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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

The Zodiacs club of greater Kansas City was established on Aug 27, 1973. Wilbert Neil is the oldest original founding member of this club. They are not just a club who rides together; they are a Non for profit organization that is currently the oldest African-American motorcycle club in Kansas City.

Since moving to Kansas City, I have been introduced to a several members of this club, and I am very impressed with the attitude of all the members. They focus on the importance of keeping the peace, and stress the importance to younger riders not to street race. When I interviewed Carl “Boonie” Criswell, I am glad to hear that his beliefs match that of his President.

I recently had the privilege to interview Gary McGhee, the current club President at their club house located at 1825 Vine Street in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz district. Gary stated that there are currently 22 active members, and he explained that the term Zodiacs is not exclusive to this club. Other clubs have and currently use this name. The Zodiacs are very well known in the KC Metro area and I am deeply impressed with the amount of time and effort they spend to help keep kids on the right path for success. They currently sponsor four major events each year, that other clubs and the general public is welcome to attend. The Zodiacs are also sponsoring the bike show at the Kansas City International Speedway (KCIR) with Darwin Barnett of the Soul Brothers Racing Series on June 25, 2005. Make sure to come to this event, so we can see who really has the fastest bike in KC.

The Zodiacs will be sponsoring the following four events this year:

- April 30, 2005 - Annual Spring Kickoff. All motorcycle clubs, both in and out of Kansas City are invited to attend, and will include a car and bike show.

- June 18, 2005 - African American Car & Bike Show. This show is open to everyone. The entry fee is $10 for bikes and $15 for cars. Trophies will be presented.

- June 24-26th - Annual Field Meet. All motorcycle clubs, both in and out of Kansas City are invited. The entry fee is $10 if wearing colors and $12 for the general public. Friday night is the Beer Bust, and Saturday there will be games, such as the boot race, tug of war and two-legged race. Trophies will be awarded. This is one of the largest in & out social events of the year.

- October 29, 2005 - Annual Anniversary. This event will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Blue Springs, Missouri. The events will be announced the week of the event.

Gary also wanted me to mention that the 32nd Annual National Biker Roundup is scheduled for August 1–7 this year in Rockingham, North Carolina, and will not return to Kansas City until 2007. This event has become very popular since its initial debut in 1977, and the attendance level has grown to over 100,000 riders & families.

Wilbert and I had the opportunity to meet and discuss various topics, and I was happy to admit that this was my first bike club interview with a club that is so widely recognized in the Kansas City area. Wilbert and Gary made me feel right at home and I would love to go their sometime for a game of pool or just to have a beer and hangout.

So keep up the great work and all of us at Cycle Connections wish you the best!

By Dave Miller

Freedom of Road Riders, Inc. (FORR) is Missouri’s largest motorcycle rights organization, whose main purpose is to guard the rights of all motorcyclists; to keep you informed of laws that will help or hinder you as motorcyclists; and to promote safety, brotherhood and freedom for all motorcyclists.

FORR is not a club, but rather a not-for-profit organization made up of motorcyclists from all walks of life, who ride all types of motorcycles and with all sorts of interests. It doesn’t matter if your interests are centered on legislative activities, motorcycle shows, charity events, or motorcycle rallies; FORR has something for you.

Since its inception in 1981, FORR has had an impact on motorcycling in Missouri, and works in all areas of motorcycle rights and freedoms, and endeavor to pursue such rights as Equal Access to Riders, Anti-Health/Insurance Discrimination, Pro-Rider & Driver Safety Training, just to name a few.

Other issues FORR is involved in includes the creation of a State Safety Program with FORR training sites and instructors to help reduce motorcycle accidents, the revision of Missouri’s helmet law and to remove the serious penalties and make them comparable to seat-belt laws, to repeal Missouri’s helmet law, and to educate our legislators on other issues pertaining to motorcyclists’ rights.

