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Motorcycle enthusiasts pack riverfront for annual event – News – Journal Star

PEORIA — The insults were flying as Punky Bruiser landed a hard right on a rather mean and irate librarian.

No, it wasn’t a case of kids upset at the start of the school year but the women of Champaign Ladies Amateur Wresting taking center stage at the 23rd annual Grand Nationals Weekend on Peoria’s riverfront. The kerfuffle between the pig-tailed Bruiser and Dewey Decimator was just one of many that involved the traveling troupe from the eastern side of the state. And while some might think that didn’t fit in with the black leather vests are dominated the riverfront, none of the 60 or so people who were watching seemed to mind. In fact, more than a few got into it with the wrestlers, yelling back insults that added to the show.

The annual event, said promoter Jay Goldberg, was here to complement and to honor the 71st annual Grand National TT races which will be held Sunday at PMC Park in Bartonville. The riverfront was full of vendors who were hawking motorcycle parts, leather vests, shirts and other wares. And wherever one wandered, rock’n’roll was played loud and proud by several bands — to the delight of many.

Carl Pusser, a custom bike builder from Tremont who has had some of his works featured in national magazines, said Peoria has a tremendous motorcycle culture. The owner of Walking Tall Cycles brought three bikes to show, including one that was featured in April’s edition of Easy Rider and a Minion-themed bike that his 5-year-old granddaughter assisted with. The bike will be given away in September through a contest at the County Saloon, 3415 Meadow Ave., in East Peoria.

Dennis Major of Varna won the Rat Class award for his trike during the antique and custom motorcycle show. The Rat Class is for the Frankenstein’s monster of motorcycles. It’s re-purposed parts. Forget about the fancy paint job or the scrubbed clean wheels. If you go Rat, it’s all about the industrial…

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