Thursday, May 7, 2020

Pro Boxing At Sturgis Buffalo Chip

Sturgis, South Dakota, USA (May 7, 2020) BSB - From bikers to boxers, a partnership between a biker-run boxing team and the world’s largest motorcycle and music festival will deliver high-impact entertainment this August during the 80th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.


Team Certified Promotions and the Sturgis Buffalo Chip® have teamed up to present “The Takeover” professional boxing event on Aug. 8, 2020 at the legendary Sturgis Buffalo Chip. This historic professional boxing event will feature two ABO title bouts and will be broadcast live worldwide through Adversary Sports Entertainment directly from Sturgis Buffalo Chip.

The Takeover will be featured on the opening weekend of the Sturgis Rally, preceding a headlining knockout performance from rock band Shinedown.

Team Certified Sports is the first-ever professional boxing team founded by a motorcycle club. Coach Ernie Haines, whose family has had MC chapters for over 16 years, dreamed up the idea of bringing professional boxing to the largest gathering of bikers anywhere because it promises to be one of the most unique boxing events in the history of the world.

When Team Certified Sports makes the transition from the road to the ring at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, some real heavy hitters will come out to play.

The ASE team will be led by broadcast producer and boxing hall-of-famer Ira Glass, and will include Emmy Award winning program host Jay Adams, Florida Boxing Hall of Fame play-by-play color commentator Bob Alexander, and TV sports commentary announcer Dan Hewitt.

“The lineup of fighters will be announced soon and will be action packed”, says M. Talley of Team Certified Sports.

Special guests at the event include:
  • “Sugar” Ray Seals, the 1972 American boxing Olympic gold medalist and former NABF and USBA middleweight champion 
  • Craig Houk, a retired pro fighter and CEO of the Indiana Boxing Hall of Fame 
  • Leon J. Muhammad, who worked with eight world champions, including heavyweight champs Muhammad Ali and Michael Spinks 

Team Certified Sports and Buffalo Chip President Rod Woodruff are determined to broadcast this competitive boxing card for free.

“It’s important for fans to be able to share the sports they love with the people they love, and we won’t allow cost to be a factor,” says Tom Reed of Team Certified Sports.

For more information about the boxing event, fans may access Team Certified Promotions’ website TeamCertifiedPromotions.com and email at Teamcertifiedsports@yahoo.com for more information, including sponsorship and investment opportunities. For more information about the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, or to purchase passes fans may visit BuffaloChip.com

SOURCE: World Boxing News

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

City and Motorcycle Club Disagree

Sturgis, South Dakota, USA - (May 5, 2020) - The City of Sturgis and the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club are at odds over a proposed annexation. For more than five years, Sturgis has been looking to annex properties that are immediately adjacent to the city and get city services, but are not within city limits.

"The Jackpine Gypsies use city roadways to access their property, the emergency services, and even city utilities," says Sturgis City Manager, Daniel Ainslie. "And so it becomes natural to make sure that area is also within the city limits."




The city has been in negotiations with the club for almost half a year to discuss the proposed annexation.

An opponent said the city of Sturgis’ attempt to annex property owned by the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club will mean the demise of the longtime organization closely tied to the start of the Sturgis motorcycle rally 82 years ago.

Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club President Brett Winsell said the annexation goes further than the potential for a higher property taxes.

He said the club is more concerned with current and future city ordinances concerning noise, signage and other issues that may prevent the club from staging its races and other events on the grounds.

The Jackpine Gypsies and founder J.C. Pappy Hoel began the Sturgis motorcycle rally in 1938 and have hosted motorcycle races, hill climbs, motocross and other events, both at the Sturgis Fairgrounds and on the Gypsies Club Grounds. “This will basically kill the Gypsies,” club representative Brett Winsell told the Sturgis City Council. “The tax burden is something that we can’t bear.”



That burden would reportedly increase by slightly more than $2,500 annually, from about $4,800 in county and school taxes already paid yearly by the club.

"We have tried a voluntary annexation," says treasurer of Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club, Vicki Winsell. "It has not been in our best interest at all. But if we could come to an agreement that would benefit both parties it would be great. Because right now, we don't feel there's a representation for the gypsies."

