Amateur Chop Off (ACO)

noun  am·a·teur  \ˈa-mə-(ˌ)tər, -ˌtu̇r, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌchu̇r, -chər\

one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a professional...





This is the competition where regular guys get to see what it is like to build a chopper to a fixed schedule. It looks simple on television, mock-up, fabrication, send it out to paint and assemble it on the eve of the show.

Except it never works out that way in real life. Bills have to be paid, things happen, the wife wants shoes instead of you buying a new tire, you have no heat in the shed and it’s 40 below out there in the Polar Vortex. You can catch the flu and get way behind, maybe work picks up and they have you doing a bunch of overtime and no time for the project!

Anything can and will happen to these poor bastards trying to get these chops together for the Smoke Out, the least you can do is get down there and check out what they ended up with.


David Wilt
Jae Hamilton
Jakobh Coleman
Robert Cominos
Tammy Smith
Brandon Keene
Mike Grover
Tim Thomas
Mark Alonso



Want to compete in the ACO?

The surest way to be selected as one of the ACO builders for Smoke Out 19, is to win the ride in bike show at the Smoke Out. If you are one of the 10 winners of the “Joe” class (in the ride in bike show) you will have a slot to be one of the ACO builders the following year, if you're up to it.

For the other unfilled slots for the ACO, Englishman will pick builders from random applications mailed into The Horse magazine, as per the printed instruction in the magazine. A total of 10 finalist are chosen and we don’t know how many will make it, we usually lose a couple because they couldn’t finish for some reason. Celebrity guest judges select the winner.


Rules the builders follow:

  • No ‘pro’ shops are allowed to compete, in other words you cannot do this for a living.
  • This must be a “new” project, so no “already been building for six months’ stories.”
  • Build whatever you want, no restrictions.
  • Entrant must show up with his bike at the appointed time at the Pine Inn on the Saturday morning of Smoke Out 18. At that time, the bike must start, and it must make it the ten miles or so to the Smoke Out grounds under its own power.
  • Bike will remain on display at the Smoke Out until after judging (usually around noon).
  • The winners for the Bike Show and Amateur Chop Off are announced later that day (Saturday) on the main stage. Hammer and Englishman will be on the main stage beginning at 4:00pm with the results!
  • The winning bike will be shot for a full spread in the magazine. We can’t promise the cover like the last winner (Max Neubaur) got with issue #137 but we’re willing to try. In the end, everybody wins, they all have a brand new chopper, and we get to see them, not too shabby!


REGISTER NOW for the Joe's Ride-in Bike Show to be considered for Smoke Out 18 ACO!