Motorcycle Clubs and Groups
Staff

Staff

The Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Association is an internationally based association of Master Masons who have joined together to share the sport of motorcycling and to introduce Freemasonry to the public and the motorcyclist community.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Cecil Searcy, President of the Missouri chapter of Widows Sons Masonic Motorcycle Association to find out more about their unique organization.

CC: So, the Widows Sons is an international organization?
Cecil: Yes, we have chapters in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

CC: When was the Widows Sons established?
Cecil: The Widows Sons was established in 2000 in Chicago, Illinois. The purpose of the group was to give Master Masons who ride a group they can call their own. Our primary function is to come to the relief of the widows of Master Masons.

CC: When was the local chapter established?
Cecil: We started forming the Missouri Chapter in July of 2005 and received our charter in February of 2006.

CC: How many local chapter members do you have?
Cecil: We currently have 20 members, with a chapter in St. Joseph and a new chapter forming in Kansas City.

CC: How does someone go about joining your club?
Cecil: First, you must be a Master Mason in good standing to be a voting member of the Widows Sons. There are also associate memberships, and apprentice memberships for guys who are interested in becoming a Freemason.

CC: Are there club dues or fees?
Cecil: Dues are only $20 per year plus the cost of patches.

CC: How often and where do you meet?
Cecil: We meet on the second Sunday of each month at Uncle D’s Restaurant in St. Joseph, Missouri. Meetings are at 1 p.m. and we ride at 2 p.m.

CC: So you have group rides?
Cecil: Yes. Stated rides leave after our monthly meetings, but we also have impromptu rides throughout the season. Our next big group ride is a trip to Branson, Missouri for a weekend of riding, and our 2nd Annual Poker Run
is Saturday, June 17 at Evil Twin Cycles in St. Joseph, which is our fundraising event for the year.

CC: Does the Widows Sons participate in local charity events?
Cecil: Yes. We try to support anything we have time for. I know this year we plan to ride in a group for the 4th Annual Ride for Ryan on Saturday, June 3 and the Kansas City Bikers for Babies® RIDE on Sunday, September 10. We also do a lot of work for the Missouri Masonic Child Identification Program. These events provide parents with fingerprints and data for their children in case they are ever missing, and it’s all free of charge.

CC: Do you meet or ride with any of the other chapters?
Cecil: Yes. The St. Joseph and Kansas City chapters ride together and we plan on meeting with our Arkansas brethren when we are in Branson.

CC: Do you welcome all brands of motorcycles?
Cecil: Absolutely!

CC: What message does your club send out to the community?
Cecil: We want to provide a visible impression of what masonry is today and we are fun loving men who enjoy serving our community.

CC: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your club?
Cecil: If you are interested in joining please visit our website at www.widowssons.com/mo or e-mail me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to find a chapter near you. Above all, we are Freemasons and work to always represent masonry in a good light. For more information about Freemasons in Missouri check out www.momason.org.
CC: Cecil, thank you for taking the time to tell us about your organization and I look forward to participating in your poker run on Saturday, June 17.
Interview by Mike Schweder

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
Vice-Chairman: Gypsie
Treasurer: Gabby
Secretary: Papa Joe
Liaison: Mountain
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 MC
Brothers Rising MC
Crossroads MC
Death Marauders
Fugarwe Tribe
Holy Ghost Riders MC
Legacy
Low Lyfz MC
Loyal Order MC
New Attitudes MC
Night Cruisers MC
Outlaws MC
Rebel Knights MC
Sojourners MC
Tunnel Rats MC
Wicked Saints


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.

The national Freedom Cruisers Riding Club got its start in California in 1999. Motorcyclists in the Auburn, Forest Hill, and Sacramento vicinity had been getting together for group rides organized by Jeff (Big Dog) Davey. The idea of bonding as a riding club was suggested by Ray (Ryder) Snyder, a former member of the Sacramento Cruiser Riding Club. The concept was to promote riding freedom in every form--freedom from major commitments, freedom from initiation fees, freedom from dues, and freedom from club politics. Many members of the newly formed club were veterans, and a patriotic spirit was very much in evidence when the new club patch was unveiled. Ray became the first State Director, and Jeff was the first Chapter President.