Winsell says if the land became part of the city the club would be limited, and could loose some of the freedoms they have by technically being in the county.

According to Ainslie, the annexation is an agenda item at Monday's council meeting, but staff will recommend that a decision be postponed for another month. With the postponement, both sides are willing to head back to the negotiation table and hopefully reach a voluntary agreement.

SOURCE: KOTA

Monday, April 27, 2020

Charlie Brechtel Dies In Crash

Copperopolis, California, USA (April 27, 2020) BSB — Charlie Brechtel tragically died in a motorcycle crash on O’Bynes Ferry Road on Saturday at 5:52 pm near Duchess Drive.

Charlie was riding his 1987 Harley-Davidson motorcycle northbound on O’Byrnes Ferry Road south of Duchess Drive, when his motorcycle crossed the double-yellow line, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Charlie Brechtel

Charlie’s motorcycle collided with the front left corner of a 2013 Chevy Equinox being driven the opposite direction by Briana Mason, 29, and Evan Gorder, 29, both of Davis.


Charlie was ejected from his motorcycle and was pronounced dead at the scene. Neither Mason nor Gorder were injured. No arrests were made, and the CHP accident report states that drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the collision.


Brechtel was a nationally known figure among motorcycle enthusiasts, and was nicknamed “Good Time Charlie.” Charlie Brechtel’s music is in an honest to goodness tribute to the biker lifestyle that he loved. His top notch musical group, the Charlie Brechtel Band, had been featured in many motorcycle films.

Charlie’s music has been featured on the Sons of Anarchy TV series as well as many other biker movies, books and events. Charlie worked with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Deacon Jones, Gregg Allman, B.B. King, Dr. John, Buddy Miles, Aaron Neville, Freddy Fender, Steppenwolfe and much. He had his own stage every year at The Buffalo Chip in Sturgis and headlined every night.


Charlie has opened for artists such as Dave Mason, Foghat, Edgar Winter, Jackyl and a host of others. He was also a Composer, Arranger, Songwriter and Producer.

Brechtel was 62-years-old.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Harley-Davidson Shutters U.S. Plants

 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (March 19, 2020) BSB — Harley-Davidson has been closely watching the coronavirus situation since January and are taking proactive measures in the interest of health and safety of its employees, dealers and consumers.

The company is temporarily suspending the majority of production at its U.S. manufacturing facilities through March 29 to help support employee health and further bolster coronavirus containment efforts.


Facilities affected are York Vehicle Operations in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin facilities Tomahawk Operations and Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations.

“We recognize the unprecedented nature of this global crisis. In order to best support our employees and following the social distancing guidance issued by public health authorities, we are temporarily suspending the majority of production at our U.S. manufacturing facilities,” said Jochen Zeitz, acting CEO and president, Harley-Davidson. “We will continue to monitor the situation and take necessary steps to prioritize employee health and safety.”

Harley-Davidson officials said they will continue monitoring the situation closely and make additional adjustments as necessary in accordance with World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The majority of its United States production employees will be on temporary layoff with medical benefits. The company will use this idle time to continue their deep cleaning and disinfecting its production areas and common areas to further protect workers for when they return back to work.

Harley-Davidson closed its Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations facility after an employee tested positive for coronavirus and is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the building, per the company’s coronavirus response protocol.


On Monday, Harley-Davidson asked employees at its Milwaukee-area headquarters and Product Development Center, except those business-critical roles that must be done onsite, to work remotely through at least the end of March.

The plant in Springettsbury had about 950 employees in 2018 when the company announced it would add an additional 450 there because Harley-Davidson was shuttering its facility in Kansas City. The Springettsbury plant had about 2000 employees a decade earlier.

Earlier Wednesday, General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler suspended all of their North American production plants to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Additionally, the company is proactively working with its dealers to assess individual impacts and its encouraging dealers to follow the public health guidelines in their communities for the safety of its consumers. In accordance with social distance guidelines, all Harley-Davidson sponsored events have been cancelled until mid-April.

