Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How To Make A Mustache Famous

I came to know about Orange County Choppers about ten years ago, just after their television show debuted. At the time, I was dating a guy who was into motorcycles and when he was watching the show, I'd often just sit and watch it with him (but not really by choice).

When I heard "Orange County", I just assumed they were in California, but then I saw something on the show, on one of their bike trailers or something, that had "Rock Tavern, New York" painted on the side. Rock Tavern was ten miles from my Dad's house! In the county I grew up in! When we went to visit, we just drove up to their shop, went inside and looked around. It was actually the Orange County Ironworks building - the shop where Paul Sr. ran his steel manufacturing business out of.

The Orange County Choppers part looked as if it were an afterthought, an area hastily set up for bike building. But it was the exact shop they did all the filming in. The girl in the office told us we were welcome to look around. When we asked about Paul Sr. and Jr. she told us they were in Daytona for bike week. Too bad we didn't get to meet them, but we were in their shop, which was just as cool.Ed and I recently went to their
their new shop new shop, located in Newburgh, NY. From what I know (which isn't much since I don't watch the show anymore), Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. have had their spats and don't work together anymore, so this shop is run by Sr. and his staff (as long as Sr. keeps paying the bills). The place is ENORMOUS!!!

In the photos below, you can see the size of the building (click to enlarge). The two top photos are the side of the building you see from Route 17K, the third photo is the building from the back, and the fourth photo is what it looks like as you approach from their driveway. I was in awe, as the building is actually that impressive. The side of the building is all glass with the OCC logo, as is the front of the building - which you can see in the first photo of this blog post.
The showroom is impressive, with t-shirts and sweatshirts and motorcycle gear and helmets and sunglasses and mugs and baseball caps. Everything in every color and every size you can imagine - they have onesies for babies and 4XL shirts for big boys. Amazing. We talked briefly to one of the employess and she made us aware of a viewing area that was open to the public - a hallway that runs along the length of the shop, with windows for watching the guys build bikes and the filming that they do. The girl said they usually film Monday through Friday from 8-5. She said Sr. was there earlier in the day and sometimes you'll see them walking around in the retail area of the shop.

Around the perimeter of the showroom were several of the bikes they built. Really unique, shiny and beautiful under the lights. They showcased several of the theme bikes (like the Fire Bike in the second picture) and this really cool bicycle done in the shape of the OCC logo. You can see more of their bikes in the chopper gallery on their website.

I'm glad we were able to stop by and see the place - I might just have to start watching the show again.

As for Paul Jr. - who was one of my favorites on the show - he has his own gig now called Paul Jr. Designs. To me, he's the real creative force behind the bikes. He's the one who created the Orange County Choppers logo and he's got a mind that just oozes creativity. He's definitely got a gift and I love that he's continuing to do something he's clearly so good at.

I'm not sure how real hard-core bikers feel about these guys. I'm not much into the "biker" thing, they're just not my kind of crowd, but I do admire the art of creating. What these guys do is very artistic, and that's the part I like.

I also really like the Paul Sr. mustache t-shirt. I might have to go back and buy one.

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