As membership grew, it became impossible to keep everyone in contact by telephone. A website was set up to provide information to members. A side effect was that club information became available to motorcyclists over a vast area. E-mail inquiries started pouring in from all over the United States, and the state club changed to a national organization. In 2001, Mr. Clay (Bones) Lowe accepted the position of National Director and took over responsibility for the club website. The current National Director is Tony (Diceman) Sesso. With nearly 800 members in 18 states and Canada, the club continues to promote motorcycling, family values, unity, travel and camping, and member camaraderie.

I recently had the opportunity to meet the Missouri State Director of Freedom Cruisers, Mike (Doc) DePeralta and Chapter 38 President Mark (Thud) Rideout, along with several other club members at the 210 Grill in Kansas City, Missouri. In spite of very cold temperatures, many of the members arrived on motorcycles. We talked about the Kansas City area Freedom Cruisers:
CC: When was the local chapter established?
Mark: Mike started the local chapter in December, 2004.
Mike: I know there are other bike clubs in the area, but for some reason when I read about the Freedom Cruisers, I thought I would like to start a chapter here. I had been out of riding for a number of years and had not done much group riding until I got involved with this club. It has worked out well. We have a bunch of good people, some with lots of riding experience and some new riders. We welcome all. In January of this year, I became Missouri State Director and Mark took over as Chapter President.


CC: How many chapter members do you have?

Mark: We currently have twenty-eight on our roster. Typically a dozen or more show up for meetings or rides.


CC: Like the national club, there are no local dues or initiation fees?

Mark: That’s right. We’re just here to ride and have fun.

CC: How do you communicate with your membership?

Mark: We have a local website. We communicate by e-mail or phone, and our website has a forum page.


CC: How often do you meet?

Mark: We try to get together at least twice a month to ride and another time for a dinner meeting. Most of our rides involve eating.

CC: Who plans your group rides?

Mark: It’s up to anybody. We’re always open to suggestions. We like to involve all of the members in planning.


CC: Do you have a standard starting point for your rides?

Mike: We recently started meeting here at the 210 Grill. It’s a good centralized location.


CC: Judging from the variety of bikes in the parking lot, I take it that all brands of motorcycles are welcome.

Mark: It doesn’t matter what you ride. We welcome everyone. You don’t have to be a member to ride with us.


CC: Do you participate in local charity events?

Mark: Yes. Last year we attended five charity rides as a group. I think we’ll add a couple more this year.


CC: Do you get together with the closest chapters in St. James and in Lawrence, Kansas?

Mike: Those chapters were both established on January 14 of this year. They are brand new chapters, and we plan to get out and meet their members within the next couple of months. We want to welcome them and help them get established.


CC: What would you like for people to know about Freedom Cruisers?

Mark: We promote safe riding and family participation. All of our events are family-oriented, and the kids are welcome to come along. We do camping trips and things like that. Last year we had a weekend campout at Wallace State Park. This year we are planning a trip to Big Lake north of St. Joe. We are open to helping novice motorcyclists develop their riding skills.


CC: How does someone join your club?

Mike: There is a membership application on the national website. There are also links to all of the local websites. If there is no local chapter near them, they can start a new chapter or can become a member at large.


CC: Guys, thanks for inviting me to your meeting and for making me feel welcome.



For anyone who is looking for a group to ride with, the Freedom Cruisers Riding Club is worth a look. There is a great deal of information available on the national and local websites. This could be the club you’ve been looking for.


Story and Photos by Stripe

I recently received an e-mail from the president of this new motorcycle group and wanted to let all our readers know about them.

Missy “Dakota” Brady started the group because she couldn’t find a motorcycle club in the Houston area that was fighting for women and children. This cause hits very close to home for Dakota. Being a rape survivor she knew what it was like to feel like you can’t go on living! She began riding in 1997 as a passenger and now rides her own bike! Congrats to you!
Dakota was not too sure on how to go about setting up a new club, so she reached out to other club presidents and leaders and acquired valuable information that was very helpful in the initial setup. After doing all the necessary groundwork, Southern & Spicy was formed and their mission, according to their website, is: “to stick together, learn from one another, help each other, and the community and ”RIDE LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW!”
Presently they have five members and growing; they are in the process of signing new members and volunteering in new places in the community. There are no initiation fees, but members are expected to pay annual dues, buy their club patch and attend monthly meetings. They are recruiting new members by word of mouth, meeting others in motorcycle training courses and through long-time friendships.

