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TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN (TAIL OF THE DRAGON)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

VINNIE AND CODY LEAVE OCC TO START V-FORCE CUSTOMS

American Chopper reality TV stars say goodbye to the Teutuls and venture out on their own. New York - American Chopper is more about the dynamics of the bonding or lack thereof between the father and son duo of Paulie and Paul Sr. The family builds custom motorcycles out of their Rock Tavern, NY shop. The daily life around the shop, as portrayed on the Discovery Channel show, is anything but boring, sometimes bordering on maniacal.Their success in the motorcycle industry is easily attributable to the show and it’s popularity. Companies can easily justify the price of an OCC bike with the added exposure on American Chopper. Some advertising executives see the bikes as an added bonus.The concepts of the bikes that OCC builds are usually born from creative mind of Paulie, the eldest son featured on the show. However, other shop employees, namely Vinnie DiMartino and Rick Petco along with the help of Cody Connelly, usually accomplish the fabrication necessary to translate Paulie’s concepts to steel. It is often said that OCC would fall apart if those three left.Now, we’ll see how true that statement is. Two of the three have moved on and left Rick to pick up the slack. Vince DiMartino and Cody Connelly have joined forces to start V-Force Customs in Rock Tavern, NY less than ten miles from their former employer.Vinnie left in early August of ’07 and Cody joined him a month later. The pair have no regrets.“When I realized that it was time to venture out, it was not an easy decision for me to leave,” says Cody. Vinnie says that his family has helped him realize what is important in life. While he enjoyed working at OCC he feels “it is time to move in a different direction.”“It is a big decision to make, but here I am, venturing out on my own with a great friend, Cody,” says Vinnie. Despite rumors that OCC shorted Vinnie of his due pay, he says that the split was on good terms and might actually air on an upcoming episode of the show.Cody stressed there is “no bad blood between us and our friends at OCC.”An OCC spokesperson would not comment on the departure saying that the shop is very busy wrapping up filming for next season and preparing for the grand opening of its World Headquarters in the Town of Newburgh. OCC is still seeking Vinnie’s replacement. A posting on OCC’s website for the pair’s replacements dated August 2, 2007 indicates that they have a need for multiple builders or that Vinnie and Cody were a very integral part of the fabrication process.Despite the dynamic portrayed on the show, Vinnie and Cody were actually good friends that dreamed of opening their own shop. “Vinnie and I worked together for five years, so there’s going to be sometimes where we argued. What they portrayed on the show isn’t really how we feel about each other,” says Cody. “They might 100 hours of tape and have to narrow that down to an hour long show. Of course they’re going to pick the juiciest parts. It makes for better TV!”Vinnie was actually a huge part of the development of Cody’s skills while at OCC. Cody says that about 90% of the mentoring he got at OCC was from Vinnie. “Vinnie and Rick both helped me learn a great deal,” he says.“Vinnie and I had many talks of doing our own thing,” says Cody. Cody actually cites that dream of moving out on their own as a major factor for leaving OCC. He is excited about the possibilities in store for him and his new business partner. “With the support of all my friends, family, my girlfriend Kaitlin, and the fans, we are following our dream and passion to make this a reality. With this new step, I look forward to taking my skills and experience to another level.”Vinnie shares his sentiment. “With the support of my family, my friends, and my fans, I am able to take this step, using my life experiences so far, in making this dream a reality.”They left OCC in August and they already have plans to unveil their first bike at the event that kicks off rally season, Bikeweek. Once they were out on their own they had solid plans to open V-Force Customs in about two weeks. “It’s been a whirlwind of activity, and we’ve been very busy,” says Cody.Vinnie and Cody will begin a yearlong 12-rally tour when they join Rob Hassay’s ProTour on February 2nd in Cincinnati, Ohio at the V-Twin Expo. “This gives Vinnie and me our first chance to get away from the shop but more importantly it allows us to visit with everyone and personally thank and shake their hands, ” Cody said. “Then we’ve got to rush back to the shop to get the bike finished for Daytona,” Vinnie added. Get the bike finished is an understatement. The inaugural bike, which will be awarded to one lucky winner at Daytona bike week, 2009 from all of the entries received on the 12 month tour, hasn’t even been started. “We’re still outfitting our shop,” said Cody during am interview on January 14, 2008. “The bike literally at zero percent completion.”They’re going to have their work cut out for them, as they have plans to unveil the bike at Bruce Rossmyer’s Destination Daytona during Bikeweek 2008.Here's the tour plans so far:
Feb 4-6 - V-Twin Expo in Cincinatti, OH
Feb 29 - Mar 9 - Daytona Beach Bikeweek (Bruce Rossmeyer's Destination Daytona)
April 23-27 - Laughlin River Run
May 1-4 Thunder Beach in Panama City Beach, FL
May 10-7 - Grand Strand Rally in Myrtle Beach, SC
June 16-22 - Laconia
June 30 - AMA 1/2 Mile Dirt Track in Lima, OH
Aug 2-9 - Sturgis
Oct 18-21- Daytona Beach BiketoberfestThis article contributed by dynamike on Monday, January 14, 2008 (12:40:15)

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