The Hook Up

Chopper valley

The event James Bull and his friends wanted to attend didn’t exist – so they made it a reality! Now, The Hook Up is going from strength to strength

Words: Jeremy Pick

Photos: James A Grant

The Hook Up show started in 2015 when James Bull and his friends decided that south Wales was missing a decent chopper show.

Now, five years later, it draws some 500 people to enjoy a laid-back event that has joined the ranks of great UK chopper shows, from The Trip Out to the Assembly Show.

“The Hook Up takes the roots of an old-school chopper rally and brings it up to date,” explains James. “It began when me and a couple of mates decided we needed a show closer to home, rather than travelling hundreds of miles to have a good time. So we created the show right here in Usk, and made the good times happen in our own back garden.”

The site for The Hook Up is an old farmyard, where the barns and surrounding fields on a Welsh hillside provide the ideal venue for what James originally had in mind. The event continues to develop – year one drew 20 to 30 people, and now almost 500 turn up to enjoy the chopper show, trade stands, ride-out through the magnificent Brecon Beacons, bands, burnouts and lots of Brains ale. This year there was even a boxing match.

“The best moments for me are watching other people enjoying themselves,” says James. “The show isn’t put on just for me to have a good time; it’s put on so that everyone attending can enjoy themselves and bring the old-school chopper feeling back.”

Chopper shows are hot right now and The Hook Up is drawing sponsors from Sailor Jerry rum to rock-and-roll jewellery makers The Great Frog. But James is adamant the event will always retain its small-show feel and its roots as an intimate event for a select audience.

“I have some new ideas up my sleeve to make sure the event keeps getting better and better – there’s nothing worse than going to the same show year-on-year that has the same stuff going on,” he says. “Despite our success, 500 people is going to be the maximum capacity for this venue; if it gets too big it will lose the ‘feel’ of a small show, where people are talking to other people they may have seen before, but never spoken to. But you’ll have to wait until 2020 to find out what we have in mind!”