They are in the process of organizing their first fundraiser and all of the proceeds will go to a charity of their choice. I bet we can guess who will benefit from that!

Here in Kansas City we have several centers for women who have been abused, such as Safe Haven, Rose Brooks Center, Synergy House and others, and I have attended countless benefits to raise money for their cause. They are always in need of monetary gifts, clothing for women and children, makeup, personal hygiene items and toys. Many times women pick up the children and leave the abusive environment and don’t have time to pack or take anything with them. Check with your local shelter for a “wish list” if you can help in any way.

If you have questions or want to contact Dakota, her e-mail address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Also make sure to check out the Southern and Spicy web site at: www.southernandspicy.com

Story by: Goldie Arnold

Photos submitted by: Missy Brady

During a visit to Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview, Missouri, some time ago I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Sylva who works at Gail's and is also the Director of the local chapter of Buell Riders Adventure Group (B.R.A.G.). Chris invited me to attend the December, 2005, chapter meeting and meet some of the members. Due to unexpected circumstances the meeting was postponed to the Thursday immediately preceding Christmas, resulting in attendance being somewhat less than normal. The members in attendance made me feel very welcome, and some great chili was served. A couple of new Buell motorcycles were on display in the meeting room, and one was the versatile and popular new Ulysses. Conversation during the meeting focused on plans for the upcoming year. Subsequently, I had the opportunity to ask Chris a few questions about the organization.

CC: When was your B.R.A.G. chapter formed?
Chris: The Chapter was founded in January, 2005. Gail's Harley-Davidson & Buell became the sole Buell dealer in the Kansas City region the same year.

CC: What is the official name of the chapter?
Chris: The name is Gail's American Heartland B.R.A.G. Club.


CC: Who are the current primary officers?
Chris: I am the Director, and Sam Minnich is the Secretary/Treasurer.

CC: When and where does your club meet?
Chris: The meeting time for the club is 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month unless a conflicting schedule causes the need for a change. The meetings are held at Gail's Harley-Davidson & Buell in the H.O.G./B.R.A.G. Room, usually followed by a ride to one of several local bike night events. Paddy O'Quigley's and Fuel are two favorites.

CC: What are the requirements for membership?
Chris: A national B.R.A.G. membership is required, a $45 cost. Additional dues are $15 to join the local dealer-sponsored club. Benefits range from discounts on insurance and shipping to roadside assistance and more.

CC: What support is provided by Gail's?
Chris: The dealership provides support in many ways including a location for the meetings and dealer-supported B.R.A.G. specific events. For example, we had the Buell demo fleet here in the Spring of 2005 at Gail's expense, along with give-away products provided by the dealership at each meeting and membership in Gail's customer loyalty program for discounts at the dealership.

CC: How many local members are there?
Chris: We currently have 42. Anyone who buys a new Buell automatically gets a one-year membership to the local club.

CC: How do H.O.G. and B.R.A.G. relate?
Chris: On a national level, the relationship between the two is that they are both Harley-Davidson sponsored clubs with similar benefits. Their appeal is often to different segments of the motorcycling community. On the local level, we see that they are very similar. We have H.O.G. members who own Buells and Buell members who have owned many Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The two clubs welcome each other's members on rides, along with riders of other makes on designated open rides.

CC: In what events does your club participate?
Chris: Future events we plan to take part in are Gail's 9-11 Ride, the Bikers for Babies charity event, and the Buell Homecoming national ride. The B.R.A.G. club is a diverse group spanning models from the mid-1990's to current 2006 models. Performance is a common thread, and several of the club's members have pursured that to spectacular ends. The bottom line is that we love our motorcycles and motorcycling in general, and we are here to have fun, whether it is riding, talking about our bikes, or wrenching on them.

CC: Thanks for the information, Chris, and for the invitation to your meeting and chili feed. Much appreciated!

For any of you Buell riders out there in the Kansas City area, I would encourage you to attend a B.R.A.G. meeting at Gail's. It's a great opportunity to make new friends who share your passion for motorcycling in general and specifically for Buell bikes.