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Harley-Davidson President Steps Down

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (February 29, 2020) BSB — Harley-Davidson, Inc. has announced that Matthew Levatich has stepped down as President and CEO and as a member of the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors has appointed Jochen Zeitz as acting President and CEO, a current board member who has also been named Chairman of the Board. Current Chairman of the Board, Michael Cave, is now Presiding Director.


The company plans to use an external search firm to undertake a search for a new CEO, and a further announcement will be made at a later date.

"The Board and Matt mutually agreed that now is the time for new leadership at Harley-Davidson," said Zeitz in a statement. "Matt was instrumental in defining the More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth, and we will look to new leadership to recharge our business. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Matt for his 26 years of service to Harley-Davidson. He has worked tirelessly to navigate the Company through a period of significant industry change while ensuring the preservation of one of the most iconic brands in the world."

Harley has been struggling with declining sales in the U.S., its biggest market, as it tries to adapt to an aging customer base while looking to expand markets overseas.

The announcement of the leadership change, made after the markets closed, pushed Harley’s shares up 5% in after-hours trading. They had fallen 2.3% with the broader markets during the trading day.

Harley’s closing share price Friday was down 18% for the year.

Harley reported a net profit of $423.6 million in 2019, but it made only $13.5 million in the fourth quarter.
Levatich will assist with the transition through the end of March. Harley-Davidson, Inc. was founded in 1903.

SOURCE: Reuters

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Anti Profiling Bill Passes

Boise, Idaho, USA (February 26, 2020) BSB — Legislation pushed by Nampa Rep. Robert Anderst for the past three years to forbid “motorcycle profiling” by law enforcement — deciding to pull someone over or arrest or search them solely because they’re riding a motorcycle or wearing motorcycle gear — handily passed the Senate on Wednesday.


The 25-9 vote came after similar legislation died in the Senate last year on a 17-18 vote; and the year before that, after passing the House unanimously, it was killed on a 13-22 vote in the Senate. This year’s bill, SB 1292, started in the Senate.

As they have for the past two years, motorcycling enthusiasts and members of motorcycle groups turned out in big numbers to testify in favor of the bill in committee, saying they’ve been profiled by law enforcement officers when they were abiding by all laws.

This year’s bill, like last year’s, in addition to defining and forbidding motorcycle profiling, also states that it’s not creating any new basis for lawsuits. To become law, it now needs House passage and the governor’s signature.

SOURCE: Idaho Press

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

H-D in talks with Hero MotoCorp

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (February 19, 2020) BSB — Seeking a bigger share of India, the world’s largest motorcycle market, Harley-Davidson has reportedly been in talks with Hero MotoCorp, a manufacturer of small bikes and scooters based in India.

While a partnership doesn't appear imminent, Hero Chairman Pawan Munjal was quoted by The Times of India saying that if Harley wants it, “The sooner it happens, it’s good for everyone.”

It would not be surprising that Harley-Davidson, the world’s largest maker of heavyweight motorcycles would want to collaborate with Hero, one of the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturers, to gain a better foothold in Asia.

A prototype of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle to be manufactured in China with Zheijiang Qianjiang Motorcycle Co. Ltd. for sale in Asia.

Harley has partnered with a Chinese manufacturer to build small bikes for China, and it opened an assembly plant in Thailand to produce most of the company's motorcycles sold in the European Union, China and Southeast Asia.

"This is the era of partnerships, and when the right kind of partnership comes our way, or we are able to get around to one, we would be willing to do that," Munjal was quoted as saying.

India is an important market for Harley-Davidson, especially as it continues to develop smaller, more versatile motorcycles and its U.S. sales have declined for 12 consecutive quarters.

The company is committed to having a more accessible bike in India, but anything else is "rumors and speculation," said Harley-Davidson spokeswoman Patricia Sweeney.


Hero has a history in Wisconsin, having once owned a 49% share of the former EBR Racing, a motorcycle manufacturer in East Troy founded by former Harley executive and motorcycle racer Erik Buell.

Eight years ago, Hero brought in Buell bike designers from East Troy to work with its 300-member research team in India. Hero also had a technology agreement with Buell for engineering support and sponsored Buell’s U.S. racing team.

