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Tribe of Judah Motorcycle Ministry

Written by  December 31, 2005

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