Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Highlights Mondo Porras

Mondo Motorcycle Madness

The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame is featuring Hall of Fame Highlights of this year’s outstanding new group of inductees. They took the opportunity to sit down with this year’s Hall of Fame inductees to talk with them about their career highlights and influences on the motorcycle industry over the years. They asked their inductees a handful of questions and this month they are highlighting the driving force behind Denver’s Choppers, Armondo “Mondo” Porras.
Mondo Porras
SMM: What got you started in the industry?
MP: Denver’s Chopper is celebrating 50 years this year. I was one of the main guys and I took over after Denver Mullins passed away at the age of 32 in a tragic drag boat accident. I have carried on in San Bernardino County, California. Back in 1967, I was so proud when Denver took me on as just a kid in high school, he mentored me and showed me how to do body work on cars and then building custom bikes. And then I got my first bike and being able to ride with these guys on the weekends, and we were all a part of a giant family. There were about 30 of us that rode together, we’d put all our money in a pot and nobody got left behind. We would put a sleeping bag on our bike and take off for the weekend. I’d cut a toothbrush in half and stick it in my back pocket, grab an extra t-shirt, extra underwear maybe, and we’d go off and have some great times, we made some tremendous memories. I think about all the guys that have passed away and I am so grateful that I am still here and still able to do this. This is something that is very near and dear to my heart, carrying on the legacy of Denver’s Choppers, and Denver Mullins, is quite a calling and it isn’t something that was easy, trying to fill the boots of somebody that is a legend in the industry like Denver. I am blessed to be able to come to work every morning and build choppers, how many guys get to say that is what they do for a living? Not many guys can make a living building custom bikes and come to work everyday and play, and design custom motorcycles and cool custom parts and then see your parts going all over the world. To me it is a special honor to be able to build custom bikes.
SMM: What can the Museum do to engage young people in the history of the Rally and/or future rallies?
MP: Young guys are our future. They build us some beautiful bikes and that makes me feel good. It gives me a tremendous feeling that this chopper thing is going to live on.
SMM: What is your greatest achievement?
MP: I have had a blessed career and I am honored to have Dave Mann’s last painting be of two of my bikes, which was for the 30th anniversary of Easy Rider Magazine. I also got to do a biker build off with Indian Larry in 2003. I was one of the last guys that got to ride with him. That was a pretty big deal in my life.