Hero was formerly known as Hero Honda, a joint venture with Honda Motor Co. that ended in 2010. After the split, Hero shopped for a new technology partner and found Buell. The partnership also gave Hero a presence in the U.S. marketplace.

The partnership didn’t last long, though, as Buell closed its East Troy plant in 2015 with bikes left unfinished on the assembly line and the company filing for Chapter 128 receivership, a state court procedure similar to bankruptcy.

EBR was the sequel to Erik Buell Racing, which was a sequel to Buell Motorcycle Co., which Harley-Davidson owned for more than a decade before dropping the brand in 2008.

SOURCE: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Harley slaps diner with cease and desist letter

Worcester, Massachusetts, USA (February 2, 2020) BSB — For decades, the Miss Worcester Diner has served up countless meals, but this week it was owner Kim Kniskern getting served with a cease and desist letter.

Sign outside the Miss Worcester Diner

“As I’m digesting what I’m reading I’m thinking, ‘I can’t believe that this is happening right now,’” Kniskern said.

The issue is a Harley-Davidson logo on top of the diner. About three years ago, Kim had it painted as a tribute to the motorcycle company she loves.

“I was trying to draw in a biker crowd,” she explained. “That was my goal.”


But Harley-Davidson’s goal is to protect its brand and the company wants it gone.

“I don’t have the kind of money to fight Harley-Davidson,” she said. “After I read the letter, I immediately texted Tony, the artist that did it.”

“She got the letter, like a bomb. It was just kind of like, it was disappointing,” Tony Freitas said. “It’s a tribute to Harley because she loves riding Harleys.”

Kim Kniskern, owner of Miss Worcester Diner (WBZ-TV)

Now the community is rallying to support the diner in this legal battle, hoping an online petition will sway the motorcycle company to let it ride. So far, more than 1900 people have signed.

“Is there something that has to be written near it, or around so that we’re not trying to cash in on your logo,” said customer Rita Flagg.

Harley-Davidson didn’t immediately respond for comment. While Kim weighs her options on what to do about the painting, she’s been blown away by the response from friends, customers and complete strangers.

“I am so humbled by the all love and support just from my community alone,” Kniskern said.

Kniskern is optimistic she will be able to keep the logo, but if she has to take it down, she feels like she’s already won after all the support she’s gotten from the community.

SOURCE: WBZ

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Easyriders Magazine revamped after 50 years

Los Angeles, California, USA (January 28, 2020) BSB — The legendary Easyriders Magazine, named with a nod to the eponymous cult film classic, celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a new relaunch under the ownership of fashion leader Pepper Foster, who plans to advance the iconic label in the global market.


The debut issue features Norman Reedus on the cover photographed by Brian Bowen Smith, supermodel Erin Wasson and the band Wild Belle.

Easyriders was established in 1970 as a platform for motorcycle enthusiasts to immerse in the rugged, on-the-road lifestyle championed by the counterculture movement and legends such as Steve McQueen, Peter Fonda, and Dennis Hopper.


Over five decades, the brand has become synonymous with a free-spirited lifestyle. Under new leadership, Easyriders will expand the vision of what it means to be a motorcycle enthusiast in the 21st Century.

“I’m so proud and excited to introduce the iconic Easyriders brand to a new generation – and to expand this powerhouse label to partners worldwide through licensing our brand with likeminded partners,” said Pepper Foster, co-founder of the pioneering fashion label, Chip and Pepper. “We see endless opportunities to expand the Easyriders branded products to the apparel, lifestyle and home markets.”

In addition to the brand’s new iteration, Easyriders has revised and re imagined its celebrated print product as of January 2020. The niche monthly will transform to a quarterly publication expanding coverage to include travel, art, design, style, and entertainment, alongside its mainstay features on the movers and shakers of the moto world. Easyriders will add to its event and major-label product collaborations.

Easyriders magazine and its new website launched January 2020.

