The Circle of Pride Motorcycle Club (MC) originated in the basement of the Rajun Cajun strip club in Muscatine, Iowa, in the fall of 1990. As “Possum” enjoyed the ambience of the club and swapped stories with a few biker friends, he hatched the idea of forming a motorcycle club. The group agreed on a set of rules and by-laws, and the Circle of Pride MC was born. The club is dedicated to sharing the freedom of the road and the biker lifestyle. They uphold the ideals of brotherhood, trust, and American pride. The organization is charitable and raises funds for a number of worthy causes.
The home of the Circle of Pride’s only chapter is a rural patch of land in southeastern Iowa between the small towns of Conesville and Columbus Junction. Monthly club meetings are held there. The group has constructed a 1/8-mile drag strip and a rodeo arena on the grounds and now hosts two of the area’s biggest events. The Hog Wild Rodeo is a spring event, and the Thunder in the Sand rally takes place on Labor Day weekend every year. Each is attended by about 10,000 people. Both rallies feature terrific music and other entertainment. Admission is restricted to adults only, so bikers can feel free to party with few inhibitions.
The Circle of Pride MC is active in the Iowa Confederation of Clubs and promotes brotherhood among all bikers regardless of the make or condition of their motorcycles. The club’s property is considered neutral territory. In order to join, a prospective member must have been known by a sponsoring active member for at least a year. After a probationary period, a new member receives his or her colors. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a couple. There is at least one mandatory run each year. The most recent was a ride to ABATE’s State Line Rally at Keosauqua, Iowa. For more information about the Circle of Pride, view their web site.
The club was stunned by the sudden passing of one of its most active and beloved members on July 6, 2004. Jeffrey Paetz, known as “Oz”, died of a massive heart attack at the age of 36. This year’s Thunder in the Sand rally was dedicated to his memory. A small chopper motorcycle was raffled off, and the proceeds were donated to Oz’s family. He had been a member of the Circle of Pride for two and a half years and served as coordinator and webmaster. Oz, an Army veteran who served during Operation Desert Storm, is survived by Debbie, whom he married in 1999 and three sons, Derek, Jeff Jr., and Andy. All of us at Cycle Connections extend our sympathy.
Story and photos by Stripe