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December 5, 2006

Building a suped-up bike can be fun

CEDAR CITY - Stinger Custom Cycles usually takes six months to a year to build a motorcycle for one of its high-end clients, like professional athletes.

But this week, partners Dawn Norakas and Butch Mitchell started one they'll have to build in 10 days.

Original Productions crews started filming Monday for "Biker Build-Off." Producer Brian Knapp Miller said the show is typically on the Discovery Channel, but it will move to TLC after the new year. The episode starring Stinger Custom Cycles will air in late February or early March.
Executive producer Hugh King picks two shops to compete in a 10-day build-off for the show. Miller said Monday was Day 1 in a competition against another high-end bike shop from Ohio.

After the bikes are complete, the shops take them to a rendezvous point, which will be California in this case, to show them off. Show attendees will vote on the bike they like best.

Norakas is heading up the project, working on a custom motorcycle.

"I'm pretty excited; it's flattering, " she said. "I'm nervous as hell and I don't want to lose. "

Mitchell agreed it's fun to be on the show.

"I think it's great they picked us, " he said.

Because they only have 10 days, it took a lot of planning and organizing to become efficient enough to take on the project.

"We've planned a lot of stuff out, " he said.

Miller said it was an easy choice to pick Stinger Custom Cycles.

"Dawn (Norakas) and Butch (Mitchell) bring us to Cedar City, " he said. "Bikers apply to be on the show. They usually find us."

All builders who make it on the show are professional, well-known shops with big clientele, he added.

Norakas said they don't get much local work; it's all from traveling around to motorcycle shows and magazine features. Stinger just does custom work from the ground up.

She normally works with a crew of four, but she invited Andy Funderburk, who helped start Stinger, to join the crew so they could get the bike done in 10 days.

Norakas started Stinger with Mitchell, who already owned a drywall business and Club 900 in Cedar City.

"This is my hobby, fun business, " Mitchell said.

Norakas said she's not uncomfortable working with the cameras because she gets interviewed a lot as a female biker.

"It's kind of nerve-racking because they won't let us play the radio, " she said with a smile. "(It's not a big deal because) we have so many people who come in and watch us anyway. "

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Meg Cady/ Daily News

Andy Funderburk works on part of a custom motorcycle while Original Productions crews film for "Biker Build-Off."

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Meg Cady/ Daily News

Jerry Norakas and his daughter, Dawn, rifle through parts as Original Productions producer Brian Knapp Miller watches on Monday during the filming of "Biker Build-Off."

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Meg Cady/ Daily News

Partners Dawn Norakas, left, and Butch Mitchell, center, speak with Joel Stevenson of Ten-Ten Custom Paint while Original Productions crews film for "Biker Build-Off." Stinger Custom Cycles of Cedar City is competing with another high-end customer bike shop from Ohio for the show, which will air on TLC in late February or early March.