March 31, 2019
Southern Devil Harley-Davidson hosts ‘bikers market’ event in Bartow
HOG HEAVEN: Swap Invasion rolls into Cartersville
Posted Saturday, March 30, 2019 By JAMES SWIFT
When one hears the word “biker,” several stereotypical visuals come to mind. Leather jackets. Long beards. Intimidating patches depicting things like skulls, crossbones and knives and guns galore.
the last thing the average American thinks when he or she hears the
term, however, is “family-friendly.” But that’s precisely how Brian “Big
Boy” Whitcomb described events such as Saturday’s “Swap Invasion” held
at Southern Devil Harley-Davidson in Cartersville.
bring cars, motorcycles, music and families together, older generations
to the young ones,” Whitcomb said, “and have a good time celebrating
what we believe to be is America.”
Whitcomb — whose company
Hot Pan Productions, Inc. operates the Garage71 radio station out of
Buford — served as the emcee for Saturday’s festivities, which ran from 9
a.m. to 5 p.m.
Yes, amidst all of the vendors one could find
the usual biker iconography — lots of references to beer, lots of cigars
and lots of apparel adorned with iron crosses — but attendees could
also spot quite a few elements (and people) that didn’t quite seem to
fit into any of the typical “biker” cliches.
Such as the surf
punk entrepreneur hawking organic coffee. Or the merchant ambling
between rows and rows of hogs while sporting Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles-branded pajamas. And if you thought the vendor offering free
brew was going to be the belle of the proverbial ball, think again: few
attractions at Saturday’s event attracted as much foot traffic as the
lone Girl Scout Cookies dealer.
But the big draw at the
event, surely, were the individual sellers offering miscellaneous bike
parts — i.e., the kind of stuff you just can’t waltz into an AutoZone
and ask for.
“Swap meets are more for the gearheads, truly
that person who likes to work on their own bike — I call it therapy,”
Whitcomb said. “It allows some of the guys who have always kept up with a
lot of the old nostalgic parts, to bring out those hard-to-find parts.
Sometimes they’re brand new, sometimes they’re refurbished. It’s like
finding buried treasure sometimes, it’s amazing what you can find out
At the largest swap meets of the type, Whitcomb said it’s not unusual to see as many as 25,000 people swing by.
a routine, local level, you’re looking at several hundred people
walking through,” he said. “And again, it’s more or less a good excuse
to walk around and hunt for that buried treasure … the older engines,
the older models, some of the bikes you actually look for whether it’s a
knucklehead or a shovelhead engine, this is where you find those
But events of the sort aren’t just about lug nuts and
hot rods. Whitcomb said festivals like Swap Invasion are also suited for
those with an interest in “Kustom Kulture” — a sweeping subculture with
its own idiosyncratic fashion, artistic and musical styles.
Kulture has always tied into the motor-head lifestyle,” he said.
“You’ll always have music playing in the background, whether it’s
someone from years past like Johnny Cash or Elvis, and you’ve got a lot
of great current day bands like Slim and the Gems that are actually
relatively local, coming out with some great new music.”
that type of music comes in several varieties — rockabilly, psychobilly
and gothabilly are just a few of its subsets — Whitcomb said the
commonality is that most of the tunes are relatively upbeat and
positive. And, naturally, the musicians themselves tend to foster a
fondness for all things automotively retro.
“Most of the
people who play inside one of these bands, they’re a gearhead,” Whitcomb
said. “They either have a hot rod themselves or a motorcycle
themselves, so it’s just one of those marriages that naturally happens.”
swings by the local Harley-Davidson dealer several times a year. His
next major event in Cartersville is an August shindig called “Rockabilly
“We’re bringing some national headliner rockabilly
bands, a car show, a bike show, all geared for the family,” he said.
“We’ll do some fun things like BMX, drift trikes — the kids are
definitely going to have just as much fun as the adults hanging out on
Of course, with the Savoy Automobile
Museum — complete with its spacious 12,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion
for car shows and concerts — opening in about a year or two, Whitcomb
said he is champing at the bit over the possibilities.
“I definitely see something happening over at the museum,” he said, “and we would love to be a part of it.”