How do you feel about Austin?
Updated: Apr 19
Hey, it's Jess and I'm taking over the blog today!
Just a tad less than two years ago Ben asked me "How do you feel about Austin?" My response was "Are you asking me to move to Austin with you?" Now don't get me wrong, I was already gushing over him, but it was a very premature question! However, as our relationship developed and we were dealing with several teenagers and life, the question became a frequently used quote. Fast forward to the Hand Built Show, Ben surprised me with the submission of "The Graduate" into the show and our dream of going to Austin was very quickly becoming a reality. The emotions of the show are almost too much to put into words, but I'll do my best!
First there is the Uselton family...Jim, Stephanie and their son Slade. Jim and Slade commissioned Ben to build "The Graduate" after realizing they were in way over their heads trying to do it themselves. Ben surprised us all when he told us the bike was chosen to be in the show! He called Jim and shared his plan..."I'd love it if you guys could meet us at the show and we'll reveal the bike to Slade for the first time there". Jim and Stephanie were all in and we all kept the secret from Slade, throwing him misleads and down rabbit holes to make sure he didn't know.
So we hit the road, the CB400F Supersport nestled into the U-Haul for a 18 hour cruise. We stopped in Tulsa for the night on Wednesday and Ben shared with me his nervous mind and that he was not feeling worthy or that the bike was good enough. He was pretty shook up so I did my best to reassure him while letting him process the feelings in his own way. The last stretch to Austin was emotionally and physically exhausting for him and Dallas traffic certainly didn't help! But, we arrived safely and delivered the bike to The Statesman Building where we instantly started making friends that would make the trip even more memorable!
The show opened on Friday at 6 pm, so around 4:30 we thought we'd go check out where the bike was placed and get the lay of the land. The CB was the only bike not placed yet! So we figured we'd just go grab dinner and roll with it. When we walked in again just before the show opened, there it was...front and center, a spotlight hitting the beautiful, show stopping tank! People were surrounding it within minutes and I watched Ben's anxieties melt away instead turning into confidence and pride.
Then right around 7 pm on opening night, in walked the Uselton's and it was time to reveal the bike to it's new owner Slade. A crowd had now surrounded "The Graduate" so Slade couldn't see that the bike on display was his until he is right up on it. Mom and dad are crying, Slade is shaking, Ben is grinning ear to ear and I can barely hold the camera to capture it all, my cheeks burning from my perm-a-grin. It was truly one of the biggest honors we could have ever wished to be part of and the Uselton's have the most hospitable, southern love and you can feel it when you're in their presence. We already knew we liked them just from calls and texts, and now they will be lifelong friends for sure!
As luck would have it, if you believe in such a thing, The Hand Built also brought Isaac into our business and we were thrilled to bring back his CX back with us for a build. This bike will have a mono-shock, which is new for Never Ending Cycles, but Ben's favorite thing to do is to learn new skills! Maybe we can head back with it Isaac...I really want to get back to TX and go to a rodeo!
The rest of the weekend was filled with great memories, many laughs, new friends and the crappiest AirBnb you could ask for (more memories)! And I could not be more proud of my FIANCE...yes that happened too...because Ben made sure the entire dream became a reality!