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Chippewa bike nights end the season with food, music and the usual roar

The Crocodile Bar's Blues, Bikes & BBQ wrapped up its third summer Tuesday night with hundreds of motorcyclists bidding farewell to West Chippewa Street.

While Crocodile owner Marc Alfieri served up his Cajun buffet, featuring crawfish gumbo and pulled pork, the bikers reveled to the sounds of the Bar King Spiders, a local group that has become a hit on the national bike circuit.

"We've gained some national recognition for the Crocodile Bar on Tuesday nights in downtown Buffalo," Alfieri said. "This band plays at some of the biggest biker events in the country -- the Sturges Motorcycle Rally and Daytona Bike Week. So we're mentioned in national publications."

The event's international fans include Mark Domitrek, 43, of Welland, Ont., who just completed his second summer of riding his 1998 custom Harley-Davidson to Chippewa on Tuesdays.

"It's a good event," he shouted above the din. "Not only the bikes but the hospitality. I bring pepperettes and back bacon from our Country Corner Deli for Marc and his staff. And I'm addicted to Jim's Steak-Out," the restaurant next door to the Crocodile and a co-sponsor of the event.

Cathy Gibbons, 48, had biked in from Cheektowaga behind her husband, Leo, on their 2004 Road King, hoping to win the grand prize -- the new $15,000 Fat Boy on display inside the bar.

"I'm getting psyched," she said, "because I'm going to win it. Then I won't be a rider. Leo wants twins in the garage."

The winner was Jimmy Marrale of Kenmore. He and Dave "Bad Example" Wimble agreed that the motorcycle crowd has grown older.

"I'd say the median age is from early 30s or 35, on up to 60," said Wimble, 46, an auto technician at Paddock Chevrolet.

"Those days [of rowdy bikers] are over," agreed Marrale, 42, owner of Marrale Motors.

Joann Pyle, 40, of Orchard Park, a nurse who rides a 2004 Southtail Deluxe, said she started on mini-bikes with her five sisters many years ago.

She was heading out to Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Blues, Bikes & BBQ's other sponsors included 97 Rock, Buffalo Harley-Davidson, Gabe's Collision, Mills Welding, Scanlon Jewelers, Basil Ford, the Kantor & Godwin law firm, Travel USA and Hard Miles magazine.

e-mail: acardinale@buffnews.com

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