Hogs & Heifers Racing | King of the Hammers 2021 | Johnson Valley CA
Hogs & Heifers Saloon Racing couldn’t sit at home while the 2021 King of the Hammers event was taking place, so we decided to pack up an RV, and hit the road with our official Hogs Racing driver and Monster Jam rock star Lee O’Donnell!
We would have loved to have raced in this event this year, but with the bar being closed from March to October due to Covid, it just wasn’t in the cards. This year’s King of the Hammers was a first for a couple of us, and it was mind blowing to see the controlled mayhem that takes place in “Hammertown”!
Dave Cole, the founder of the Ultra 4 Racing King of the Hammers and Executive Director of Hammerking Production, does an outstanding job coordinating this race, as well as taking extra care of the BLM property in Johnson Valley, Ca where the event takes place. This year, not one person could enter the Hammertown vendor area without showing proof of a negative Covid test result. Dave was excited to see the Hogs crew and gave us a “backstage” tour of where he makes the magic happen.
The Hammerking production trailers look like the NBC News room, this must be why the feed they bring to the viewers is so impressive. Lee O’Donnell introduced us to many off-road industry icons like announcer Scott Rehn, retired motocross racer Ricky Johnson, Dave Cole’s son Bailey Cole and many of the vendors at the event. We also got to run into our favorite motorcycle industry peeps, Brian and Vanessa Klock of Klock Werks.
Also attending from the motorcycle industry that we didn’t get a chance to catch up to were Rod Woodruff and Marilyn Stemp of the Buffalo Chip, photographer Savannah Rose and our buddy Damon Flippo, who is back with Rigid.
Of course it wasn’t all work and no play, the crew did a little off-road driving and ventured out to Chocolate Thunder and the Method Wheels Back Door portions of the course to watch the race. Hanging around the Hogs & Heifers fire pit, having a few cocktails, and good food was more fun than we’ve had together in a long time! Big shout outs to our very dear friend and driver Lee O’Donnell for all the amazing introductions, Dave Cole for taking the time out to hang out with us and Scott Rehn for stopping by the Hogs camp to say hello.
Packing up the RV and brushing off all the dirt, and let me tell you, there was a LOT of dirt, was sad but brought smiles on our faces because of the memories made. Hogs & Heifers felt more than welcome at Hammertown and look SO forward to next year! No telling what will happen in 2022!!
Back in 2019, #HogsTV produced in awesome series documenting the first time we entered “Vegas to Reno”. Click on the links below and check out our racing team in action!!
The History of Hogs & Heifers Saloon
The idea for opening a bar and calling it Hogs & Heifers was conceived in, of all places, a bar. Allan Dell was a self-proclaimed functioning alcoholic and figured he spent enough time sitting at a bar and that he might as well make some money while he sat there. Allan’s two friends and drinking buddies were a Master Carpenter and a Graphic Design Artist and he talked them into helping him build a bar. They would all drink for free and get laid regularly and for three broke guys in their early to mid twenties, who could ask for anything more. Allan’s father agreed to finance his project if he could find an experienced bar owner to “father” him in the business. Enter Tom McNeil, legend in the Dive Bar business. McNeil owned the Village Idiot in Manhattan’s East Side, which was the Boys’ favorite watering hole, where they could sit for hours drinking ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon for a $1.75 a can. Allan knew that he wanted to open a bar that had to do with motorcycles and women and the original logo did, in fact, include an illustration of a chopper. The Boys were trying to come up with a name, while sitting in the Village Idiot one afternoon…”Hogs & something”. On the wall above the bar was a sign for a Heifer Auction, and a heifer being a cow that has not yet been bred, is essentially a virgin cow. The name Hogs & Heifers was born. The fact that the bar ended up being in a real meat market was simply due to the affordable rent at the time, but it was a perfect match and had a great deal to do with the success of the business.
Hogs & Heifers Saloon was to be an all American classic country and southern rock-n-roll dive bar. Allan knew he wanted it to have the look and feel of a gin mill and that he wanted to hang “stuff” all over the walls. Other than that, there was little else that he had thought about. He had a lot of friends who liked to drink and planned on throwing a party for them every night. Allan may never have imagined that it would turn into the famous bar it is today, but it was absolutely his pride and joy and he considered it his greatest achievement and reveled in its quick success.
Having entered the picture prior to its opening, Michelle Dell was the first bartender to be hired. The routine performed and style of dress worn by the bartenders behind the bar, which has made Hogs & Heifers famous, was born from Michelle’s heart. Hogs & Heifers opened in November of 1992 during an unseasonably cold winter. There was literally no heat source of any kind in the bar and it was so cold you could often see your own breath. Both Allan and Michelle believed in the notion of less is more when it came to dressing behind the bar and it was always freezing; did we mention the bar had no heat? Finally, Allan bought these little space heaters that did next to nothing to provide heat and with Necessity being the Mother of all Invention, Michelle began dancing on the bar–in the empty bar–as a means to keep warm. She would throw a few dollars in the jukebox and just get up on the bar and dance. Little did she know it would become the trademark theme of Hogs & Heifers and lead to countless celebrities dancing on the bar and donating their bras. The Julia Roberts photo was seen around the world and her bra still hangs there today, albeit hidden beneath some 18,000 bras! Michelle’s famous routine has inspired a Major Motion Picture and a league of copy cat Bars.
Essentially, Allan and Michelle, and their friends, were just a bunch of kids with nothing to lose and they threw a party that they enjoyed. They were fortunate and blessed that so many others would love to come to their party and would do so repeatedly. The two were married in Reno, Nevada, on November 16th, 1993. Allan Dell passed away on June 7, 1997. Hogs & Heifers continues to be run by Michelle Dell who was the sole proprietor of the New York City location. She now lives in Las Vegas, close to her favorite saloon!
CLICK HERE FOR A VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE ORIGINAL NEW YORK CITY LOCATION
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