Bikes Are Back at the Beach, Local Shop Loaded Gun Customs Gears Up for Big Encore Event
Get your motors running and be ready to head out—it’s OC BikeFest and Delmarva Bike Week all around Ocean City, MD September 13 – 16th! You may have felt the rumble already, or heard the roar from the cacophony of engines, but it’s only just getting started. There are tons of activities and planned events for motorcycle enthusiasts, and those who wish they were. Find out more details on all of the happenings at OC BikeFest or Delmarva Bike Week.
At OC BikeFest, something gaining a lot of attention is the chance to win a custom vintage suped-up ride from the Eastern Shore’s own Loaded Gun Customs. All OC BikeFest attendees 21 and over are eligible to win. Register at the Inlet or Convention Center locations, now through September 15th at 5 pm. The drawing takes place on the Inlet stage following the Charlie Daniel’s Band concert September 15th at approximately 6:30 pm.
Speaking of Loaded Gun Customs, Kevin Dunworth and his crew are gearing up for their big event: The Beasts at the Beach, 2nd Annual. Following last year’s hugely successful inaugural event, the encore promises more of everything the crowd loved last year. More bands—four instead of two; more food—Matteo’s from Fenwick Island making their overstuffed burritos, plus addictive wings from JC’s Northside OC; more industry magazines—Lowside is back and bringing with them Showclass…and yes, even more. If you’re looking for more fun, more excitement, more custom builders, and perhaps even an off-the-hook bachelor party, we hear Loaded Gun Customs is the place to be Friday evening September 14th starting at 6 pm. It’s a street party not to be missed. And at 9 pm, Loaded Gun is thrilled to announce the world wide web launch of their new site: Caferacer.xxx Find out directions and more party details by visiting them on Facebook.
Intrigued by Loaded Gun Custom? Want to know more about this Eastern Shore custom vintage shop? Read more from the Shorebread article, where we caught up with "Kev Gun" and learned the story behind Loaded Gun Customs, below...
Loaded Gun Customs Vintage Appeal
Kevin Dunworth found himself in physical therapy, attempting to heal his left hand. He knew he was lucky—he should have lost it in the accident. His lower back was also broken, but while undergoing treatment, surrounded by people who had lost limbs entirely, one learns to forget the personal struggles, and appreciate life. This was also right around the time that Kevin, aka “Kev Dun” decided to start really living.
Dunworth is the proprietor of Loaded Gun Customs—Cycles, Cafes, and Cars--in West Fenwick Island, DE. The son of a gear-head, he grew up working on bikes and cars, and began his first job at Continental Cycles in Ocean City at 15, and stayed until he was 21. From there Dunworth transitioned to the lucrative marine industry in big-time sales and marketing for high-end speedboats. But as he’s fond of saying—he spent most of his time putting out fires between the sales staff and the mechanics. Here were these high power guys who had no idea how to deal with the down and dirty world of the mechanics. But Dunworth did. He may have been a business guy up front, but his passion held an allegiance to the workingman who made things, or fixed things by hand.
Dunworth speaks fondly of the 1940’s—the generation of men and women who held the country together during World War II, fought the battles abroad, and used their hands to build the machinery of the times. His admiration is evident---one craftsman appreciating the works of another. This part is key to understanding Dunworth, he may own a revered bike shop known for its vintage parts and cycles, but underneath it’s not about the glitz and glamor, it’s about the act of riding, and the art of creating.
For a certain period of time, Dunworth entertained the idea that working on bikes and cars was simply a hobby, a culture he grew up with--an indulgence he entertained on nights and weekends. His day job in the marine industry was fast paced, high paying, and meant frequent travel. He had money in the bank to spare, but no time to enjoy it. Life was airports, hotels, and negotiations. Money may have been aplenty, but certain things suffered, and ultimately Dunworth found himself questioning his purpose. It was a classic thirty-year crisis, felt by many who question what success truly is. For creative types, it’s often not a case of money to be spared, but what does one have to show for themselves? Dunworth fell perfectly into that category.