You may ask yourself, “Why do we need a motorcyclists’ rights organization?” If you are aware of the effect government regulations have on our daily lives, and the recent trends of the Federal government to turn responsibility for regulation over to the States, I’m sure you see the need to have someone to represent you and to make an impact on Missouri’s legislative process to protect our rights as motorcyclists.

Some of the recent actions the State and local governments have taken that infringe on our rights as motorcyclists include requiring personal injury protection insurance coverage for motorcyclists only, banning all motorcycles from selected streets and roads, outlawing certain types of motorcycles completely, and an attempt to create a “Global” standard for motorcycle manufacturers, which could outlaw any attempts to customize your motorcycle. There is also a push for insurance regulations that allow discrimination against motorcyclists’ health coverage, liability, and uninsured/underinsured motorists.

If you are a motorcyclist, the above issues could have a direct impact on your freedom to ride, either today, tomorrow, or in the near future. One of the best ways to help protect your rights as a motorcyclist is to join FORR.

As a member, you will receive FORR’s monthly publication, The Freedom Press, and will have access to information regarding motorcycle safety, pending legislation and a role in making a change in the way the public and our legislators view motorcyclists. It is also comforting to know that you are represented by a legislative staff that is known in the State Capitol, and stays informed about all activities that may impact motorcyclists throughout the State.

Along with the legislative backing you will receive as a member, by attending your Local’s meeting, you will meet new friends and riding buddies with interests similar to your own, who also chose to become personally involved in insuring the future of motorcycling.

For more information about FORR and to find a Local near you, visit www.forr.net today. You’ll be glad you did.

By Mike Schweder

February 28, 2005

Ararat Cycles Shrine Club

While gathering information for my June, 2004 article about the Ararat Motor Corps motorcycle drill team, I learned that the Shrine also includes a motorcycle club called Ararat Cycles. One of the club members, Ben Kenney, provided me with information about the group.

CC: Who are the present officers?
Ben: Ron Facklam is President, William Boynton is Vice President, Paul Brewer is Secretary, and Dan Gilliam is Membership Chairman.

CC: When and where are club meetings held?
Ben: Meetings are on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Ararat Shrine Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

CC: Ben, do you hold an office within the Shrine or the Ararat Cycles Club?
Ben: I presently am a member of the Divan, which is our Board of Directors for Ararat Shrine. I became involved with the reorganization of the Ararat Cycles to help gain additional membership.

CC: When was the Cycles club formed?
Ben: Ararat Cycles had previously been one of our uniformed units, comprised of members who all purchased maroon Harley-Davidson 883 Sportsters. Prior to that, Ararat Cycles originally started in the late 1960s riding the famed Cushman Eagles. The Cushman Eagles had previously been a part of the Ararat Provost, whose job was to assist in police and security functions for Ararat Shrine. This changed over the years as the Cushmans became harder to acquire and service, and the cycles changed to Kawasakis. In the late 1990s, the Harley Sportsters replaced the Kawi’s.

In January 2004, Ararat Cycles again changed to an open class of motorcycle. We found that a number of current Shriners and new Shrine candidates already owned motorcycles, and it was a great way for the club to grow with a variety of cycles represented. We even have a custom trike with a Volkswagen power train.

CC: How many current members are there?
Ben: We have 40 members at present.

CC: What requirements are there for membership?
Ben: All members must be Shrine Masons in good standing, and have a motorcycle with at least 500 ccs.

CC: Do you have any restrictions as to make of motorcycle?
Ben: No, the majority of our club rides Harleys, but we are also represented by Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and the Volkswagen trike.

CC: How does your club participate in the charitable activities of the Shrine?
Ben: As with all of our Ararat Shrine units and clubs, we support our 22 Burn and Orthopedic Shriner Hospitals around North America, which provide and specialize in free health care for any patient 18 years and younger. The Ararat Shrine presently sponsors 2,600 active patients. This includes one of our most recent, a severely burned young patient that was admitted to our Galveston, Texas hospital within a few hours after being stabilized for the flight. We have various events during the year to raise funds to support our club and Ararat Shrine in general operating funds.

