By PETER RUGG
This sign on the Boulevard says it all.
Ralph Roades was pushing his restaurant/hotel at Lake of the Ozarks when he figured it out.
“I just wanted to get some business in,” says the 56-year-old publisher of Wide Open magazine.
So began Roades’ signature brand of promotion. He’ll carry it on in Kansas City for the first time this January when he raffles off a free breast augmentation surgery at a bike show running January 12-13 at the 3-Trails Expo Center. It’s the third year of the bike show, but the first time you can win your old lady a new pair of breasts.
“I needed to add something special. I was just going to give away a $5,000 check because I couldn’t find a plastic surgeon out there to do it,” Roades says. “Then I ran into Carol and Michelle from Fantastic Plastic Surgery out in St. Louis, and they said they’d set up a draped-off booth at the show. You can get a consultation right there if you want.
“It’s something for the ladies, you know? You give away the bike that’s a lot of maintenance. They don’t have to change the oil on these or grease them or nothing. This is a maintenance-free prize.”
Roades describes the promotion as an almost historic moment. “You know, in the old days it all used to be beer and titties. No one has ever given away breasts at a bike show before. We’ll see how all the others copy it now.”
If the breasts aren’t enough to get you in the door, the event will also feature motorcycle awards, live music, the Wide Open Calendar Girls and Playboy model Debbi Davids.
Roades will give another free pair away at a February show in St. Louis. He plans to notify the winners by calling their phone number immediately after the drawing and broadcasting the conversation over the PA system. Roades also plans to use before-and-after pics in an upcoming issue of the magazine. The headline is already set: Breast two shows in the Midwest.
“If you got 12,000 people at a show, and 3,000 of them are women that register, that’s good odds. You can’t get them odds at a boat.”
You can buy tickets to the show on the magazine's site or, appropriately, at Hooters.