OCC says Goodbye
It’s official; the last episode of Orange County Choppers will air on February 11th. I feel a special connection with the crew at OCC and not for the reasons you might think. As the co-host of the Motorcycle Radio Network and a former Harley-Davidson dealer from 1975-2006 I worked in a similar environment as Paul Jr and Mikey. I worked with my farther, which made Paul Sr look like a pussy cat and my brother for some 30 years in what I would describe as the original dysfunctional bike family.
In 2003 when the show first aired many of my customers came into the shop that following day and said that we should have been you on the Discovery Channel because we were well known for our family antics. The biggest difference between OCC and HDCC (Harley-Davidson Cycle Center) our old company name was that most of our family meetings would end in a fist fight.
There are many in the motorcycle industries that are happy to see an end to OCC 8 year run on TV. They will tell you that their antics were foolish and that the bikes were poorly built. To me, they’re just jealous of the success that OCC has enjoyed. Think of how many lives they have touched and all they have given to charity over the years. They have built a brand name that is known all over the world and that is something to be very proud of.
I always knew that the OCC family would fall apart just like ours did. You cannot work in that type of environment for long before things start to unravel internally. For me, it was more than just watching the cool looking bikes being built; it was watching the interaction between Paul Sr and Paul Jr. I think Paul Jr was never fully appreciated by his dad and when he left the show that was the beginning of the end.
Nobody really knows what is going on behind the scenes with the OCC family, but if I can give them any advice it would be to try and put their TV lives behind them and try and repair the family. I haven’t spoken to my family since we sold our dealership in 06 and that’s pretty sad. We fought just as OCC did because we were passionate about our business, we were one of the largest volume H-D dealerships in the country, and I attained a Master of Technology rating as a Harley Technician, you don’t attain these milestones in business, unless love what you do.
So you can see why I feel this special connection for the OCC family, and I wish them the best of luck going forward with their non-TV life.