In September of 2018, I had worked out what it would take to start an annual custom and vintage motorcycle show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After running around the city trying to find a venue, I landed on the only option that would work—Carrie Blast Furnaces. The national historic landmark was originally built in 1907 and is known primarily for its pre-World War II iron-making technology. Towering ninety-two feet over the nearby Monongahela River, the location was perfect for a motorcycle show. It was gritty, rough, and had a lot of character. The history of the site paired up well with vintage bikes and the theme I was going for. Plus, it was the only spot I found that had enough parking and indoor space to easily fit over 100 bikes. It took quite a lot of work by the folks at Rivers of Steel to get the site to pass occupancy inspection, but after the permit was granted in late April of 2019, the show was officially set.
Fast forward to the day of the show, Saturday, September 21. Pittsburgh was blessed with great end-of-summer weather, and the turnout was absolutely incredible. Every invitee was given a custom plaque to set next to each bike that was purposely placed to give attendees enough room to comfortably wander around. The venue filled up quickly, with our first batch of 2,000 entry wristbands selling out within an hour and a half and never slowing down throughout the day.
The indoor invitational took place in what is called the Powerhouse building, while a grassy outdoor area right outside called the Courtyard was reserved for bike-only parking that created somewhat of a secondary show. In addition to featuring many local builders, the show was scattered with bikes from the likes of Austin Andrella, Joe Marshall, Christian Newman, Marty Helverson, Johnny Humphrey, Matt Pontano, Jesse Srpan, and many more. On top of that, the show included a helmet art show called The Trippy Ten, where ten custom painters from around the country were sent a Bell Helmets Custom 500 lid to make their own.
At the end of the day, Glory Daze was a huge success and something that I personally hope sparks a fire in those who attended to get more involved with motorcycles. The interest in custom bikes has been growing in the Pittsburgh region, and I feel this event provides a platform for builders to showcase their craft to those who might not have had the chance to travel to other great shows around the country.
I’d like to give a big thanks to presenting partners Pittsburgh Moto and Iron City Beer, as well as sponsors Bell Powersports, Jamboozie Customs, Lowbrow Customs, TC Bros, Coker Tire, and ChopCult. Also, thanks to all of the invitees and vendors who hauled their bikes and displays to the show, both local and from across the US and Canada. Without you and your passion for two wheels, events like this would never happen.
Glory Daze will most definitely be back in 2020, so please follow along on our social accounts for updates and exact dates. Our small team learned quite a lot this first time around, and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year!
- Kurt Diserio, event organizer