The Event that Started the Kustom Kulture Craze: Grease, Gears, and Grooves
Before every Tom, Dick, and Harry tried their hand at creating a Kustom Kulture Car & Bike show, here in the good ole MO, there was one that captured the true spirit of the “Kustom Kulture” and won over the hearts of all of those that live it. It was titled Grease, Gears, & Grooves. And later lovingly referred to by our crew, as simply GGG.
Before I tell you the true tale of this one time beloved event, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brandie Politte, and I was the Editor of Full Throttle Midwest Magazine from late 2008 until December of 2011. The love of my life, Steve Kleinhans and his family owned and operated Full Throttle Midwest Magazine from its inception in 2006, to December of 2011 when they sold the publication.
The idea for Grease Gears & Grooves was born in the office of Full Throttle Midwest when Steve, the late Kent Meisemann, and I were brainstorming one afternoon. Although it was in the newborn stages of an event, without a name, a date, or a venue we knew that we wanted to throw a huge party and invite a few hundred of our closest friends. Steve took the idea to a certain group of his buddies, and all it took was the word “party” to ignite the fire!
This group of friends, who truly live the kustom kulture lifestyle decided to throw a lot party and showcase their talents for the public. Meetings were held by Steve and the boys, and they decided to team up with Jim, owner of the Deluxe Restaurant in Maplewood MO. The date was set for July 11th 2009. There were no corporate sponsors involved, no contracts for vendors to sign, nor were there vending or entry fees. Just fun. And it remained just the same for the duration of our production of GGG.
The day started out with a bit of early morning rain, just enough to cool us off as we finished setting up the vendor booths for the show. The show turned out to be a success, even the rain or the heat didn’t damper the spirits of the gear heads & music enthusiast’s that attended that day. It was an awe inspiring spectacle, to see the rodders & the bikers convene in one place to admire each other’s works. To hear the sounds of the music in full swing then to be muffled by the roaring of pipes from time to time. The day turned to evening, and we closed up the vendor booths and parents took their children home, the party moved from the parking lot to inside the Deluxe. The Deluxe was a beauty of a neighborhood diner with some pretty great food to boot, but it was actually a great music venue in disguise. The evening turned into late night, and the PBR kept flowing to give way to some fantastic memories for all who attended. Or maybe the PBR hindered those memories for some. Either way, it was the start of something BIG!
With the first year being a success and having a turnout of a couple hundred people, we decided to make Grease, Gears and Grooves an annual event. Sadly in early 2010 the Deluxe had closed its doors permanently, and so we had to find another location. We decided to get together with Chip from the Atomic Cowboy in the Grove district of St. Louis MO and do things on a larger scale this time.
July 3rd 2010 was again, one of the hottest days of the year, but that didn’t matter one ounce. We shut down the street of Manchester, and threw a Sturgis worthy party for the masses. And when I say masses, I mean thousands of people attended this show. We had no idea how many would turn out for this event, we had only advertised it in the magazine, with social media, and few posters and flyers were placed in some bike shops around the city. Turns out word of mouth about the first year show was the best way to advertise! This show had something for everyone, families came out together to gawk at the beautiful machines lining the streets. The sheer amount of talent and love that went into building some of those cars and motorcycles is mind blowing. We hosted a bike & car show and the winners took home custom one of kind trophies that can never be duplicated. Music lovers came out to support their favorite local bands. Vendors showcased their builds, their wares, their designs, their photography, you name it. There was a pig roast, and a Pin-Up contest that everyone who attended got a kick out of. The atmosphere that day was unlike any other event or show we had ever attended across the Midwest. To say that the 2010 show was a success would be an understatement. It was beautiful.
In 2011, we decided to take a different approach and put on a grass roots homegrown festival type of show. We took the 3rd Annual GGG a little farther South of Downtown St. Louis and we traded the asphalt of Manchester Ave for the gravel lot at VFW Post 2184 in South St. Louis.
July 16th 2011 we found ourselves in the heat of the summer again, but by that time we had learned to expect to sweat. That day we were surrounded by friends, hundreds of motorcycles, and a shit ton of awesome cars. People had rode in from all across the Midwest. The music was undeniably a huge hit with awesome local talent that was showcased on a mighty homemade stage. The VFW hall was packed to the brim with every seat in the house filled for the Pin-up contest. Vendors dotted the gravel lot selling their goods. And despite the heat, which seemed to be about 500 degrees. Everyone truly enjoyed themselves, and so did we, which is a hard task to accomplish when you’re the host of a party for a few thousand people.
When the magazine was sold in January of 2012, the new owner decided to try and imitate the beloved Midwestern event known as Grease, Gears and Grooves. And if you attended the last two years shows, you witnessed just that, an imitation. This show will never quite capture that same spirit without Steve and the original crew involved. As we understand it, there’s another new Tom, Dick, or Harry that is trying his hand at re-creating this event in 2014. Please do not be fooled, although the event may bare the same name, it’s still only an imitation of the original.
In 2012 we took what we had learned while building GGG and put it to use for our new event. We teamed back up with Chip from the Atomic Cowboy and Darren from Liquid Illusions and Jerry & Tracy of Ride Hard Magazine and brought you the Chop Rod Ramble. A day full of great food, great friends, amazingly talented musicians, beautiful cars, and custom motorcycles. The Chop Rod Ramble III will be a show not to miss this year! September 27th 2014. Check out www.ThrottleAmerica.com for vending or other info and RSVP your space for your car, the spots will fill up soon! ThrottleIncBrandie@gmail.com