Slowed by the rain, but not stopped: Joe’s Minibike Reunion Rides On

Photos by Julian MITCHELL
One of the many colorful minibikes on display

By Julian MITCHELL, intern

Despite the weather on Saturday, Joe’s Minibike Reunion trudged on, hosting quite a show for its seventh year at Crescenta Valley Park.

According to Joe Sebergandio, founder and coordinator of the event, only a third of the expected total visitors were in attendance for the nationally known minibike show.

The new 2019 Honda Monkey out on display.

“After years of being here, and seeing people still coming out despite the weather, I think we have a home here,” said Sebergandio.

With over 50 bikes on display and two food trucks, the crowd that did attend was in for quite a treat – in addition to fare from LA Donut Truck.

Participants discussing one of the many minibikes on display.

The brand new 2019 Honda Monkey, a re-creation of an older Honda minibike model, was on display at one of its first public appearances. The new bike drew much attention from all of the enthusiasts, and Honda representatives were happy to answer questions.

The bike was released commercially only three weeks ago and has had very few public appearances thus far. It is one of the few minibikes that has a four-speed transmission and also sports some new technological features, such as LCD headlights and taillights. A re-creation of a 1970s classic, the Honda Z-50, fans were buzzing about the nostalgic feel of this modern bike.

Although the rain deterred some attendees from making the trip to CV Park, participants from Arizona made the trip, bringing a few bikes to show off.

Joe Sebergandio addressed the crowd before announcing the 2018 Hall of Fame inductees.

The event has competitions for best bike in a multitude of categories such as rat-rod and classic. Judges combed through the many bikes on display, awarding points for style, build and authenticity.

“There is lots of creativity here,” said participant Tom Corona.

Corona made the trip to the show for a second year from Edwards Air Force Base. He had heard about the event online the year prior, and decided to attend just as an onlooker. This year, he had to show one of his classic bikes.

“I couldn’t afford these as a kid, but here I am now,” said Corona.

Minibikes have been popular in the United States for over 50 years. One of the new events at Joe’s Minibike Reunion was the Minibike Hall of Fame, which honored Ray Michirna, who was unable to attend his induction.

Michirna is one of three brothers who helped to popularize go-karts and minibikes in the late 1950s and 1960s with their brand “Little Indian.”

The Hall of Fame also enshrined a more local legend, Robert Olivera, who is more affectionately known as Temecula Bob. Oliver is a builder of his own custom minibikes, some of which he sells.

Although rain slowed the event, those who came were more than happy to talk shop with fellow enthusiasts.

“We give them something they like,” said Sebergandio.

Those who missed their chance at fulfilling their minibike fix, or who just want more, can check at Joe’s Minibike Reunion podcast to fill that bike-shaped hole.