Story and Photos by Stripe



The Tribe of Judah is also known as the 'Tribe' to many. It came into being in 1987. The founder is Ben Priest who was saved while being active in a motorcycle club, as many of the ministers of the local chapters are. This ministry has been around for many years and was one of the first, if not the first, Christian-based motorcycle ministry that ministered to 1% clubs. The main audience or group of people the Tribe hangs with is the 1% that was deemed 'outlaw” by the AMA. Many years ago the AMA made a statement that only 1% of motorcycle riders were the 'Bad Apples,' those that were on the fringe of being over the edge as far as society were concerned. These clubs embraced that 1% logo and adopted it as part of their 'colors' (the cut-off vest they wear with their unique patch on the back).

Well my Bible tells me that Jesus died for these people too and I'm living proof of that. I came from this background and that is why I have been anointed by God to return back to these riders and be there when they come to the point they are ready to make a decision, like I did.

The Tribe doesn't preach, or per se witness, in the traditional way most Christians do. We really like these riders and find ourselves being their friends. We ride with them if invited and party with them when asked, and we are there to support and help as well as be encouragers when there is a need. We will meet them where they are, which may be in a hospital bed, down alongside the road, or in trouble with the law and in need a helping hand, as well as partying with them.

Often I'm told we are a bit aloof or arrogant, but we have to be on guard who we are seen with and who we throw our arms around. Many 1% clubs are very untrustworthy of most people and we must not jeopardize our relationship with the various clubs. It's not that we are above or better than anyone else, it's just we need to be aware of those the 1% clubs don't trust.

There are many Christian clubs out there now, but 20 years ago you would be lucky to find one, let alone a half dozen, at a function. Many of the Christian clubs have patterned their club after the Tribe. Many have even used the bottom rocker but no problem with that as long as it brings glory to Jesus. With all these Christian clubs around, it is great to see they all have a niche they fill. Many minister to riding clubs, others minister at events, some are at all the ABATE rides, others are at shows and set up a booth, and many attend local rides as well as national rides. I have also noticed recently that some are trying to attend the 1% functions. They do have public parties; this is great to see but the work is hard because it takes so very long to be trusted by these clubs and it takes being available and many hours of hanging out with them at bars, parties or hospitals.

We genuinely care about these people and they know it. We aren't around them with ulterior motives like many who come across when around them with a purpose to save them from themselves. We respect them, and they respect us. I'm not being naive in thinking they are our best buds but they are grateful we are there; at least some are.

About the Author:
I've rambled on with this interview about the Tribe without properly introducing myself; let me do that for you now. I'm Dave Ramsay, the Chapter President of the North Illinois Chapter of the Tribe of Judah. We are a young chapter and are growing. We ride from Rockford, Illinois to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. I live in Portage, Indiana with my wife Sarah who backs me 100% with the Tribe; she is on nearly every ride I do. We also have long time friends, a couple who ride with us at every turn also; they are John and Beverly Rimkus. I enjoy writing biker fiction and do leather work as a hobby when I'm not on my scooter. Today it was 46 degrees with snow all over up here but I just had to get out and get into the wind. I ride all winter when the weather permits it. I began riding when I was about 12 years old on an Allstate scooter. So I’ve been up on two wheels for 43 years give or take a few months one way or the other.

Motorcycles have always been a part of my life even though there was that down time when I was finding myself and figuring what life and what purpose was for me. I have two grown daughters, Melissa and Talia, as well as two granddaughters, Lauren and Kelcey. Sarah and I have been married over 40 years and are looking to retirement in about five years. That doesn’t mean vegetating either. We hope to travel and make many of the national rides and do some construction work with camps. I am a manager of the carpenter shop at a Christian college in Chicago, Illinois. I have done many jobs over my lifetime. Some of them are heavy equipment operator, carpenter, crane man, steel worker, electronic repairman for a vending/game company; and I’ve owned my own business.

This has been a snapshot of me and the Tribe of Judah. I hope to be able to meet and get to know many of you in the near future. I am also looking forward to being able to write a few articles for you to enjoy as well as to inform you of the rides we attend.

If you would like more information concerning the Tribe of Judah you can visit www.tribeofjudah.com. There are links to the various chapters as well as general information about the Tribe. If you are interested in some leather biker wristbands I make, you can visit my site at www.handworkedleather.com.

Ridin with the KING!