CC: Does the club sponsor or attend events as a group? If so, what events?
Ben: We are most noted for our Shrine Parades that we do in support of area communities who have special celebrations that include parades. On occasion, we are asked to assist with other Ararat Motor groups in the community. We just recently assisted in escorting the homecoming celebration for our local Missouri National Guard returning from Iraq. A number of our members are military veterans and we all feel the pride in celebrating our Armed Forces. We have also been asked to participate in a Mass Motor Escort for the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall that will be here this June, and displayed for all to see.

CC: Do you have group rides or road trips? If so, what are favorite destinations?
Ben: Each month we have a Sunday group ride for all to enjoy that is pre-planned for a day’s journey. We have enjoyed a number of rides to Leavenworth and Lawrence, Kansas; Weston, Missouri; and the East run along the Lewis and Clark Trail heading down by Orrick, Missouri and up to Excelsior Springs.

During the riding season, Friday evenings we enjoy getting together at F.O.G. Cycles, where Frank Hicks, also a Shriner, has fun for all of us to enjoy.

CC: Thanks for the information, Ben.

I mentioned in my article on the Ararat Motor Corps, that the Shriners are a very special organization to me. When she was two years old, my grandniece, Heather, was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, the Shriners paid for all of the required hospital care, medicine and even her parents’ travel costs from north central Kansas to St. Louis. To inquire about free medical assistance for children, call 1-800-237-5055 or the Ararat Shrine Hospital Committee at 816-923-1319. For more information or to join Shrine of North America or Kansas City’s Ararat Shrine, view their web sites.

By Stripe

Photo courtesy of Ararat Cycles.

One would expect a club with M/C in its name to be motorcycle-centered. There is no doubt that the members of this club love motorcycling, but the heart of this group is their shared love of Jesus and their desire to minister and witness to others. The Cycle Disciples M/C Kansas City Chapter started as part of the St. Joseph, Missouri Chapter and began independent operation on March 21, 2001. Since October 26, 2001, the chapter has been incorporated in Missouri as a not-for-profit corporation.

Nationally, the Cycle Disciples club began informally in Whittier, California, in 1993 and was officially formed in Kingman, Arizona, in 1999. Those who founded the organization had the intent of forming an independent club for Christian motorcyclists to facilitate riding and ministering to the motorcycling community on a one-on-one basis. They recognize that the motorcycling public has become highly diverse, ranging from “lifestyle” bikers to “recreational” bikers to “RUBs.” They assert that all are in need of salvation.

The Kansas City Chapter has grown from five charter members to fifteen members counting prospects. Teddy Bittner, a.k.a. The Colonel, was the original chapter president and still holds that office. When I asked Teddy about chapter rides he replied, “Popular destinations include Lambert's in Springfield, Missouri, Freedom Fest (Skidmore, Missouri in September) and of course, Sturgis for the Black Hills rally - in particular, in support of the Jackpine Gypsy National Tour to Devil's Tower. Otherwise, destinations vary. The only 'mandatory' events we have are support for the City Union Mission, because it takes all of us to make it happen, and our annual 'Patch Day Party’ on the Fourth of July. The Patch Day Party is actually a family picnic as opposed to a run.”

Knowing that the Cycle Disciples are instrumental in putting on the annual Bikers with a Mission (BWAM) Ride to benefit Kansas City’s City Union Mission, I asked Teddy for his comments about that event and the group’s other charitable interests. “We assumed responsibility for BWAM beginning last year. It is a great honor to be involved in this event, which is in its 16th year and does so much to help the homeless in Kansas City. But there are many other individuals and organizations that help make this happen - and it could not be done without them. The BWAM coordinating committee includes a cross section of the overall Kansas City biker community, and they have done a great job for many years. My particular concern is the emerging issue of homeless Iraqi war veterans that have begun to show up around the country. Our club has taken on BWAM as our major contribution to the Kansas City biking community, but we also try to coordinate a Christian fellowship run each year (toward the end of the riding season) as well.

