounds crazy but the reality of so many youth heading off to college overwhelms the number of vocational bound students!

  5. 5 Jason Hallman Mar 27th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I am a high school auto shop teacher in Florida and I think you will be pleased to know that the push to get kids to only “go to college” has shifted to encouraging young people to: “pick something…anything that you love, and do it!”. I have a junior in high school myself and she is smart as a whip. What does she want to do? Of all things, she wants a degree in Aggri-farming (what ever that is). She wants to own cattle. Go figure. My point is that when I was in school it was odd not to have a college picked by your senior year. Now the shift is focused on getting kids to understand that life is tough and we expect decisions to be made. Sorry…that went a little long.

  6. 6 Marilyn Stemp Mar 28th, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Donnie’s show was indeed well attended this year and it was gratifying to see. No one is more responsible for the show’s success than Donnie himself, who shook hands, signed posters and smiled for two days straight without flagging. He’s one of motorcycling’s best ambassadors and a warm, wonderful human. Happy 70th birthday, too, Donnie!

    There were three high schools competing in the Chopper Class Challenge: from Eden, NY, Mitchell SD, and La Crescent, MN. All three groups were inspiring. The students were eager to talk with the public about their builds and the instructors were supportive and justly proud. IronWorks has followed this program for years, since Kevin Baas brought out the first high school bike a chunk of years ago – from his school, Kennedy High in Bloomington, MN. Kevin’s class was at the show, too, competing in the general classes instead of the chopper class group, as they’ve done for several years.
    Watch for coverage of the Donnie Smith Show – and especially the Chopper Class Challenge, in IronWorks. Our thanks to Pat Patterson of Led Sleds for once again providing “heavy metal” trophies for the high school competition
    Of course, praise also goes to Neal Ryan for his superb organization and promotion of the Donnie Smith Show, and sponsors such as Budweiser.

  7. 7 Lee McAndrew Mar 28th, 2012 at 7:26 am

    This was my 2nd year as participant showing my Vietnam Veteran Tribute Bike. I was swamped with people thru out the whole show. It is very refreshing seeing all the vets, their families and everyone else who stopped by the bike and had many positive comments. It was also outstanding to see all the young kids who came by, viewed the bike and thanked the vets for thier service. Thank you Donnie and his excellent team for all they do.

    Look forward to seeing everyone at the 25th anniversary of the Rolling Thunder Ride to the Wall in DC this year.

  8. 8 james Mar 28th, 2012 at 7:38 am

    The Donnie Smith show High School Chopper Challenge is a credit to a cool guy. I shot photos for five hours saturday until I couldn’t get my camera through the crowd. I’m adding more pictures to facebook today under ” James Whistleman” if anyone wants a sample of the quality of bikes at this years show.

  9. 9 Mike Tomas Kiwi Indian MC Co Mar 28th, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Donnie is a top notch all around guy. I’m still in love with your S&S 50th anniversary bike build.

  10. 10 Wizards Products Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:38 am

    We had a great time again at Donnie’s show. You can see more coverage here on our website: http://www.wizardsproducts.com/index.php/component/content/article/5-motorcycle-products-press-releases/111-donnie-smith-show-30q-bagger-ride

  11. 11 nitrobil Apr 2nd, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Great job Neal and Donnie. I have to get out of the cave more often and come visit.

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Cyril Huze