Visit: Easyriders.com or Instagram.com/easyriders

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Indian motorcycle wrecking crew returns

Minneapolis, MN, USA (January 22, 2020) BSB — Indian Motorcycle Racing confirmed its return for the 2020 American Flat Track (AFT) season in the series’ newly developed Super Twins class. For the second consecutive season, the Indian Wrecking Crew will feature 2019 Grand National Champion Briar Bauman, brother Bronson Bauman, who finished third overall in 2019, and six-time Grand National Champion Jared “the Jammer” Mees, who finished second overall in 2019.


In addition, AFT legend and fan favorite Brad “the Bullet” Baker returns as Technical Advisor and Rider Coach for the Bauman brothers. After capturing the top three spots in the 2019 standings, Indian Motorcycle Racing enters the 2020 series with its sights set on capturing its fourth consecutive Grand National Championship and Manufacturer’s Championship.

“Powered by the momentum of Briar winning his first Grand National Championship, the emergence of Bronson as a legitimate series contender, and Jared’s unparalleled intensity and drive to reclaim the number one plate, we couldn’t be more excited by our prospects for the 2020 series,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Racing, Technology and Service for Indian Motorcycle. “For the fourth straight season, we will have a massive target on our backs with the entire paddock looking to take us down. But we know our three riders and their crews are more than up to the challenge and determined to continue our championship streak for a fourth consecutive season.”


The Bauman brothers will again be backed by the operational and technical expertise of Paul Langley and S&S. The ongoing support from S&S since Indian’s return to the series in 2017 has been instrumental to the capabilities of the Indian FTR750, now a fixture throughout the AFT paddock, and the performance of Indian Motorcycle Racing and its riders.

In addition, Dave Zanotti will continue as Crew Chief, with Dustin Say and Clayton Gatewood handling mechanic duties for Briar and Bronson Bauman respectively. Once again, Jared Mees’ operation will be supported by long-time Crew Chief Kenny Tolbert, and mechanics Bubba Bentley and Jimmy Wood. S&S’s Dean Young continues his ongoing role as the Wrecking Crew Team Manager.


2019 saw the Bauman brothers stake their claim as the sport’s most dynamic duo, under the guidance of Crew Chief Dave Zanotti. Briar Bauman asserted his dominance immediately, winning the Daytona TT season opener, and never relenting the rest of the season on the way to his first Grand National Championship. The elder Bauman was a picture of consistency, capturing five victories and earning podium finishes in 17 of 20 events.

Meanwhile, 2019 was a season of extremes for Mees, capturing a series-best eight victories, only to come up a mere seven points short of his seventh Grand National Championship. For the younger Bauman, 2019 was a year to establish himself as one of the series’ most intense and exciting competitors, capturing five podiums, including his first career AFT Twins victory at Laconia.

In 2020, in addition to S&S, Indian will benefit significantly from the support of its valued sponsors, including presenting sponsor Progressive Motorcycle Insurance, Parts Unlimited, Drag Specialities, Indian Motorcycle Oil, Alpinestars, J&P Cycles and Bell Helmets.

“Every team in the paddock understands how invaluable the support of sponsors are to the success of a team, and for us, it’s no exception,” said Gray. “You can’t underestimate the advantage it brings to have the resources and support of companies like these that are so heavily invested in our success, and the success and growth of our sport overall.”

For 2020, AFT is introducing new regulations to continue its ongoing effort to create more competitive balance, and once again, these regulations challenge Indian and the FTR750 specifically. The case in point is AFT’s mandate that the Indian FTR750 will have a limit on flywheel mass which can affect power delivery and stability.

“We had a lot of constructive conversations with AFT and certainly understand the motivations behind their decision to regulate our bike in this manner, people want to see more than one brand on the podium, but it can be frustrating to be punished for winning,” said Gray. “Regardless of this, or any other potential obstacle, we come to win, and we have full confidence that in 2020, we will once again do just that.”

