News 2012 Arizona | Year of the Motorcycle

2012 Arizona | Year of the Motorcycle


Motorcycles in Arizona

In the following article from the promoters of Arizona Bike Week, they discuss this year’s motorcycle-friendly Arizona Centennial Celebration, and previews Arizona Bike Week, which begins pre-rally festivities March 23.

It may be the year of the dragon on the Chinese calendar, but in Arizona, it’s the year of the motorcycle.

Whether you agree or disagree with our state officials on political matters, we Arizonians all have to concur that when it came to commemorating our centennial, they got it right.

Last weekend Arizona celebrated its 100th anniversary of becoming the 48th state to join the Union. The main focal point of the festivities was the “Copper Chopper” and the centennial parade was an organized motorcycle ride. This confirms that the outdated image of the Wild West has given way to the modern day “cowboy,” who now rides in on an iron horse and rocks a bandana, instead of a cowboy hat.

When the state of Arizona decided to name a motorcycle as the official mascot of our centennial celebration, the choice of who should design and create it was obvious. One of the country’s premier custom builders, Paul Yaffe, just happens to reside right here in the Phoenix area.

As symbolized in the copper star on our state flag, copper mining has been one of the leading industries throughout Arizona’s history. Perhaps copper wouldn’t have been Paul’s first choice in materials to use when building a bike.

Working with the heavy, soft, easily tarnished metal certainly presented its challenges, but the end result was truly a work of art. The Copper Chopper was unveiled at the state fair in October of 2010 and spent the next fifteen months on display at every type of special event you can imagine. We hope you had the opportunity to see this spectacular piece of Arizona history, up close, either at Arizona Bike Week 2011 or one of the dozens of stops on its tour.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Copper Chopper ended its illustrious tour, appropriately ridden by its creator, Paul Yaffe, leading the Centennial Ride. Paul and a host of celebrities, including Dierks Bentley, were followed by an estimated 5,000 riders, as they made their way from Mesa Riverview to the Best Fest in downtown Phoenix.

Feb. 14, 2012, marked Arizona’s official centennial birthday, but the celebration continues. Arizona has demonstrated that we are, beyond doubt, a biker-friendly place. We invite riders from all over the country to come to Arizona Bike Week this March and see what all the fuss is about.

Discover the incredible riding terrain and amazing spring weather in a state that not only welcomes riders, but embraces them as an integral component of our community, our history and our future. For all you locals, we know you have a friend or loved one who says “I just don’t get it,” when you talk about your passion for riding. Arizona Bike Week is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the “cage free” lifestyle.

We look forward to seeing you all at Arizona Bike Week as we celebrate, “The Year of the Motorcycle.”

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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