Article and photos by: Dave Ramsay – President - North IL. Chapter Tribe of Judah

Last summer at Oklahoma Bike Week at Sparks America, I became aware of a club made up of military veterans and active duty members of America’s Armed Forces. This club unites members who share not only the common bond of military service but also the love of their special rides, both the two-wheeled and the four-wheeled kind. During the bike games at Sparks, I became acquainted with J.W. Wallace who is the President of the South Central Chapter of the U.S. Veterans Motorcycle and Street Rod Association. Members of J.W.’s Tulsa Chapter and the Van Buren, Arkansas Chapter, headed by James Sutterfield, had gathered to enjoy the rally together, and they do know how to enjoy a party. The South Central Chapter includes Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The other regional chapters are Northwest, North Central, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest spanning the North American continent. I was informed that the club has in excess of 12,000 members nationwide.

The U.S. Veterans Motorcycle and Street Rod Association originated in California as a veterans’ car club with four original members. In 2000, the members widened the scope of the organization to include motorcyclists. J.W. provided me with the following lists of membership requirements:

Standards for Membership:
1. Must be a veteran or actively serving in the United States Armed Forces over 180 days. Proof of veteran status is required. Suitable documentation is any of the following: Veterans Administration identification card, Military identification card and/or a Department of Defense (DD) Form 214. Discharge status must be under Honorable or General circumstances.
2. Must have a show quality motorcycle or street rod or have one under construction.
3. Must enter at least three shows a year.
4. Must prominently display U.S. Veteran T-shirt, shirt, vest, or banner at events.

Standards of Conduct:
1. Your behavior reflects not only upon yourself but also upon your fellow Association members as well. We do not tolerate behavior that presents U.S. Veterans in a poor public image.
2. We do not allow members to use, carry, manufacture, or sell illegal drugs.
3. We do not allow members to abuse women, children, animals, or other people.
4. We will not tolerate any criminal activity under the auspices of our Association.
5. We take care of our own members. Violations of the above rules will result in the member being brought before a Board of Officers for judgment.

Standards of Finance:
1. The Association collects no dues.
2. All entrance fees, food, drink, clothing, and other purchases are the responsibility of the individual member.


J.W. informed me that the association values its associate members as well. Husbands or wives of eligible veterans can become associate members. J.W. estimated that in his region the number of members showing motorcycles and those showing automobiles is roughly equal with many having both. The Tulsa Chapter currently has seven members of whom four are currently serving their country overseas. In Tulsa, they do not have regularly scheduled meeting, but get in touch by phone whenever there is a good excuse to get together to conduct club business or just to party. Chapters join to make runs to various events. For 2006, J.W. told me that Daytona and the Republic of Texas Rally are possible destinations. The association holds a national conference every ten years with the next scheduled for San Diego in 2007.

I enjoyed meeting the group from Tulsa and Van Buren and look forward to seeing them at future events. Anyone who desires additional information about this organization can make contact via an e-mail to me.


Story and photos by Stripe

Editor's Note: Those of you who have been following our magazine for at least a year may have already read this article on the Jackpine Gypsies. We originally published it in our September 2004 issue, but since a good portion of this month's issue is centered around Sturgis, we thought it would be appropriate to run it again for those of you who may not be familiar with how Sturgis began. Enjoy!

If you’ve been around motorcycles for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club, which was founded by John Clarence “Pappy” Hoel. Pappy is credited for starting the phenomena known today as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Pappy grew up in the 1930s working in the family ice business in Sturgis, South Dakota. With electric refrigerators becoming more and more popular, he knew the ice age would soon be ending. As a young man, Pappy enjoyed riding motorcycles, so in 1936 at age 32, he bought a franchise from the Indian Motorcycle Company.

In 1937, Hoel founded the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club, and that same year, the Jackpine Gypsies became an official American Motorcycle Association (AMA) charter. The club was originally known as the Jackpines because the seven original members loved to race among the 'jackpines' or Ponderosa pines that cover the Black Hills. One day, after returning from a day of riding, someone told them they looked like a bunch of gypsies, so they decided to change their name to the Jackpine Gypsies.

On August 14, 1938, Pappy and the Jackpine Gypsies organized the first Black Hills Motor Classic, which for their main event featured an AMA sanctioned half-mile dirt track race. Depending on whom you ask, between nine and twelve racers participated in the first race and the event drew approximately 200 men, women and children. Who would have ever dreamed it would grow into an annual event drawing several hundred thousand riders to their little town tucked away in the Black Hills.