ABOUT INDIAN MOTORCYCLE

Indian Motorcycle is America’s First Motorcycle Company®. Founded in 1901, Indian Motorcycle has won the hearts of motorcyclists around the world and earned distinction as one of America’s most legendary and iconic brands through unrivaled racing dominance, engineering prowess and countless innovations and industry firsts. Today that heritage and passion is reignited under new brand stewardship. To learn more, please visit www.indianmotorcycle.com.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 Laughlin River Run questionable

Laughlin, Nevada, USA (January 16, 2020) BSB — After 37 years, the future of the Laughlin River Run is a mystery. What is less of a mystery is that the event typically held in late April isn’t on anyone’s calendar this year.

The longstanding promoter of the event, Dal-Con Promotions, of California and Nevada, have no listings for the 2020 run on their websites which are dark, and no one at Dal-Con is answering the phones when called directly.


Emails left on the Dal-Con website have so far gone unanswered and the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce has unlisted the event from its calendar due to lack of timely communication — that is, they haven’t heard from Dal-Con or anyone else in the time frame necessary to bring the event together.

An official communique from the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce to the Laughlin Nevada Times, the chamber said, “The promoter of 37 years has not been in communication with the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce, Laughlin Tourism Commission or Laughlin resort properties.


Additionally, the Laughlin River Run and Dal-Con Promotions websites have gone dark. Without promoter communication, the Laughlin River Run has been removed from our event calendar.”

The Edgewater and Colorado Belle resort casinos posted dates and even room specials for this year’s 2020 River Run during last years outing, suggesting the dates for the 2020 event would be April 23-25.

Multiple calls to Dal-Con and a major sponsor of the event — Law Tigers, a motorcycle specific law firm — have yielded no solid answers.


When the possibility of no run in 2020 was posted to a Laughlin social media site, several people responded passed along information that they had heard the event had been canceled. Some blamed the resort properties, others blamed the promoter.

Several people who contacted the Laughlin Nevada Times and the Mohave Valley Daily News to inquire about the event’s immediate future said they weren’t surprised that it unceremoniously had come to an end.


“It’s been going downhill for some time,” said one caller from California, who added he had added at least 10 previous River Runs. “It used to be a big deal.”

There has been consistent decline in numbers for the event that routinely drew more than 20,000 motorcycle enthusiasts with an estimated 70,000 participating in it in 2005, earning it the title of the largest motorcycle gathering west of the Rocky Mountains.


The decline has been attributed to a number of factors: the novelty has worn off; competing events at the same time frame; economic issues — especially during the Great Recession of the late 2000's to early 2010's; police presence and other policies that some said they felt stifled the event; and an absence of new attractions.

The River Run historically has been a big economic boon for not only Laughlin and the resort properties but also to Bullhead City, Oatman, Kingman, Lake Havasu City and surrounding communities. It also has been used as a springboard for several charity poker runs and for other events geared toward motorcycle enthusiasts and their families.


As for the long-term future of the event, no one seems to know — or at least isn’t saying — if the River Run can be resurrected or reimaged.

For now it’s wait and see

Given the longevity of the event, it is entirely possible that bikers may show up anyway simply based on habit. “It’s April so it’s time to go to Laughlin.”

For the moment, however, it seems that the original, organized, and titled Laughlin River Run will not be held this year.

UPDATE 1/17/2020

After this story broke, they updated their website, it may be a go.

 Screenshot of website as of 1/17/2020

SOURCE: MoHaveDailyNews

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Member of C.C. Riders: ‘These guys are my brothers'

Madison, Wisconsin, USA (January 15, 2020) BSB — Stephen Lanz Lavasseur says not a lot has changed since the Capital City Riders were founded in Madison in 1968.

Lavasseur, a 69-year-old retired truck driver who goes by the nickname Lava, is one of just five remaining active original members of the C.C. Riders motorcycle club. He describes the Riders not as an “outlaw club” but rather a group united around a common interest.

“It was just a bunch of guys who wanted to go riding,” Lavasseur said of the club’s beginnings on Madison’s east side in the late 1960's. “We just have a good time. It really hasn’t changed too much.”

Mouse, another one of the last original members, plays pool in the clubhouse. (Lawrence Andrea)

Despite the aging group of original members — they range anywhere from 68 to 75-years-old — there are about 60 current members, some in their mid-20's and early 30's. The club has had more than 250 members in its 52 years in Madison, according to Lavasseur, who added that younger guys tend to “come and go.”

