If you love motorcycles, you’ll know there’s something special about riding in the Hill Country. Whether you’re gliding around the coastline, exploring the winding roads, or navigating the crowds in the city, riding in Texas holds a special charm. But the state’s appeal for motorcycle fanatics doesn’t end with its landscape. This is a state that’s home to a huge array of motorcycle shows, festivals, rallies, bike swaps, and organized rides. Some of the events are short and sweet, some of them are spread over an entire week. Regardless of duration, they’re all great places to catch up with some buddies, chat with industry experts, and get up to speed on the latest trends and models taking the motorcycle world by storm. Although you’ll not be short of events to choose from, don’t worry if you can only squeeze in a few. To help you pick the best from the rest, we’ve rounded up the five best motorcycle shows in Texas. Fill your schedule with these five gems, and you’re guaranteed a seriously fun year ahead.
1. Progressive Dallas Motorcycle Show
If you love bikes and you live in or within traveling distance of Dallas, you’re going to want to keep the first week of January blocked off on your calendar. Why? Because that’s when the Progressive Dallas Motorcycle Show takes over the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. With hundreds of the hottest dirt bikes, cruisers, scooters, ATVs, side-by-sides, and street bikes on display, this is the place you’re guaranteed to find your new object of affection. Along with the displays, you can expect hundreds of vendors selling all the latest gear and aftermarket accessories (word of warning, be prepared to leave with a lot less cash than you arrived with). With seminars and interactive entertainment rounding out the schedule, the show is a great place to discover more about the latest trends and events in the world of motorcycling. With thousands of two-wheeled fanatics to mingle with, it’s also just an excellent opportunity to shoot the breeze with some like-minded folk.
2. Thunder in the Hill Country
Admission to Thunder in the Hill Country is $50. Is it worth it? Unquestionably. 2021 celebrates the 19th year of the event. If past years are anything to go by, it’s going to be unmissable. Spread over three full days, the festival features a full lineup that has a little something for everyone. Tattoo contests, bike displays, Sunday morning church service, beer, live concerts, bike shows, bike games, poker run, a burnout pit, vendors, food trucks, field events… you name it, it’s got it. As some of the festivities are a little adult-orientated, this isn’t the place to bring your kids for some family-friendly fun. Expect to provide proof of age at the door – if you’re under 21, you’ll have to wait a few more years before coming back. If you want to stay close to the action, there are a good number of free electrical/water RV sites right on the rally grounds in Mansfield Park. It’s fun, it’s action-packed, and if you love bikes, you’re going to want to be there.
3. Spring Thaw & Porta Potti Drags
If Thunder in the Hill Country is a little too risque for your liking, try the Spring Thaw & Porta Potti Drags for size instead. Designed to appeal to the whole family, the event runs for three days every March at the Double P Arena in New Summerfield. As lightningcustoms.com notes, the event hosts a huge array of activities, including a $1,000 fun run, bike show, and field events. There’s live music from the best Texas talents around, a good selection of vendors from around the country, and a whole rooster of fun and games for the kids to enjoy. Rounding out the event is a bike blessing and church service. Admission is $25 per person. Kids under 16 get in free. Although it’s open to all ages, you might want to bear in mind the ban on ‘pets, attitudes, weapons, or 3 or 4 wheelers.’
4. The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show
According to the show’s creator, Revival Cycles, the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show is an ‘inspiring showcase of works from builders and craftsmen that combine knowledge, skill, and ingenuity to create one-of-a-kind truly hand-built machines.’ As descriptions go, it pretty much sums up everything you need to know about this extraordinary event. Held every year in the first week of April, the show aims to bring together riders and builders from across the country to showcase the culture of craftsmanship. The bikes on display are more than just motorcycles: they’re works of art. Along with the motorcycle exhibits, attendees are treated to four bars with a great selection of craft beers and beverages, the Oil & Ink Expo motorbike art show, three food trucks, and some very intriguing displays. Watch Makoto Endo paint life-size motorcycles with chopsticks, grab a haircut at the Progressive Insurance rider corner, pump industry greats like Jessi Combs, Max Hazan (Hazan Motorworks), John Ryland (Classified Moto), and Magnus Walker for info, and take in as many Wall of Death shows from the American Motor Drome Company as you can… whatever else it is, this is a show that fully justifies the $15 admission fee.
5. The Lone Star Rally
As rove.me says, when the noise of roaring engines starts reverberating through Galveston, it can mean only one thing – the Lone Star Rally is in town. Known as the largest motorcycle rally in North America, the 3-day event promises a fun-packed weekend of music, motorcycles, and madness. Along with a motorcycle rodeo and long-distance rides, the event also boasts juried bike shows and truck, jeep, & classic car shows. Packed with vendors selling everything from motorcycle accessories to crafted jewelry and hand-tooled leather, it’s the ideal place to pick up a few rare or hard-to-find parts and items. In attendance are some of the most legendary bike builders from around the country – mine them for advice on your latest project or simply stand back and admire the beauty of their designs. Along with all the bikes, the jeeps, and the cars, there’s also a lot of non-vehicle-related fun to be had, with plenty of entertainment and live music. If you want to catch up with some fellow motorcycle enthusiasts and have a whole heap of fun in the process, it’s unmissable.