That’s just what Jim Patterson of Coal City, Colorado has done since the Southern Colorado Pueblo Chapter, out of Outpost H-D in Pueblo, set out on its inaugural “Brass Nut Run” in 1996. This bone-chilling, annual poker run awards a literal brass nut to participating members, which is worn with pride over many layers of thermal riding gear.
With 19 nuts pinned to his pocket Jim is the brassiest of them all. He’s been riding most of his life, ever since he first fired up his 1936 Flathead Harley .
”I don't even remember what size the engine was,” he says. “But I do know it had a constant-loss oiling system. You pumped up the oil pressure, and then hit a valve when it got to smokin’ too much and dumped the oil on the ground.”
Jim says he’s ridden a lot of different brands over the years, but stuck to Harleys for good after he bought a new Wide Glide in 1995. For a while he traded for a new one every year.
“Rather than do the 10,000-mile maintenance, I would just get me new one!” he says. “It was just very, very fun to have a brand-new motorcycle every year.”
When the local dealership started a H.O.G.® Chapter, he and his wife, Judy, got involved right away. Judy has served in a variety of Chapter officer positions over the years, including a ten-year run as treasurer and currently as secretary. Jim is a long-time Road Captain.
When Red and Carolyn Kuehl (Red was the original Chapter Director) came up with the idea for the Brass Nut Run, they were in from the start. It’s become a cherished tradition in 19 years, attracting as many as 350 bikes.
Truth be told, there have been years when the ride was actually a drive. Safety is paramount. January weather in Colorado is extremely unpredictable. It might be 60 degrees and sunny – or 10 below zero and blowing a gale. And the roads are snow-covered and icy, they make the 90-mile round-trip from the dealership to Cañon City on four wheels instead of two.
And that’s why three of the nuts pinned to Jim’s jacket are not brass, but aluminum. After all, it doesn’t take nuts of brass to go for New Year’s Day pizza in a car.
But don’t be fooled. Jim doesn’t limit his cold-weather riding to holiday-themed chapter rides. If the roads are clear, he’ll ride any day of the year.
Put your bike away for the winter and possibly miss a chance for a brisk and invigorating cold-weather ride? As far as Jim’s concerned … well, that would just be nuts.
Photo by H.O.G.® member Martin Allred, Colorado Springs, Colorado