As I waited for Big Pete, chairman of the Northern Chapter of the Illinois Confederation of Clubs (ILCOC), I began to formulate in my mind a few of the questions I was going to ask concerning the confederation. I was waiting to meet Pete at Grandaddy’s Subs, a good place for a sandwich, and biker friendly. It’s located on Taylor Street near the west side of Chitown.
It wasn’t but a few minutes and Pete came in the shop and we got down with our sandwiches for a time of eating and talking. Before we get to the interview, let’s look at some of the history and facts about the confederation. The founder is a lawyer named Richard Lester; he envisioned a group of bikers uniting on a common front to do battle with the legislators regarding some of the laws being passed concerning bike clubs and bikers in general. The Confederation of Clubs is an integral part of a group of organizations founded by Richard Lester. To check out the different entities under this legal umbrella for bikers go to his web site at www.aimncom.com. The confederation chapters is fairly widespread across the United States and even in Europe. The unit as a whole is not unified as well as it could be, but it has a great start and can only get better as time goes on. Each chapter is pretty much what they themselves make it. Many are strong in their local areas and do good works on a local basis.
Here in Northern Illinois the chapter began in 1999 and has grown to 18 clubs. Big Pete is the founding chairman and has been the only chairman this chapter has had. Much of that is due to the passion he has for this endeavor and the effort he has put into making it what it is today. After talking with Pete I can see and understand he believes in the need for the ILCOC. As Pete explains about the confederation, he said more than once, “This is a win-win situation for us (clubs and bikers).”
The confederation meets monthly at the Moose Lodge in Berwyn, near Harlem and Ogden Avenues. Any and all clubs are welcome; this confederation is about unity, as has been said already, so it only matters that you are a biker. Also, I was informed there is no club business discussed at the ILCOC meetings. They don’t mix each respective club’s business with ILCOC business. The only individual club business is the announcement of any upcoming parties or benefits being sponsored by a confederation club. If you go to the events page on the ILCOC web site, you will find a list of parties, benefits, and a bunch of good times. These parties are well attended by most of the clubs that are members of the ILCOC. Often the parties are put on by a club to help support various good causes. Some of the causes are Iraq War Vets Fundraiser, widows of fallen bikers, or a downed biker in need of financial help. Some are just for the sake of a good time or celebrating a holiday; whatever they’re for, they are all good causes to party.
As Pete began to talk about the confederation, it was evident he believed in it completely. The local lawyer who attends meetings and gives legal advice is Michael Mandelman. He also helps keep the clubs abreast of any new laws that are coming up for a vote or to be introduced to the state legislators. ABATE is the watchdog arm of the local biker clubs that tries to keep bogus laws from getting passed. ILCOC is the watchdog of laws that have been passed already; they try to get the bogus laws already on the books overturned. These two organizations are not affiliated with each other but do work with a common goal in mind.
Some of the laws they have been fighting are discrimination laws such as not being able to wear “colors” in a bar, trying to get the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act overturned, or the Patriot Act. The definition of “coalition” is the union or joining together of separate entities in a combined mass for the purpose of united action—a good idea if a group is to continue to exist as a free and functioning enterprise. As Pete explained, 'Should it matter if that enterprise is a sports club, a group of doctors, or a motorcycle club?' Freedom to form a club is not a luxury in America but a right given by the Constitution. A club is defined as an organization devoted to a common cause or purpose.
Yearly the chapters meet for the National Coalition of Motorcyclist or NCOM. The last few years they have met in cities such as Milwaukee, Orlando, Nashville, and New Orleans, and this year it will be held in Louisville.
So I guess if one were to summarize the goal or purpose of this confederation, it would have to entail fighting for justice, freedoms, and the right to be free to live life within the laws of our land as they see fit. Furthermore the confederation strives to unify and rally any and all likeminded organizations, clubs, and associations that are common to motorcycling to join them in this endeavor. The old saying, “There is strength in numbers” emphatically comes into play in this instance and with this group’s purpose.
As Pete and I talked, it was evident from Pete’s words that he likens the motorcycle rider, and especially club riders, to the last freedom fighters for the cause of the free way of life that has become all but extinct to many in our modern-day world. The biker has become the iconic emblem of all that embraces being free and living life on one’s own terms. It harkens back to the various groups of old that were larger than life in their own day, those such as the cowboy, the pirate, or the crusaders.
Let me list the names of some of the people who put in the time and effort to keep the confederation moving ahead. Following is a list of the officers:
Chairman: Big Pete
Secretary: Papa Joe
Alternate 1: Manson
Alternate 2: Big Don
The list of clubs that belong to the ILCOC is as follows: A.R.M.
Black Pistons MC
Brothers Rising MC
Holy Ghost Riders MC
Low Lyfz MC
Loyal Order MC
New Attitudes MC
Night Cruisers MC
Rebel Knights MC
Tunnel Rats MC
The ILCOC is probably going to be the future of riding if the lawmakers continue to attack the motorcycle lifestyle. It will take a unified, relentless effort by bikers, in other words an organized coalition, to keep things from going the way of the dinosaur. The effort will have to be fought on the legal front if it’s to be at all successful. If you or your club is interested in the ILCOC, check out their web site at www.ilcoc.com.
Story and photos by Dave Ramsey.