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Old 09-15-2006, 11:28 AM   #1
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"Built with conviction"

Nevada Inmates Build 'Big House Choppers'

A new motorcycle that has never been seen on the streets of America will be unveiled this month. This machine is made in Southern Nevada in the most unlikely place -- prison.

Razor wire, concrete towers and cells rise from the flat unforgiving desert 50 miles north of Las Vegas. It's the kind of place no one wants to come to. This is the Southern Desert Correctional Center. The end of life as we know it.

Inside there is the glimmer of hope for a new beginning. "This is prestige, it is a great privilege," said Joel Varnum, former drug trafficker.

Varnum, who used to traffic drugs, now focuses on building something beautiful. Big House Choppers is the first motorcycle brand developed, designed and built on the sweat of felons.

The seats, bars and tanks are the canvass where they tell their stories. Shackles are engraved in leather, prison bars and guard towers are glazed on tanks.

"Patience is another thing we learn. Especially after you paint them. You can't scratch it, can't mess it up. It is a great program to be in," Varnum said.

"For an inmate, this is escaping prison," said Deputy Director Howard Skolnik. He says prisoners came up with the idea. They asked if they could build a motorcycle and he agreed.

A year later the first Big-House chopper emerged. Its called the shank. It was much more than Skolnik expected.

"I expected something very basic and very simple and unimaginative. And I don't know why because they do this to me every time we start something. They blow me away every time," Skolnik said.

Now he says he wouldn't sell this bike for less than $100,000. Big House Choppers will roll out three custom bikes a month starting in October.

This is the kind of dream Varnum never thought he'd achieve in prison.

"Every time we do something it is real gratifying to see what we can do," Varnum said. For now he can only watch as the masterpieces roll out the door. He might not ever be able to afford one of these bikes. But he can definitely build one -- a skill he plans to use when he's free.

"Built with conviction" is their motto. Each bike will sell for $32,000-$34,000. The official debut will take place at the "Street Vibrations" motorcycle show in Reno, Sept. 26th.
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:29 AM   #2
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:30 AM   #3
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hopefully they are learning a skill to keep them out of trouble on the outside.
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.-H. L. Mencken

When you add emotion to any equation, you can't trust the results-Unknown
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:32 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by RACER X
5379468 BG1
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Old 09-21-2006, 05:01 AM   #5
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Yes, nice work.
"I get a total charge out of inspiring others to follow their dreams and not to fear change. Embrace it. Realize that money isn't the end-all, be-all. What is important, what really has value, is Time. As motorcyclists, we all face increased risks on the road, and on the track. Do something with your time; don't have a bag full of regrets when the train comes to a stop. "
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Old 09-21-2006, 09:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by paniro187
hopefully they are learning a skill to keep them out of trouble on the outside.

Im not sure whos getting the money, but if all you do is sit in prison and get free , then get 40k every month or so from a bike....yea, just hope you get out soon enough to use it
They told me to go play in traffic, so I bought a motorcycle.
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Old 09-21-2006, 04:02 PM   #7
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That's cool....

Here's their web site with more pictures:

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Old 09-21-2006, 06:51 PM   #8
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The prisoners that helped buiding this will be eating and sleeping good. The warden will protect his investments from harms of other inmates. That is a lot of money it will generate from this prison.
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