By Brandon HENSLEY
Joe’s Minibike Reunion Tour came and went last Saturday at Crescenta Valley Park, but not before it left an impression on the community.
The event was a showcase for all kinds of minibikes, be classic or custom built, and was headed up by La Crescenta resident Joe Sebergandio, who may now be the face of a resurgence in popularity in the minibike community.
Sebergandio said he hoped to have 50 bikes registered for showcase, and would have loved to 75. In all, 104 bikes were on display at the park, and he said about 200 people showed up over the course of the day.
“It tells me that I was right, that this was something the community would appreciate,” Sebergandio said.
Registration was $40, or people could pay $50 for a premium registration that included a potential package of prizes. Some of those 104 bikes were from those who just came up along Honolulu Avenue.
“Instead of chasing them off, or berating them about riding our coattails about paying to come in, I let all that happened because it was the correct thing to do,” he said. “And it proved to pay dividends because the folks that tried to skirt paying … as the event got going, they decided to come in and enter.”
And some who did enter there on the spot ended up winning prizes, which included a Pioneer boom box, kick pads, and Pit Stop furniture. In all, Sebergandio said he gave away over $2,000 worth of prizes in retail.
Sebergandio himself was the emcee under a Honda canopy, giving out prizes over the loudspeaker. There were also many awards for the registered bikes. The three categories for awards were Most Original, Best Customized and Best Bike Under Construction. Bikes were divided into different classes: U.S., Honda CT 70s, Honda Z 50s, Honda Ruckus, open classes.
This being his event, Sebergandio named an award after himself, called the Joey.
“It was the one I best thought reflected the spirit of the event,” he said.
The Joey went to Scott Kileen, although his bike was pieced together using different parts that Sebegandio and his friends couldn’t exactly figure out the make of the bike.
“We’ve yet to find out anyone who knew what it was,” Sebergandio joked.
After the show, Sebergandio was offered thanks by several of the enthusiasts.
“Many folks came up to seek me out and to not only mention how much they like minibikes but to thank me for bringing this to the community,” he said.
Drew Hardin, former editor for Hot Rod Magazine and friend of Sebergandio, was there and said he enjoyed the event.
“To go to a show and see these cool minibikes that I lusted after when I was a kid, it was a real nostalgic feeling. It’s a lot like going to a car show and you see the cars you remember when you were younger,” Hardin said.
“One of the nicest things about Joe’s show is that it was inclusive of minibikes not just the kind you home build with a frame and a lawn mower engine – those were kind of crude,” said Hardin, who is now editor of Muscle Car Review. “But he also included some of the Honda models, the Trail 70s, Trail 90s, Z 50s that were more sophisticated, but now highly collectable and still popular.”
CV Park provided such a nice place to hold the event, Sebergandio said, that as soon as he can he will set up next year’s show with the park for the first week of August.
“The venue was perfect. And what a backdrop. There’s no way that we’re leaving,” he said.
Hardin agreed. “CV Park was gorgeous. It was a great setting for that show: the nice lawn, the shade, plenty of parking.”
Hardin said he was surprised at how much the community seems to be into this hobby, and on Saturday he enjoyed seeing the different cultures of minibikes come together.
“It’s certainly interesting to see how [the bikes] have evolved over time, and it’s also interesting to see the two types of people come together,” he said, “the people with the new minibikes and those with the old minibikes.”