Donnie Smith Show a perfect kickoff to riding season

There was an undeniable buzz at the RiverCenter in St. Paul over the weekend, as the motorcycle riding season’s unofficial start in this neck of the woods began with the running of the Donnie Smith Show after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“I only recognized you from your webinars!” That’s how Marilyn Stemp, alongside Buffalo Chip CEO and president Rod Woodruff, described a run-in with the PSB editor. Ah yes, remember those?! We managed to wrangle some scoop from Woody that we’ll share in the May edition of the magazine. For starters, the Buffalo Chip’s splash at the Donnie Smith Show brought record-setting traffic, which bodes well for this summer.

Vendor booths had folks oozing with excitement about the Saturday's crowds, which a PSB straw poll found to be record-setting. Leave it to Klock Werks company founder Brian Klock to round up the team for a one-of-a-kind photo op with the editor over the weekend at the Donnie Smith Show in St. Paul.

You can check it out below - where else? – on the PSB TikTok.

@powersportsbusiness Lotsa goodness this weekend at the Donnie Smith Show in St. Paul. 👍👊📈 @Klock Werks #psbonly #25yearsinprint ♬ It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll) - AC/DC

“The thing I love about the Donnie Smith Show is that it has great timing. Everyone has had a taste of warm weather, so we’re all craving motorcycles,” Klock told us. “It was a little chilly this weekend, so it was perfect. Everyone came down. They’re looking for parts at the swap meet, they’re looking for parts from the vendors, they’re looking for a new piece of clothing to rock at the latest bike night or whatever. It works out great. This venue is perfect.”

John Jessup, owner of Dream Rides of Tennessee, made the trek to St. Paul to wish Donnie Smith a happy 80th birthday.

And the fact that the return to showtime coincided with Smith's 80th birthday weekend was ideal for Klock.

"Donnie has been like my dad in the industry, so to celebrate his 80th birthday weekend here has been awesome. He raked my first ever FXR custom frame in 1990. In a little lean-to behind Donnie’s shop hooked to the garage. Since then I’ve slept on his couch and we’ve talked about everything from house plants to eating his chili. He’s such a diverse guy and a good-hearted farm kid. He single-handedly I think has changed the face of motorcycling in Minnesota. There are so many little pubs and places to go here, and he’s always part of those runs. Always willing to sign an autograph, give a kid a poster, hand out a sticker. It’s the Donnie Smith way. We’re excited to be back and will be back next year without a doubt.”

More on Klock's 25th anniversary party in Mitchell, South Dakota, in August to come in the May edition.

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