This time around we got to spend a little time with a Daytona Beach legend…Willie from Tropical Tattoo. Not only is Willie the proprietor of a kick ass tattoo shop in Ormond Beach Fla, he has been putting on one of the BEST chopper shows around!!! It is a ‘do not miss this fucking thing” kind of event during Daytona Bike Week AND Daytona Biketoberfest!!! Let’s see what’s up with Willie……
1. Can you state you name and what you do for a living? WILLIE T JONES OWNER OF TROPICAL TATTOO INC.
2. Tropical Tattoo has been a landmark for as long as I’ve been going to Daytona. How long ago did you open the doors? OPENED SHOP IN 1990
3. When did you start tattooing and what made you get into it? IN THE 70’S I HUNG OUT WITH SOME OLD TIMERS. ONE GUY WHO WAS A GREAT FRIEND, HAD TATTOOED A LITTLE IN THE 60’S WHILE IN THE SERVICE AND WORKED AS A TRIUMPH MECHANIC WHEN HE GOT OUT. HE WAS SLEEVED OUT AND A GREAT WRENCH. IN THE MIDS 70’ S I WAS HANGING OUT WITH A BUNCH OF GUYS THAT ROAD MOTORCYCLES HAD TATTOOS AND MOST WENT ON TO BE IN CLUBS.
4. What got you into bikes and the whole bike lifetyle? LOVED THE FREEDOM OF THE BIKES AND THE WILDER SIDE OF LIFE.
5. What are ya riding these days? FIRST BIKE WAS A HONDA. FIRST NEW BIKE WAS A 1974 XLCH. I OWNED TWO PANS A BUNCH OF SHOVELS, GEN BIKES, AND ALTERNATOR CONE MOTORS. I HAD A BIKE SHOP WITH TWO OTHER GUYS IN THE MID 80S AND WORKED AS A BOOT HILL BARTENDER. IN ’96 I GOT THE EVO BUG. I STILL RIDE AN EVO AND A TWIN CAM HERITAGE
6. I know you’re a big gun guy. BIKES WOMAN GUNS AND TATTOOS FOR LIFE
7.. Chopper Time has really evolved to the be THE CHOPPER show of Daytona. I know it’s a ton of work. Do you ever think of throwing in the towel on the event ? A FEW TIMES. I WAS JUST SPENDING WAY TOO MUCH TO HAVE THE SHOWS SOLO. WHEN I WAS ABOUT READY TO THROW IN THE TOWEL, THE HORSE MAGAZINE BECAME MY KEY SPONSOR. THEN TWISTED TEA, BILL GROTTO. NOW WE HAVE A FEW SPONSORS. THE BIGGER THE SHOW, THE MORE POLICE WE HAVE TO HIRE TO KEEP TRAFIC FLOWING AND EVER ONE SAFE WALKING ACROSS THE STREET. A LITTLE TRIVIA, I MET ROADSIDE MARTY ONE DAY AND WE HIT IT OFF GREAT. I ASKED IF HE WOULD GIVE ME A HAND AND MC THE SHOW. (I DONT LIKE TALKING ON THE MIKE). HE SAID I NEVER DID THIS BUT I’LL GIVE A SHOT. LOL!! THE REST IS HISTORY!! WE HAVE BEEN A TEAM SINCE. THE WHOLE SHOW HAS BEEN A REALLY GREAT BENFIT FOR THE VETERANS HOME AND ARNI. I REALLY WOULD LIKE TO THANK EVERYONE INVOLVED WITH THIS EVENT!! NIKI LYNN HAS DONE SO MUCH FOR THE VETS IN THE AREA. CHRISTMAS AT THE VETERAN’S NURSING HOME IS ONE OF THE EVENTS FUNDED FROM CHOPPERTIME. ONCE A MONTH SHE AND THE STAFF TAKE GROUPS OF OUT TO EAT AND CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS. ALSO ARNI IS A NO KILL ANIMAL SHELTER. SHE FINDS HOMES FOR DOGS AND CATS. THE BARTENDERS EVEN DONATE THEIR TIPS!!
8. Where did the idea for Chopper Time come from? IN THE 90’S THE TATTOO BUSINESS WAS GREAT AND I DID A FEW TATTOO SHOP APPRECIATION PARTIES. THEN AROUND 2002, THE CHOPPER SEEN WAS FULL SWING BECAUSE EVERYONE WAS GETTING TIRED OF PAYING OVER MSRP FOR A HARLEY SO THE CHOPPER MARKET WAS WIDE OPEN. EVERYONE WAS COMING TO TROPICAL TO HANG OUT OR TO MEET AND RIDE TO THE STRIP BAR LOLLIPOPS. SO WHEN THERE WASN’T ANY ONE DOING ANYTHING AROUND 2002-2003 (I THINK THE RATS HOLE WAS DOING A SHOW ON SAT) I PICKED A DAY NOBODY HAD ANY THING GOING ON, THURSDAY, AND CALLED IT CHOPPER TIME!! I STARTED OUT WITH A LOCAL VFW THEN GOT INVOLVED WITH ARNI AND THE VETERANS SUPPORT FUND.
9. How can folks get in touch with you or the shop? Social Media? BEST WAY TO GET HOLD OF ME IS LEAVE MESSAGE AT SHOP OR EMAIL http://www.tropicaltattoo.com/
Thanks for the time, Willie!!! Check out Tropical Tattoo and buy a shirt! If you’re in the area swing by for some new ink! And for chrissakes, if you at Daytona Bike Week or Biketober DO NOT MISS CHOPPER TIME AND TIP BIG!!!! It’s going to charity!!!!!