Andrew Wise isn't a biker. But he'll live the life this weekend -- along with at least 15,000 to 20,000 biker dudes and chicks -- at the inaugural Cycle de Mayo at the Lake Pleasant Harbor Marina.
Wise, owner of Banana Communications and producer of the event, dreamed up the four days of debauchery with a few golfing buddies (one of whom is a Harley rider) as a charity event.
"We'd heard about all these poker runs that different groups of bikers would do for charity. But, with all this event has, it's a little hard to remember that it's all for the Make-A-Wish Foundation," admits Wise, who's spent the last nine months finalizing logistics for Cycle de Mayo, which includes almost as many curvaceous bikini models as there will be chromed-out hawgs parked on the banks of Lake Pleasant.
The inaugural Cycle de Mayo event
Lake Pleasant Harbor Marina, 40202 North 87th Avenue, off the Carefree Highway
Rides in from Thursday, May 5, through Sunday, May 8. Benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation and United Blood Services. Tickets are $15 to $130. Call 602-229-2992 or see www.cycledemayo.com.
Beginning Thursday, May 5, the marina plays host to six live bands daily, trick-bike performances, jet-ski demos, a chili cook-off, a "Dyno Drags" motorcycle competition, a volleyball tournament, a "Strong Man" contest, a "Best of Show" motorcycle competition, and a fireworks display that ends each day's festivities.
And then you've got possibly the most highly anticipated attraction, the "Belize Chicken Drop," which isn't as inhumane as it might sound.
"It happens at night, after everyone's had a few drinks in them," Wise says. "The Chicken Drop happens in a ring about 10-by-10 [feet], covered with numbered tiles. Everyone who participates buys a number, and then we throw in a rooster. Anywhere [the rooster] takes a 'drop' at, that's the winning number."
The rooster might be scared, ahem, shitless, Wise admits, but isn't harmed.
For several months, Wise and his fellow organizers were concerned that Cycle de Mayo might not even happen, thanks to the Peoria Police Department, according to Wise, which was initially set up to provide security.
"I do things large-scale; it's cost us about $175,000 so far to get this going. And that made some folks a little sketchy about letting us do this at Lake Pleasant -- especially a first-time deal," Wise says, adding that the Peoria PD wasn't willing to have the necessary numbers of officers at the event and subsequently argued that CdM shouldn't happen. "The City of Peoria tried to stop us on multiple occasions."
(For the record, Peoria PD spokeswoman Shelly Watkins says the department "wasn't comfortable with the event" because of the uncertainty of the size of the crowd, and that the department recommended the city deny Wise and his fellow promoters a liquor license for the same reason.)
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Thank goodness, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office stepped in, Wise says, and took over the event, which will have almost 90 officers (both MCSO and private security detail) on hand.
But guarding the marina property and a few thousand Harleys on site might be an easier task than keeping the male hormones of CdM-goers in check, thanks to a "bikini bike wash" and bikini dunk tank, Jell-O wrestling, performances by the sultry "Samba Girls," and a Texas Hold'em poker tournament -- which guarantees at least one winner a trip to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas -- hosted by card vixen "Two Card Tammi."
"Yeah, a lotta women," Wise says. "But, hey, this is a motorcycle event, man."
Oh, right, we almost forgot.