Award-Winning Custom Motorcycle To Be Showcased At 2nd Annual Wheels Of Steel
by James Coulter
Brian Buttera started out as a welder and metal fabricator from his backyard shop in Lakeland. His experience assembling vehicles allowed him to put together an international award-winning custom bike.
Buttera has been to competitions as close as South Dakota and as far away as Switzerland and Abu Ahabi. Everywhere he’s been, he’s won competitions thanks to his custom bike he named the “Deadliner.” Last year, he had the honor of winning “best in show” at an international competition in Abu Dhabi.
“All those hours and all that time you put into it, that’s when it pays off,” he told Bay News 9 last year. “To have it critiqued and people appreciate what you do and judge it accordingly, it’s a great feeling when you win.”
Buttera will be showcasing his international award-winning motorcycle at the Second Annual Central Florida Wheels Of Steel in Lakeland. Presented by Geico, this indoor custom motorcycle show will allow motorcycle riders, builder, and enthusiasts the opportunity to share their love of motorbikes.
Wheels of Steel will be hosted at the RP Funding Center as an extended two-day event on the weekend of Dec. 5 and 6. The show will display innovative designs by builders both local and across the state and country.
More than 100 custom motorcycles are expected to be showcased that weekend, according to a press release. Geico will be presenting the event this year, as the company has commited itself towards cooperating with such events to help build stronger community relations, the release further explained.
“At GEICO we have a fundamental principle of investing in the future, and we believe education is the foundation of success,” said Assistant Vice President Heather McIntyre. “We are delighted to return as the presenting sponsor of the Central Florida Wheels of Steel event. Our sponsorship enables us to continue supporting the Early Learning Coalition of Polk County’s mission to prepare children for bright futures, as well as support the success of our wonderful community.”
Along with custom builders like Buttera, headlining the event will be Jeff G. Holt, “The V-Twin Visionary”, and former editor of Hot Bike and Street Chopper magazines. He will be serving as the big show’s eemcee and ambassador, narrating hourly live demonstrations.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has endorsed and supports a “Ride the Right Way” campaign sponsored by Lakeland Regional Health, who will have staff present to fit children with free bicycle helmets. Children will also be able to visit a Kid’s Zone with a tricycle course and Santa who will be present. An added touch will be a snow machine that will be making it snow with sanitizing suds.
This year’s event will pay homage to Paul Dunn, a Lakeland Police Department Motorcycle Officer who had passed away earlier this year “while en route to work as a result of a traffic crash”, the press release stated. An honor ride in tribute to him will help kick off the show.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Early Learning Coalition of Polk County, a local non-profit organization, which, according to its website, aids in the education of “as many as 9,000 children a month in the programs funded by federal, state, and local dollars.”
“The ELC of Polk County is fortunate to have a community that supports the initiatives empowering children to reach their potential,” said CEO Dr. Marc Hutek said. “We have certainly found that motorcycle enthusiasts have a genuine heart in assuring our children are provided those opportunities for success and we appreciate everyone who supports our upcoming motorcycle show.”
Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz, in a promo video on YouTube, encouraged people to attend the event, as it would have something for attendees of all ages. “You’re going to have the opportunity to see some hot displays of moving motorcycle art, and there will be something for everyone. Please don’t miss out on an incredible event and the opportunity to see bike designs beyond your wildest expectations. I hope to see you there.”
The Central Florida Wheels Of Steel will be held from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sat. Dec. 5 and 10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Sun. Dec 6. The event will be hosted at the RP Funding Center, located at 701 W Lime St, Lakeland, FL 33815. For more information, visit their website at: http://www.cfwheelsofsteel.com