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The Friends of Steve McQueen Show

There are countless charity events, custom bike shows and rallies crowding the calendar, but there are a couple must-see shows for us.

PP_IMG_4632Embracing All Things Racing-Related

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here are countless charity events, custom bike shows and rallies crowding the calendar, but there are a couple must-see shows for us. Ostensibly an automotive event, The Friends of Steve McQueen Show has grown to embrace most things race-related, just like Steve McQueen himself. As he so famously said: “Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.”

The wait is over for the 2015 event and appropriately, the theme for this year was the seminal motorcycle racing movie On Any Sunday. Steve McQueen not only starred in Bruce Bown’s classic, he also provided much of the funding for the film. Several of his old Husqvarna race bikes were on display, along with a pristine Elsinore McQueen rode for an early Honda promotional film and advertising campaign.

Established in 2008 by the Porsche 356 Club of Southern California, the event now brings in car, motorcycle and off-road racing enthusiasts from around the world. It is held in early June to raise funds for Boys Republic, a private, non-profit, nonsectarian community for at-risk boys and girls ages 13-17. This is the same Boys Republic campus where a troubled 16-year-old Steve McQueen spent time as a student in 1946.

In addition to some incredible vehicles, you never know who you will run into at this event. Last year, we were lucky enough to spend the day with  legendary racer turned stuntman, Dave Ekins (who set the Tijuana to La Paz run in under 40 hours aboard a Honda CL72 Scrambler in 1962, and later teamed with brother Bud, Steve McQueen and Cliff Coleman for an ISDT Gold Medal), and Vinnie Mandzak. “My Cuz” Vinnie was the genius behind the Catalina Grand Prix five years ago that was absolutely the biggest event on the West Coast since Goat Brecker’s Elsinore GP!

The Friends of Steve McQueen Show featured several of his old Husqvarna race bikes and a  pristine Honda Elsinore McQueen rode for an early promotional film and advertising campaign.
The Friends of Steve McQueen Show featured several of his old Husqvarna race bikes and a pristine Honda Elsinore McQueen rode for an early promotional film and advertising campaign.

Beyond the Catalina GP, Vinnie was a HUGE friend of the entire motorcycle community, vintage collector extraordinaire, race promoter, vintage racer and concours organizer. After 30 years at Mercedes of Beverly Hills, the last decade as president of sales, Vinnie quit two years ago, and went to work for RM Auctions as head of all motorcycle acquisitions. Unfortunately, one year later, Vinnie suffered a massive stroke and he passed away. Godspeed Vinnie.

On a more positive note, The Friends of Steve McQueen have raised more than $750,000 since the event began in 2008. It has also helped to attract corporate interest resulting in donations of skilled labor and building materials through the Lowe’s Heroes community improvement project, valued at more than $100,000.

Although you have to wait until next year, race over to the website www.stevemcqueencarshow.com for more details on the show.

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