Most of the members ride Harley Davidson motorcycles, though there are guys with BMW and Yamaha bikes. Lavasseur still rides the same 1967 Harley that he bought in 1969. A few of the other Riders own a motorcycle shop — “They keep my bike on the road,” he said.

Lavasseur described the club members as working class people, adding that “most of our guys are your nine-to-five laborers.” There are truck drivers, mechanics and small business owners.

Stephen Lanz Lavasseur, known in the club as Lava, is one of just five remaining active original members of the C.C. Riders. (Lawrence Andrea)

New Riders tend to either be family of past members or people the club meets at events or on rides. Only men can join the club, though many of the guys have wives and girlfriends who hang around.

One of the newer members — he goes by Dutch — joined the Riders about six years ago, shortly after coming to Madison from Arizona. After making an offhand comment about a Harley at a motorcycle show to someone who turned out to be a Rider, he was invited to the clubhouse to meet the members. He was a prospect — someone intending to join the club — for six months before he was accepted as a full member. He’s been a Rider ever since.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Dutch said. “These guys are my brothers.”

The beginnings

The C.C. Riders started as a motorcycle shop on the corner of Atwood Avenue and Division Street on the east side. Identical twins Robert and Richard Smith owned Smith Cycle Service, which served as a “hub” for the early Riders.

“We took a lot of young men off the street and let them work for us,” said Richard Smith, now 77 and living in northern Wisconsin. “They would start working at the bottom of the totem pole and maybe end up getting a bike. It was glamorous for a young man.”

The club officially formed in 1968 and eventually moved to the corner of South Paterson and Williamson streets, behind what is now The Wisco bar. The Riders organized weekly Sunday rides and tended to hang out at the Anchor Inn on Atwood Avenue, which has since closed. Otherwise, they called Williamson Street their home.

“(They were) pretty much at the clubhouse,” said Sharon Kilfoy, director of the Williamson Street Art Center and neighborhood historian who has lived in the area since 1970.

Kilfoy said it was not uncommon to see motorcycles lining South Paterson Street. But she stressed that it was not an “over-the-top” or obnoxious presence.

In fact, she said the neighborhood felt protected by the Riders. Kilfoy used to work at the old emergency child care Respite Center on Williamson Street near the Riders’ clubhouse. She said the workers knew they could go to the Riders if they ever needed help.

“I certainly didn’t feel as if their presence in any way made me fearful,” Kilfoy said. “They were seen more as community allies, community advocates, community protectors. It seems like that was the prevailing sentiment.”

Former alderwoman and longtime Williamson Street resident Judy Olson agreed. Olson said the Riders’ presence made the Marquette Neighborhood “perhaps a little more secure.”

She noted a time in which a driver side-swiped a parked car and continued to drive. A Rider attempted to chase the driver down and then informed the owner of the damaged car of what happened. Another time, Olson lost her cat. A Rider helped her find it.

“They looked out for the people they considered to be their neighbors,” she said.

In the community

Richard Smith was known as an eccentric character and a community activist in the neighborhood. According to Smith’s friends, it was just as likely you’d find him wearing a ballet tutu at the Willy Street Fair — an event he helped start — as his Rider colors.

Kilfoy described him as a good neighbor with a “real commanding presence.” At one point in the late 1970's, Taco John’s started to put up a restaurant on the corner of Williamson and South Brearly streets. After consistent vandalism, the chain left the area. Smith bought the land, planted trees and donated it to the neighborhood. It is now the Willy Street Park.

The Riders clubhouse has a 40-foot bar made from a piece of an old bowling alley on East Washington Avenue where members used to bowl.(Lawrence Andrea)

Smith is perhaps most well-known for his organization of Madison’s helmet law protests in the late 1970's. Smith and the Riders led bikers from across the state in a number of protests around the Capitol. Some residents estimated there were at one point 60,000 motorcyclists who participated. A Madison Press Connection article from 1977 claimed one such demonstration from the same year included 35,000 motorcycles.

