If the name Pro Promotions sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve been to its premier event: Territory Days, the massive street festival invading Old Colorado City every Memorial Day weekend. But of the company’s portfolio, one event is most personal for its president.
That’s Jim Wear, who built his first street bike at age 15 and went on to own a shop in Colorado Springs for 20 years. He’s executive director of the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum in town.
“I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to motorcycles,” Wear says. Which explains why he looks forward every year to the Motorcycle & Car Show, Pro Promotions’ biggest indoor shindig, happening this weekend. Wear says 7,000 to 10,000 people attend — gearheads inspecting frames and peeping under hoods, nostalgics amped by paint jobs and vintage models.
It began 29 years ago with Wear thinking bikes, of course. But with a sizable showroom, he posed an idea that seemed audacious to peers: Invite the car guys. No way would the groups get along, friends said.
“Whether it’s two wheels or four wheels, they’re into the machines. The machine is part of who they are,” Wear says. “They’re not all that different. Except bikers are in black T-shirts and black leather, and the car guys wear their street clothes.”
From 2011 to 2016, the show moved to a smaller site, with room only for motorcycles, Wear decided. “Believe me, the car guys were calling me regularly.”
They missed the social gathering. They missed bringing their kids.
“See, all these people, car people and motorcycle people, we’re all getting older,” Wear says. “The show is also important to expose younger people to the hobby ... That’s why we let kids in for free. We want it to be exciting to them, because we want our hobby to continue.”
On Saturday and Sunday, attendees will fill the Colorado Springs Event Center, walking around with food and beer and voting on their favorite bikes and hot rods — owners’ prides and joys. They appreciate the judges’ awards, but the people’s choice votes are more treasured.
“They enjoy sitting there and watching the public come by and go, ‘Oh man, look at that!’” Wear says. “Or some little kid: ‘Daddy, that’s my favorite bike right there!’”
SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE, SETH.BOSTER@GAZETTE.COM