My buddies John Shope and Len Edmonson star in the new biker reality show on History "Biker Battleground Phoenix"
Posted 7/1/14 by Bling Johnson


The Bling Johnson Show started on television in Texas 3 years ago. Over that time I have worked hard to put a solid show together that highlights the things that I think are cool in the music and motorcycle world. My favorite part of this journey we are on is watching other people on a similar path. Cameran Nelson is one example of this. He started out playing country music a few years back right here in Central Texas. The third episode we ever did he and his band were guests on our show and were working their way around the Texas music scene. Last month, after a ton of shows and hard work they finally hit # 1 on the Texas Music Charts with his single "35 Runs Both Ways". I was happy for him because I know how much work goes into turning a dream into a reality. My buddies and custom motorcycle builders John Shope & Len Edmonson are two more examples of hard work paying off as their new series "Bike Battleground Phoenix" hits History Channel nationwide tonight.

Video: Dierks Bentley performs the theme song for Biker Battleground Phoenix "Ride On"

I've been fortunate enough to be involved in various charity events all over the country including the Outlaw Dave Ranch Ride for Kids that is part of the Lonestar Motorcycle Rally held every year in Galveston, Texas. It was at this event a few years ago that I met John Shope, a custom bike builder and owner of Dirty Bird Concepts. That same day I met Len Edmonson, owner of Azzkikr Custom Baggers who was there with him.

Riding with Charlie Hunnam from Sons Of Anarchy and John Shope with Dirty Bird Concepts

Outlaw Dave, who is a local Houston Rock Radio legend, John, Len and I led about 1,000 motorcycles on the ride from Stubbs Harley-Davidson in Houston all the way to Galveston where the Lonestar Rally was being held. There was another rider there that day that you might have heard of. His name was Charlie Hunnam, known to many as Jax from the hit tv show Sons of Anarchy.

It was one of the coolest days of my life. A police escort shut down I-45 all the way to Galveston and I was riding right next to Jax while filming the ride for Lonestar Rally and my show. John Shope and I took turns taking pictures of ourselves next to Charlie Hunnam and the GoPro's I had mounted all over my bike got some great video of the ride. Not to be outdone, John Shope looked at me at one point and said "watch this". While riding down the road he stood up on the seat and tank of his bike Indian Larry style just as Charlie looked over wondering what the heck was going on. That just about sums up John Shope for you right there. He's ALL-OUT all the time.

The 5 shop owners & stars of Biker Battleground Phoenix on History. Photo Courtesy of

John, Len and I all stayed in touch as they continued their respective bike building shops, both located in Phoenix, Arizona and we would all run into each other at the different motorcycle rallies we would attend in Texas, Sturgis & Daytona. Last year John told me about a tv deal he was working on. He didn't give me many details but said it was going to be big. Now if there's one thing about John, it's that he can talk. He'll trash talk his own Mom if that's what it takes. So I figured he had something working, but I had no clue what.

A few months ago I finally started seeing some things leak online about a new television show on the History Channel called "Biker Battleground Phoenix". And sure enough, John & Len were both going to be on it. Big biker names Paul Yaffe of Paul Yaffe Originals/Bagger Nation, Len Edmonson of Azzkikr Customs, Kody McNew of Voodoo Bikeworks, Brian Jenkins of Hatred Customs and John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts will all appear on the series, which will let viewers see what itís really like in a garage and how stiff the competition to be the best really is. "No tactic is off limits and no move is too corrupt. From stealing ideas and poaching employees to public bashing on social media, these guys will do whatever it takes to give themselves and their shops the ultimate edge over the rest" is what it said on the History Channel website.

John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts with Bling Johnson at Outlaw Dave's Ranch Ride for Kids in Houston, TX

I called John last week to get more info about the show, which premiers on History Tuesday night, July 1st. John explained that it pits the 5 shops against each other and shows how fierce the competition can be for these bagger style bikes that sell anywhere from $40,000 to $150,000. Paul Yaffe of Paul Yaffe Originals/Bagger Nation has been around the bike business over 25 years. He's seen a lot and seen many shops come and go. Yaffe is very well respected by most everyone in the biker scene, except John. When I asked him what he thought about Paul Yaffe he laughed and said "I don't know what I think about him but he's in my rear view mirror". Not one to shy away from saying exactly how he feels, Shope added "I don't know what the hell these guys do at the other shops, but over here we run wide open".

Len Edmonson of Azzkikr riding along side John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts

Shope's company, Dirty Bird Concepts is known for his cutting edge and highly noticeable style. One of the other competitors is Len Edmonson and his company Azzkikr Custom Baggers. Len is considered the outsider. He comes from a successful background with a large construction company in Canada that he sold off and is considered to have the deepest pockets out of all the shops. He turns out some incredible motorcycles and has the money behind him to stay ahead of the competition. Even this doesn't scare John Shope, who said that while people will love or hate him on the show, what you see is what you get and he's not afraid to put it all out there. Staying true to form while filming a couple weeks ago Shope took a corner too fast, laid his custom bagger down and slammed into a guardrail. The reason I like John so much is at that moment he did EXACTLY what I would have done. He posted pictured of his injuries on Facebook.

The interesting part about this show is the way it came together. After some filming and some high quality footage, they went back to History Channel with what they call the "sizzle reel". Instead of ordering up a pilot, History gave the green light to film an entire first season, which doesn't happen very often in the tv world. In addition, History has put millions into not only the production of the show but also the promotion. They even had country music superstar Dierks Bentley write and perform the theme song for the show, "Ride On". From all the footage I've seen the quality of this show is second to none. Between the camera angles, editing and overall cinematography, this show is being put together the right way and should be fun for people to watch.

Video: Clip from The Bling Johnson Show episode with  Charlie Hunnam "Jax" from Sons Of Anarchy and John Shope from Dirty Bird Concepts

Shope added that this show will pick up where American Chopper left off and is the next big biker show that will be around for years. As a fan of American Chopper, it will be good to see another motorcycle show on the air and it will be interesting to see how this will raise awareness of baggers on a national scale. I do know one thing. It's great to see guys I know working their butts off to do something different and follow their dreams. Now that John Shope and Len Edmonson got a national tv deal, its motivating to me and my buddy Cameran Nelson to keep pushing for our next step towards the big stage.

Video: Promo for "Biker Battleground Phoenix" on History Channel

Look for Biker Battleground Phoenix on History Channel beginning Tuesday night July 1st.

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