SOPWAMTOS was formed in 1993 on the trip back from one of the the first Friedrichshafen Show in Germany (Now Eurobike) by Mark Norstad of Paragon Machine Works & Bruce Gordon of Bruce Gordon Cycles. Since WE started the Society - WE Declared Ourselves “Self Appointed Benevolent Co-Dictators for Life”.
We noticed that we were the only Owners of our companies who showed up for the show without an expensive booth setup, in fact we did not have any display other than our bikes and parts. We went to the loading dock and “hunted and gathered” some pallets, and hay bails and made our display. It was quite nice as I remember. After the show - we packed up, drove back to Zurich and got on a plane so we could do the Interbike Show the next weekend. It was on the plane that we talked about how most bike company owners had employees to do the dirty work so the owner could show up talk to a few people. The employees then packed up after the show and did the rest of the dirty work. At the 1993 Interbike we had only time to make a few SOPWAMTOS Buttons and some fake Bacon Flavored Power Bars. We had been in Germany for about a week where even the meat was wrapped in bacon. For the 1994 Interbike my employee David diFalco suggested an award ceremony. It was his idea to make awards from recycled, used toilet seats, which he gathered at the dump near Petaluma where he worked on recycling on the weekends. We hosed them off, painted them Gold, and hand lettered the awards on them. The awards were decided upon by a group of our friends at Dempsey’s Brewery in Petaluma. Careful notes were taken on paper napkins. There is a complete list of the award catagories, nominees, and Winners from each year to follow. On the bottom of our Letterhead was the Motto - “Standing for Rudeness and Truth in the Bike Business” In 1994 the awards ceremony continued to escalate. David arranged to have 3 local young women who were known as the “Hula Hoop Girls” fly for an all inclusive 23 hour trip to Anaheim. Chris Paretich rolled some Titanium Hula Hoops with the Titanium tubing supplied by Andy of Ancotech Titanium. Mark and I built a Golden Litter to be wheeled around the show on led by the 3 Beautiful girls with their titanium hoops and
Bruce Gordon Fezes. As we were being wheeled around the show - the show officials invited us to leave - in fact they told us we had to leave. So, we were wheeled on our Litter from the Anaheim Convention Center to Zaby’s Motor Lodge ( our low rent accomodations in Anaheim) led by the “Hula Girls” where we gave out the “Toidys”. Everyone had a great time - some of the awards were quite stinging, but, everyone had to laugh, because they were TRUE (even the people who were being ridiculed) because if they did not laugh - it was a “red flag to a bull”. Cannondale got the “Smoke & Mirrors” award the first 2 years. Cannondale’s founder - Joe Montgomery - wrote us thank you notes both times, and had the Toidys hanging on the wall of his office. Before we were kicked out of the Convention Center a woman from a booth near ours commented that it seemed sexist to have the young women leading Mark and I. We told her that if she knew any men who could do a Hula routine - we would hire them the next year. So at the 1995 Interbike a friend - Gino (who worked for Bianchi I think) offered to do the awards in a Speedo - we said - HIRED. Dave Blakeny (a framebuilder and metal worker from Boston who shared our booth) also agreed to lead the procession in a similar attire. Gino was given the task of buying 2 pair of Speedo’s. He came running up as everyone including the press was waiting for the awards to begin. When I asked him if he got the Speedo’s - he said - Not Exactly. He said he didn’t have time to shop, so he went to the DisneyLand store and bought 2 pair of women’s Mickey Mouse print Panties. Gino dove behind the drapes and put the panties on - Dave Blakeney (with some persuasion) agreed and dove behind the drapes. They lead the procession with Toidys on poles decorated with streamers. Since we were kicked out the year before - we planned ahead and had the award ceremony at Zaby’s Motor Lodge.
Some things we are planning. A SOPWAMTOS Store (Virtual at first) where you can buy online products made by members in the USA. The first will be White Industries, in addition to Bruce Gordon Cycles products.
On this page we will name and shame the many copycats in the bike business. We will accept people’s submissions.
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