Ryan Hurst has actually been in a number of films and TV shows – from Remember the Titans to We Were Soldiers, Patch Adams, The Ladykillers, Saving Private Ryan and several other titles – but to the motorcycle and biker communities (and those who, much like myself, don't own a bike but love the show anyway), there really isn't anyone cooler or more bad ass than the character of Opie from FX Network's hit show Sons of Anarchy. Even Hurst is caught off guard, at times, with the show's popularity. "The demographic has surprised me," he says. "I never foresaw such a huge viewership of women over 40. Who knew Grandma has a panhead in storage!"
For the record, I'm going to refrain from using terminology I've picked up from the show (or from the too many episodes of Gangland that I've watched), and just tell you about Hurst – and his popular character from the show – and how truly awesome and unique it's going to be that he will be making an appearance at Detroit Bike Week this weekend. And he's actually not just a poser when it comes to the biking aspect of the job, either. "That's why I initially decided to do the show, honestly. My choice in roles is not always creative," says Hurst. "In the past there have been a lot of wonderful projects that I've pursued simply because of their exotic shooting locations. Sons was the bikes. Who wouldn't want to get PAID to learn to ride??"
Not only will Hurst be making an appearance at the event – which begins at noon on Friday and concludes at 6 p.m. on Sunday – he's an integral part of the festivities. He's a tough dude, and he'll actually be front and center, leading the group ride and also spending time with his adoring public in both a private and public meet and greet. And if you think he can't handle himself amongst his biker brethren, think again. "Actors aren't the most psychologically grounded lot," he says. "So you see, funny enough 1-percenters [outlaw biker gangs] and I get along perfectly. We go together like gasoline and dynamite."
In all seriousness, Opie may be a ruthless renegade on SOA, but he's a great dude in real life – even with the tattoos, gnarly beard and height of a 100-year old California redwood! "I'm a teddy bear with a live grenade sewn into its belly," he explains.
And don't forget – everyone who attends Detroit Bike Week has a chance to win a free chopper from Poor Boy Choppers during Sunday's festivities – plus the bike is given away by Opie himself (how gnarly is that?!). It's just one of the sweet perks of Hurst's job. Well, that and a couple others. He's a big fan of the friendships he's forged while working on the show – to him it's all about the relationships. "Brotherhood. No contest. Well... and the porno girls." | RDW
Detroit Bike Week • 7/27-7/29 • Multi Lakes Conservation Association • 3860 Newton Rd., Commerce • detroitbikeweek.com • $10 daily; $20 weekend pass
Friday through Sunday, you'll be able to catch music all day long. Ty Stone, Kaleido, the Twistin' Tarantulas, Paulina Jayne, Jennifer Westwood, 60 Second Crush, Citizen Zero, The Dirty Americans and a slew of fantastic tribute bands (Cowboy, the Kid Rock tribute and Banned from H.E.L.L., the Black Sabbath tribute) – and those are just a few of the acts that you won't want to pass up.
custom bike show
Who doesn't want to see the brightest and best – and most tricked-out or bad ass – bike in town? Well, of course there's a custom show and ride-in bike show, hosted by Don Weimer Jr. If you're a motorcycle fan, this most certainly is one of the events you're not going to want to pass up.
Is an event description even necessary? The word "bikini" followed by the word "contest" should be enough for you, but the specifics are this: International Bikini Team is a worldwide model search organization that will be holding a competition at Detroit Bike Week this year. Enjoy!
UCF Cage Combat will be providing action-packed cage fights on Saturday, featuring some of Michigan and Canada's top mixed martial arts, competing for Detroit Bike Week's Championship medallions.
Lucky Monkey Tattoo will be judging several categories for best tattoos, with the winners not only having eternal bragging rights – but some pretty great prizes too! But our favorite part undoubtedly will be the Biggest Tattoo Regret category (seriously), where the lucky (or perhaps unlucky, depending on your perspective) individual can win a cover up by Lucky Monkey valued at $250.
Wing Eating Contest
Sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings, you'll finally get the chance to show up that fat dude on Man v. Food! A selection of 15 contestants compete to win tons of prizes – and most likely a pretty solid case of heartburn.
One of the nation's top streetbike freestyle riders, Josh Borne will be wowing the crowd and showing off his remarkable skills (he's known best for his high-energy riding, drifting, precision stoppies and technical riding abilities).
Beer belly contest
This is yet another fantastic competition that is exactly what it sounds like. A search for the dude whose gut has a combination of the appropriate shape, form, presence, firmness and character (we couldn't make this up if we tried) is the man who will walk away victorious.
Who doesn't want to see the weird, obscure and totally bizarre? With performers prepared to blow your mind, you're assured a good (and entirely unique) time! Experience stilt walking and jumping, unicycling, juggling of balls and clubs, contact juggling and fire-eating. And that's just the first performer! You'll also be treated to mini-biking, the human blockhead, fire-breathing, sword-swallowing, a bed of nails, glass-eating and much more! | RDW