I've already mentioned our support to the Jackpine Gypsies during their National Gypsie Tour at Sturgis (our chapter assumes responsibility to act as road guards for this event each year). Additionally, we conducted a Christian Biker Workshop early in January that will probably become an annual event, and may be expanded to include other venues and additional topics. Finally, we conduct weekly Bible studies at our clubhouse that are open to anyone that would like to attend. More information is available on that at our web site.”

The club is independent, not affiliated with any church or denomination. There is no racial bias nor is there a preference for any particular make of motorcycle. Members are required to be born-again believers in Jesus Christ, maintain membership in a local church, and have a calling to minister, share, and serve. Increasing membership is not a high priority with this group. They are very particular about those they invite to “prospect” and are aware that one “bad apple” could ruin the outstanding reputation that the Cycle Disciples have worked hard to earn and could compromise their witness. The right to wear the club’s patch must be earned, usually over a period of 6-12 months.

I asked Teddy how prospects prove themselves and whether or not they had full members as sponsors. He replied, “Prospects are expected to demonstrate a degree of maturity, the ability to handle a motorcycle in various conditions, the ability to get along with others under a variety of circumstances, a basic knowledge of the Bible and spiritual maturity. There is no set time limit for how long a prospect takes to make full member. Presently, we do not use sponsors for prospects.”

On the first Thursday of each month the Cycle Disciples hold a business meeting, a portion of which is dedicated to dealing with issues specific to the members and is “closed.” Otherwise, visitors are welcome to attend. On all other Thursdays, the club meets for Bible study and prayer. The clubhouse is located at the corner of 159th and Kensington in Kansas City, Missouri, at the former Richards-Gebaur Airport. More information about Cycle Disciples is available on their web site.

By Stripe

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), with more than 265,000 members, has an unparalleled history of pursuing, protecting and promoting the interests of the world's largest and most dedicated group of motorcycle enthusiasts. The AMA was founded in 1924, and exists to further the interests of American motorcyclists, while serving the needs of its members.
The AMA is the premier defender of motorcyclists’ rights in the United States. The work of the AMA Government Relations Department extends beyond AMA members to all motorcyclists. Staff members seek out bad laws and anti-motorcycling discrimination at the local, state, federal and corporate level. When critical issues and problems arise, education, common sense, political clout, and when necessary, compromise is used to make changes beneficial to all riders; even those who aren't AMA members.
The AMA is also the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body. Its AMA Pro Racing division oversees more than 80 national-level racing events all over the United States, from the high banks of Daytona and the high jumps of Supercross, to the shoulder-to-shoulder dirt-track racing and explosive action of hillclimbs. The AMA’s Member Events & Entertainment Department coordinates thousands of amateur races with dozens of competition classes for everyone from grade-school kids to senior riders.
In addition, the AMA is the sole American affiliate of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the international governing body for motorcycle sport and touring activity.
Since its founding, the AMA has relied on its chartered clubs and promoters to help advance the goals and protect the interests of motorcyclists. Today, there are more than 1,200 chartered clubs and promoters organizing over 3,700 road-riding and competition events each year.
The AMA also publishes American Motorcyclist magazine, covering every facet of motorcycling. In addition to the people, places and events that make up the American motorcycling experience, the magazine offers in-depth stories on the legislative issues that affect everyone who rides.
AMA members enjoy dozens of benefits, including discounts on specialized insurance, vehicle rental, lodging, motorcycle training, eyewear and bike shipping. Those discounts, and optional benefits, like roadside assistance and trip-routing programs, can easily pay back more than the $39 cost of annual dues.
The AMA’s headquarters in Pickerington, Ohio, is also home to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, where visitors can see a collection of vintage bikes and informative displays showcasing the beautiful designs and remarkable technologies that have placed motorcycles at the leading edge of the transportation industry.

If you are not already a member, sign up today and help support those who are fighting to protect your rights as motorcycle enthusiasts.

By Mike Schweder