Considering the average lifespan of a motorcycle club is only three years, after 68 years the club is still running strong. The Jackpine Gypsies own the property on which most of their activities take place. There is approximately 40 acres along Interstate 90 between Exit 30 and Exit 32, which is the busiest section of Interstate 90 during the Sturgis Rally. Their property is home to a lighted short track, motocross track, field meet area, hill climb area, clubhouse, office and a state approved concession business.

The short track was first used in 1963, and has seen many improvements over the years. The racetrack is now wider, has permanent seating, an improved lighting system and an official announcer. They also have a sign-up building and a clubhouse where their concession business is located. The club holds races every other weekend and hosts a full week of races during the rally.

A motocross track was added in the 1980s and in 1996 a new track was built. The sport of motocross has really grown over the years, and the races now attract more than 6,000 spectators and more than 500 racers during the average rally week. During the Sturgis Rally, 12 events are held, including: motocross racing, a half mile race, hill climbs, road tours and short track racing.

Pappy died in 1989 at the age of 84, and although he didn't live to see the mega-rallies of today, I’m sure he would be as surprised as anyone to see how much the Sturgis Rally has grown since its humble beginnings back in 1938.

The Jackpine Gypsies are a non-profit organization with over 150 members living across the United States and abroad. They support area charities including the local food bank, Sturgis High School, Zonta Club of Sturgis and the Christian Motorcycle Association. To find out more about the Jackpine Gypsies, visit their web site at www.jackpinegypsies.com.

Story by Mike Schweder

In 1959 a group of riders in Sedalia, Missouri, decided to form a club based on their shared enthusiasm for the sport of motorcycling. That club, known as the Iron Horsemen, M.C. is still going strong today. I had the privilege of meeting a number of the members at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia at a motorcycle field meet sponsored by the club on July 30. Jeff Arnwine, the “Little General” was the coordinator the the event, but found time to provide some information about the Iron Horsemen.

The club has about 60 members most of whom live within a 45-mile radius of Sedalia. They meet on the first and third Monday of each month at Yeager’s Cycle Sales. Jeff described the club dues as “minimal.” Members ride motorcycles of various brands and sizes. The Iron Horsemen sponsor about eight events each year including the field meet, poker runs, a off-road poker enduro, and motocross races to benefit various charities. They also provide Christmas gifts to five or six families annually. The club assists with the promotion of the A.M.A. Grand National races run every year on Sedalia’s half mile dirt oval. Members participate in group rides to such events as the Topeka drag races, arenacross races in St. Louis, and Little Sturgis.

Two of the original club members, Wayne Butterwick and Ward Wollard, were present at the field meet. Wayne, a Gold Wing rider, informed me that the size of the club has varied through the years and is currently experiencing growth. Wayne attends most of the club events unless there is a schedule conflict with a family event, usually something involving his grandchildren. He describes the members as a great bunch. “They don’t come any better!” I can attest that the group has a blast when they get together, judging from the fun at field meet.

Current club officers are:
President-Larry Yeager
Vice President-John Arnwine
Treasurer-Rick Yeager
Head Road Captain-Steve Beorkle
Dirt Captain-Kevin Funk
Sergeant at Arms-Bernie Hedrick

Look for an article about the July 30 field meet in a future edition of Cycle Connections On Line Magazine.

For more information about the Iron Horsemen contact Larry Yeager at Yeager's Cycle Sales (660-826-2925).
Story and Photos by Stripe




The stigma associated with people who ride motorcycles isn’t what it used to be—it’s better! So much better, in fact, that Gardner Mayor Carol Lehman welcomed a recently formed motorcycle club during an official swearing-in ceremony on May 21 in the commons at Wheatridge Middle School.

“I look around and see so many people who are already involved in the community,” she said prior to the start of the ceremony. “The Gardner Lions have done so much for this community. It’s so good to see them form this motorcycle club.”

And with that, the official “biker dinner” to charter the Gardner Lions Pride Riders Motorcycle Club by Lions Club International was underway.

“I think this is really a good thing for Gardner,” Lehman had said earlier. “It’s good to see so many people wanting to get involved and to give back to the community. This is really a great time to be living in Gardner.”

