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Milwaukee’s Outlaw Motorcycle Show Welcomes a New Generation of Riders

We check out the Mama Tried Motorcycle Show, which brought together thousands of motorcycle fans for a weekend of custom builds and killer burnouts

Inside Mamma Tried Harley Flat track race

Hooligan racer star Rusty Butcher, Mark Atkins dives into turn two during a qualifying race for Flat Out Friday race series held at BMO Harris Bradley Center, Friday Feb. 23, 2018 in Milwaukee.

Darren Hauck for Rolling Stone

By all reasonable measures, motorcycles are practical vehicles. They cost less than cars, require relatively little fuel, and offer much-needed reprieve from urban gridlock. But since the mid-20th Century, when motorcycle gangs became popular and movies like Easy Rider bound ideas of freedom and rebellion together on the the wheels of custom choppers, the motorcycle idea has loomed gigantic in the cultural imagination.

The Mama Tried Motorcycle Show, an event launched by Harley Davidson, honors that idea by bringing together mechanical hobbyists, race fans and the cabal of willful outsiders who form the grassroots core of the show.

We were there for Flat Out Friday on February 23rd, which serves as the thundering opening ceremony of the Milwaukee event as more than 10,000 fans watched from seats surrounding the track. Here, a few of the highlights.

Darren Hauck for Rolling Stone

Lean In

A rider dives into a turn during Thursday night practice rides as racers prepare for Flat Out Friday race series at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Darren Hauck for Rolling Stone

Rusty Butcher Making Changes Between Races

Hooligan racer Rusty Butcher, real-name Mark Atkins, and a friend try to frantically replace a bad clutch plate before the start of the qualifying race for Flat Out Friday race series.

Darren Hauck for Rolling Stone

Crowd-Side View

Fans and enthusiasts look on as racers from all over the United States compete in the Flat Out Friday race series held at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Friday February 23, 2018 in Milwaukee.

Darren Hauck for Rolling Stone

Last-Minute Tweaks

Hooligan racer and entrepreneur Mark Atkins, a.k.a. Rusty Butcher, of Corona California works on his custom racing Harley Davidson before he takes a practice run for the race night of Flat Out Friday race series.

Darren Hauck for Rolling Stone

Zaria Martens Preps to Race

At 14 years old, she’s the defending women’s champ for Flat Out Friday race series. Here, Zaria Martens gets ready for a qualifying race backstage at the the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Darren Hauck for Rolling Stone

No Suspension, No Brakes, No Brains

A T-shirt over the handle bars of a race bike at the Flat Out Friday race series.

Darren Hauck for Rolling Stone

Hitting the Road, Again

The Friday night’s races spill over to the custom-built bike show and motorcycle film festival the next day, and later, crowds file into nearby bars for after parties. When it’s all over, we’re ready to hit the road.

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