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Eden’s Chopper Class Triumphs at the Donnie Smith Chopper Class Challenge

The future of motorcycle building begins with the younger generation and Jaybrake is a proud part of the next era of builders. The 2010-2011 school year marks the fourth year of Jaybrake’s continued support of Eden High School’s Chopper Class.

Photo Credit: Steve Jones, Eden High School
Eden High School students built their first bike in 2007 and the following year the Chopper Class was formed. The class was made possible because of the guidance and vision of Steve Jones, Eden High School Technology teacher.
“In 2004/2005 I had a group of students in my practical engineering class that planted the seed in my mind. I did some research and found that there was a venue, thanks to my buddy and fellow Technology teacher Kevin Baas, to showcase our kid’s talents at the annual Donnie Smith Bike Show out in Minnesota,” recalls Jones.
By the end of the 2005/2006 school year, with the help and support of Jaybrake and other sponsors, the Chopper Club was realized. “Sponsors are our life blood, period. The district does not financially support what we do with the Chopper Class. Therefore, we must be self-sufficient in terms of securing raw material, motorcycle parts, etc.. This program would simply not exist without our sponsor’s direct assistance,” says Jones.
Jaybrake’s participation has gone beyond just donating money and parts to the club, they have also donated their time. Jaybrake’s owner, Karl Horschel, Manager of Sales and Marketing, Keith Horschel and Jay Brainard, Director of Research and Development have gotten their hands dirty with the Eden club, providing lessons on brake assembly. The Jaybrake team also takes the bike on the road with them to motorcycle shows to promote the club.
The Eden Chopper class has done more than just build bikes; they have taken their talents to the “superbowl” of high school building shows, the Donnie Smith Chopper Class Challenge. From the very first year the club entered the Donnie Smith bike show Eden has been fortunate enough to bring home the Overall award twice (2008 and 2010) and the Peoples’ Choice Award (2009).

Photo Credit: Steve Jones, Eden High School
“The very first year we traveled to…compete in the Chopper Class Challenge is the most memorable moment. I can’t describe how proud I was, and still am, of each one of my students,” Jones says of the experience.
The club has elicited welcomed involvement from the community. Local organization, The Rueben Brown Foundation, has gotten involved with the Eden Chopper Club. In 2010, after the build was completed, the Foundation raffled off the completed bike to offset the Chopper Clubs costs for the build.
“Not only does the community support what we do in the Chopper Club, they help determine the next direction the Class will move. We operate within and because of the community that our school is located in. The best way to describe it is ownership,” says Jones.
Most recently one of the club’s members won an essay contest through the International Master Bike Builder Association. Alex Bednarz traveled to Sturgis and had the honor to build a custom bike on stage with Vagabond Chopper owners, Athena and Rob Ransom. Alex and two other young ladies, who also participate in similar programs, were all on stage as Athena sparked the bike to life on stage at The Broken Spoke Saloon. 
Photo Credit: Steve Jones, Eden High School
Eden’s Chopper Class begins this year’s campaign with a very young and enthusiastic group of new student researchers, designers, and fabricators. The Alumni of the club have set the bar high and established a tradition of hard work and craftsmanship over the last three years. This combination of energy and ownership could be the catalyst for some of the kids to truly push the envelope in the next few years. Only time will tell where each students’ mechanical creativity will take them, but it will certainly be an interesting ride watching them get there.  

– Laura Ferguson, Jaybrake Marketing Assistant and Contributing Blogger


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