Gardner Lions Club members Ray Hess and Ves Pennington served as the guiding Lions to help form the new club. It is the second club the Gardner Lions has helped form in the past two years. Hess helped start the Spring Hill Lions Club.

More than 100 people, many of them representing Lions Clubs throughout the area and state, were on-hand for the ceremony and “biker” meal that consisted of barbecue beef and pork, baked beans, slaw, potato salad and plenty of desserts. There also were chips, dips, cheeses, veggie plates, corn casserole and rice casserole. In large ice-filled coolers were drinks: soda and bottled water.

“This is a heck of a deal for seven bucks,” said Charles Mason, Gardner, a member of the Pride Riders. “I’ve been waiting for this all day! This barbecue sauce has a bit of a kick!”

Biker decorations were on the tables, and the band, Ordinary Men, provided music throughout the night.

Gene Vogel, Tonganoxie, a member of the Turner Lions Club, was the guest speaker. He was elected to serve a two-year term as a director of the International Association of Lions Clubs during the association’s 80th International Convention in 1997. He has held many offices within the Lions Club, and has received several awards for his work and leadership, including the 100 percent Club President Award, the 100 percent District Governor Award, , six International President’s Awards, and an Ambassador of Goodwill Award, the highest honor granted by the association to its members.

He talked about the history of the Lions Club since its first convention in Dallas in 1917.
“There were 23 clubs there,” he said. “From there it grew into the world’s largest civic organization. We have 1,347,214 members. That’s 46,020 clubs in 193 countries all over the world.

“When the first clubs were formed, the country was involved in World War I, and the effort was to sell Liberty Bonds to help the troops overseas.” Since then, the focus of the Lions has changed to helping people, particularly children, he said.

Vogel is currently serving on the USA/Canada Lions leadership Forum Planning Committee, is the director of the Kansas Lions Sight Foundation and National/Multi-National Coordinator for Campaign SightFirst II.

“We’ve raised $147 million to help people get their eyesight restored or loss of sight prevented,” he said. “That breaks down to about $6 a person. He said the Lions Club currently is working with relief efforts for the victims of last year’s devastating tsunami. He challenged the members of the Pride Riders to continue serving those who are less fortunate.

Then he and District Governor Rudy Pouch, began the installation of officers and board members. Gil Dishman is the President. Russ Wilkerson, Gene Martin, and Charlie Mason are the first, second and third Vice Presidents, Renee Callahan is Secretary, and Dana DeWitte is treasurer. Danny DeWitte is the Lion Tamer. Rick “Hollywood” Stallsworth is the Tail Twister. Dishman also is serving as the club’s Membership Chair. Board members are Andrew "Andy" Musto, Wally Borth and James "Captain" Moore. The club came into the dinner with 35 members, and added one more the night of the dinner.

The members include Wally Borth, Dawn Borth, Darrel Bailey, Paula Bailey, Tony Bailey, Patty “Chiclet” Bulva, Sean “Cooter” Bulva, Renee Callahan, Joe Currier, Dana DeWitte, Danny DeWitte, Gil Dishman, Satana Fisher, Teri Hodges, Robert Hult, Ronnie “Meatloaf” Johnson, Chuck “Writeman” Kurtz, Steve Larrick, Kenneth “Gene” Martin, Charlie Mason, Scott “Scooter” McDaniel, Charles Meeks, John Melvin, Cindi Messer, Jack Messer, Denise Moore, James “Captain” Moore, Andrew “Andy” Musto, James L. Poss, Dennis Rider, Rick “Hollywood” Stallsworth, Russ Wilkerson, Charles “Chuck” Tapp, and Sharon “Sid” Tapp.

Sharon Tapp was killed in a motorcycle accident the first Sunday in April and her charter membership pin was given to her daughter Jennifer, 15, by Chuck Tapp during the ceremony.

After the installation, all the initial members of the Pride Riders signed the official charter. Lions Clubs represented at the dinner were from Burlington, Turner, Scranton, Lyndon, Louisburg, Lawrence, Eudora, Shawnee, Highland, Lansing, Overland Park Noon, Prairie Village, Lenexa, Gardner, Spring Hill, Independence, Wichita, Holton, Olathe, Leawood and Pittsburg.

Story and photos by Chuck Kurtz