He had been working on vintage bikes and creating parts in what little spare time he had, but the boating accident a few years ago changed everything. The accident laid him up for months, providing a lot of free time to reflect. In full disclosure, he should have died, or at the very least, lost his hand—which would have rendered him incapable of doing the very work, he loved most. Instead, Dunworth recovered and embraced a renewed sense of purpose, quitting his day job and railing headfirst into the motorcycle industry, with his understanding wife’s blessing.
Now five and a half years after the creation of Loaded Gun Customs, vintage is in—old parts are sold more often than new parts. The re-furbished and re-purposed lifestyle has come to the motorcycle industry—putting this local motorcycle shop, which started out to simply fulfill a niche market--at the helm of a new movement. It’s that giddy point almost, where hard work and passion become a truly viable source of income. Truth be told, plenty of people already feel as if Loaded Gun Customs has indeed “arrived.” Loaded Gun has been featured as part of a Discovery Channel motorcycle series a number of times. It’s fantastic exposure, and Loaded Gun is thankful for the opportunity, but the reality is that shop has to shut down for a few days, which means no income, and the TV gig, though great for promotional purposes--isn’t actually paid.
Dunworth and Loaded Gun are on the cusp—conceptually they are media darlings, favored by industry giants who call to ask for advice, embraced by 40-year veterans of the industry who send clients hours past Baltimore to the Eastern Shore to “see Kev Dun.” But ultimately, beneath all of the beautiful parts that Loaded Gun makes by hand, and vintage Triumphs and Custom Cafes that they are well known for, sits a bank account jut waiting for all of the passionate hard work to pay off. And likely that phase is just around the corner.
Cliff Sutherland and Mike Alexander—world famous producers in the industry, invited Dunworth to a vintage showcase. They made mention their intention to bring a show to Ocean City—and asked Dunworth and Loaded Gun to work together. For local Dunworth, the opportunity to be such a pivotal part of an event like this, in his own backyard—was certainly justification that he had indeed chosen a career change, wisely. Promotionally, this takes Loaded Gun to a higher level—putting them on the big show map.
Aside from the welcome publicity OC Bike Fest brings, Dunworth has a deeper wish for the event. An admitted lover of beers and bars himself, Dunworth hopes to see this event become a showcase that embraces the lifestyle of true motorcyclists.
“What I hope to see with this show is a neat transition to a festival of two wheels, instead of a festival of mostly bar culture.”
It’s an appreciation of the lifestyle, getting back to the roots of riding, becoming authentic once again. To truly understand, one must either have ridden before, or have Dunworth convey the message.
“If I can just get out with the wind in my face for ten minutes, it’s the feeling, the act of riding itself. That’s the difference between just being part of ‘the scene’ in a bar, and the experience, it’s contagious.”
This revitalization of the “biker” mentality is a return to the roots of riding, and it works hand in hand with Loaded Gun Customs noir approach to the industry. Dunworth truly appreciates the old ways of doing things. Loaded Gun makes all of their parts by hand; a local Georgetown man creates the computer models. All parts are then produced on a larger scale by a place in Ohio—nothing is sent overseas, unless it’s a custom bike Loaded Gun has built for an international client. They provide full service for local clients, and create custom parts and cycles for people from all over the world.
In addition to the embracing of the vintage and the hand made, Dunworth speaks about the environmental appeal of the industry.
“These bikes get 50-60 miles per gallon. In Europe, people ride bikes everywhere, in all kinds of weather. I’d really like to educate people that motorcycles are much more environmentally friendly.”
Loaded Gun’s success to this point has been a combination of their unique philosophy, their expertise in a niche market—and timing. Vintage, re-refurbished, and re-purposed is hot right now—old has become coveted, and new again. The real test to the staying power of a movement, is it’s embracing by the next generation.
See our featured video from Loaded Gun Customs.
More information on Loaded Gun Customs here
Outside my Window - I don't care if it is foggy...more
Sea - Worthy Valentine's Ideas - This year, like many others,...more
99 post but the bitch ain't one - This could be the sympathetic...more
Outside my Window - Good glorious morning! ...more
2011 Movie Sequels - 2011 Movie SequelsOk, I am a...more
Nautical and Wildlife Art Festival & North American Craft Show - January 15 & 16, 2011: The...more
Outside my Window - Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...more
Outside my Window - I think winter sunsets are...more
A Valentine's Gripe - As January begins to come to...more