Enter the 2024 Biltwell People’s Champ

The goal of the People’s Champ competition is to get exposure for builders who might not have been well-known enough to be official “Invited Builders” at Born Free. There is so much talent out there, it’s impossible for the BF guys to know everyone, and lots of People’s Champ competitors have gone on to compete in the big show in the following years. We’re not promising anyone fame and fortune, but we’ll do our best to showcase your craftsmanship and the democratic process will determine the final Champ.

Submissions: Open now!
Submissions close – August 31, 2023
Announce 12 Builders – September 6, 2023


Who’s eligible?

Anyone who has not been a previous Born Free Invited Builder or made it to the Final Six of any past People’s Champ competitions. You can build your bike in a carport or a shop, it’s all fair game. We determine the Original 12 entrants from a much larger pool of contestants. When there are over 100 initial entrants and only 12 move forward, it’ll leave quite a few people pissed. Welcome to life, suck it up, and try again next year. We are going to pick the 12 from your submissions (see the form below to submit) and will announce the competitors on September 6, 2023. No “co-builds”. Of course, you can get help from friends, but there can only be one Champ and one name on the check, so submissions will only be accepted by a single person.

The initial 12 contestants will send in a final round of photos and another paragraph about their progress by November 27th, 2023. We will publish a new poll from December 1-3, 2023, and let the internet vote for the Final Six. We announce that half-dozen finalists a couple of days later.

Voting for Final 6 – December 1-3, 2023
Announce Final 6 Builders– After votes are tabulated we will announce the final 6 on our Instagram.


Final Round:

All builders must continue to post weekly updates on Instagram. On May 26th the Biltwell Media Team will travel to all six builders locations to shoot photos of your bike. Unlike previous years the bike does not need to be running when we shoot the photos, but these photos will be what is published on the website prior to voting so it needs to be photo ready. 

Voting for the Champ – June 19-21, 2024
Voting will be done online so more people can have an opportunity to say who the true People’s Champ is!

This is where it gets harder than most contemporary bike shows, so pay close attention before entering. We will meet the Final Six builders on the east end of Ortega Highway at 8:00 AM on the Friday before Born Free, the morning of the Biltwell People’s Champ party. This is approximately 50 miles away from Cook’s Corner. Each builder will be required to start their own motorcycle and ride it to Cook’s. This is not a race. We will ride together with you. This means not only do you have to build a beautiful machine, but it has to be an actual motorcycle that runs and rides, and that you can ride yourself. The route will go up the twisty mountain pass and down the other side, onto a moderately traveled freeway, through some lights and traffic, ending at the bar. Just like a real motorcycle ride! You can have a chase truck follow and work on your bike along the way if you must, but it needs to be ridden the entire route and arrive at Cook’s on the patio by noon. The show starts at 3:00 and we need to shoot interviews and bike features with each builder and machine before putting the bikes on platforms and getting them ready for the show. If your bike does not make it to the show from the starting point under its own power (or you pushing it) you will still be able to display it, and will still get your consolation cash but you will no longer be eligible to be the People’s Champ. This ride is open to spectators but we will put the Final Six Pack up front and ask that you respectfully give ‘em some room to do their thing. We ride rain or shine.

What does a builder get for all this work?

Not enough, that’s for sure. The way that works is the non-Champs (no one is a loser in our book, lol) get some cash and swag. Whatever is left over goes to the champ in one giant check. The purse for 2023 was $10,000 to the Champ and $1000 to each of the runners-up. Please note, Biltwell takes zero from the sponsorship money and we kicked in two grand of our own money to make sure this grand prize was significant. We’ve got no idea how much we can generate for 2024, but we’ll do our best and share what we can generate. We also will shoot bike features and videos of each of the final contenders and showcase them on our WTF Blog and our YouTube channel. If possible, we’ll try to get some magazine coverage for as many as we can. Our goal is to not forget the builders as soon as the show is over, so we will try to highlight the bikes and people as much as we can. The Champ will be able to display his or her bike on the grass with all of the Born Free Invited Builders on Saturday and Sunday, and all bikes present will be eligible for any awards at the big show. We also have an area on the grass for all Peoples Champ participants to show off their bikes.  In 2021, Jacob Conard won “Best Modern” at Born Free even though he didn’t take home the Peoples Champ title. So, there is always a chance to get noticed and awards at Born Free as well.

What kind of bikes can enter?

We love all kinds of motorcycles, but we were at the first Born Free and the first People’s Champ shows and these were very much started as Chopper shows. So, we will be picking highly customized, hand-built motorcycles. Japanese, American, British, it’s all good. There are no separate classes and we won’t be picking any club-style Dynas, performance baggers, or even our beloved FXRs. No trikes, quads, or VWs. We only have room for six bikes and we’re looking for choppers!

OK, I read all that shit, now what do I do?

Simple. Just filling out this form in its entirety and select some good photos of your project and what you are working with. We also check out your Instagram so if you have past experience and builds, we will see it there. This will give you the best chance of making the cut and being selected as one of the 12 builders. So, tell us about who you are, what experience you have, what you’re going to do with your project and how you will win the title of People’s Champ. Be detailed, add photos and stand by for the announcement of who made the cut on September 6th 2023. Good luck, we look forward to seeing your ideas and plans!

Questions? Hit us up at: champ@biltwellinc.com

Entry Form Biltwell People’s Champ 2022

Be detailed with what style, intended parts, etc.
Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 12 files.