Paul Binford will always know that his name is on a trophy in the lobby of the Harley-Davidson corporate headquarters in Milwaukee.
Last month the Turlock native, who owns a motorcycle shop in Manteca and paint shop in Turlock, headed to Sturgis, S.D. for the 70th annual Sturgis Motorcycle run – which drew more than 600,000 people from around the world to the tiny town of over 4,000.
His customized 2010 Harley Road King entry – named Que Paso? – won the Best of Show Award that was picked by members of the Davidson family who were on hand to judge which entries made the final cut.
Getting there took braving some of the craziest weather he had ever experienced – including a flash flood that trapped him and his wife Diane in their truck for more than an hour – but it was all more than worth it when his name got called.
“I heard the announcer say that was getting kind of sick of calling this guy’s name – and then he said that the winner was from Manteca, California,” Binford said. “I just thought to myself – ‘No way.’ Then he called my name, and I just had chills running through my body as I walked up to the stage.”
The intricately designed Road King earned its unique name after customers kept asking Binford about the light blue frame that was just sitting on the rack.
“What’s up with that bike?” was all that he heard for months as the chrome parts that kept coming in from the engraver were kept out of sight.
In all the entire process took about 11 months to complete, and nine months of that were put into the intricate details in the engraving. Unlike other builds, the entire bike was built around the construction of the motor – which puts out 212 foot-pounds of torque and more than 200 horsepower. The motor itself was built by both Binford and Harley Master Tech Tanner Shackley.
All of the paint was done in-house at Binford’s Turlock paint shop, and everything else was assembled at the Manteca location.
“In a lot of builds lately, the Road King has kind of been lost, so we wanted to start with that and go from there,” Binford said. “We had high expectations when we came up with the design, and by the time we were done it exceeded those.”
Binford’s name will now be engraved on a 4-foot-tall trophy that will be placed back into the lobby of the Harley corporate headquarters – one of the biggest honors that the bike builder has ever been given.
For the Turlock native, it’s both an honor and a stepping-stone.
“We’re already trying to figure out what we’re going to do next to be even better when we head back next year,” Binford said. “That last bike took us 11 months, so we’re kind of up against it right now. But it’ll be something else when we’re all done.”
Binford’s Custom Cycles is located at 418 N. Main St., in Manteca.