“We organized a hell of a lot of people,” Smith said of the protests. He explained that whenever legislation he was interested in had a public hearing, he and the Riders would show up in force. “I knew how to change laws.”

Wisconsin eventually repealed its universal helmet law for motorcyclists in 1978. Now, only people under the age of 18 and those with an instructional permit are required to wear helmets.

But not everything for the C.C. Riders was community activism and searching for lost cats.

In the early 1980s, members of the Washington-based Ghost Riders motorcycle club came to town. The Ghost Riders, an outlaw club and one of the few “one-percenter” clubs who live outside the law and tend to be associated with drug dealing and gun running, sought to establish a chapter in Madison.

The majority of members ride Harley Davidson motorcycles. Some of the club members repair and restore bikes in a garage near their clubhouse. (Lawrence Andrea)

In 1985, the national president of the Ghost Riders and two other club members were convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a 1983 incident in which they killed a woman when they burned down a tavern just five miles southeast of Madison.

Williamson Street community members attributed the Ghost Riders’ disappearance from the area both to the fire and the efforts of the C.C. Riders.

Lavasseur acknowledged the Ghost Riders’ presence at the time but declined to comment on their interactions with the club.

“They thought they’d start up a club around here, and it didn’t work too well,” Lavasseur said. “We just stood up for ourselves. When you stand up for yourself, you don’t usually have a problem.”

There was another incident in the mid-1990s involving the motorcycle club the Hells Angels. A disgruntled former C.C. Rider-turned-Hells Angel crashed a Rider clubhouse party and pulled out a knife. A Rider took the knife away, stabbing the Hells Angel in the process.

“(The Angel) thought he was a tough guy, and he went against a bigger tough guy who showed him what was right,” Lavasseur recalled. “If you pull out a knife, you better be able to do something about it.”

The riders and the law

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said there has been an increased presence of one-percenter motorcycle clubs in the area over the last 20 years. He noted multiple times in which clubs like The Outlaws and the Hells Angels tried to set up clubhouses in Dane County and force the C.C. Riders out.

“I’d like nothing better than for everybody to get along, but that is not historically what occurs when these clubs move in,” Mahoney said. “We’re mindful of their presence and watch for them to see what they’re up to.”

Mahoney said much of this awareness comes from communication with the Riders. He stressed that their interactions are not like that of an informant but rather an effort to keep dangerous groups out of the area.

“(The Riders) are in the motorcycle culture more than I am, and (I need) to be aware of what’s occurring,” Mahoney said. “It’s wondering what they are hearing and seeing in relation to what we are seeing and hearing.”

Mahoney also noted instances in the 1980s when Riders helped police at various festivals or city-wide events. He said there were times when club members either helped deputies break up fights or broke them up themselves so law enforcement didn’t get involved.

“I think they are a benefit to our community,” he said. “They have been seen as the kind of eyes and ears of the communities in which they have had clubhouses.”

Despite the generally amiable relationship, the Riders have had their own run-ins with the law.

Mahoney referenced an unresolved shooting about 20 years ago in which some of the Riders were suspects. He said the incident “caused a strife in some of the relationships” but added that that is normal when an organization is being looked into by law enforcement.

He also mentioned incidences of drug dealing involving Riders. He called these problems anomalies and noted that some of these individuals were kicked out of the club by Rider leadership.

“I’d be very suspect if that was ever condoned by the organization,” Mahoney said of drug dealing. “For the most part, the majority of their members I think are productive community members. I don’t consider them a criminal element whatsoever.”

A transition

After the Smith brothers moved out of town in the late 1970s, a new Rider took over.

Bill “Tiny” Alexander is described by Riders and community members as “larger-than-life.” He was a two-time Rider president, a graduate of Madison Area Technical College’s culinary program and was known for telling it how it was.

“He always had you laughing, and when he walked in the room, he was a presence,” Lavasseur said of Tiny, who was bigger than most other men. “He was it. He was always helping people, always doing things — just a remarkable person.”

Tiny eventually bought The Wisco bar in 1989. After getting married and having his first child in 1990, he started to focus more of his time on family. In the mid-1990s, after a few drunken incidents involving club members, Tiny told the Riders they had to move out of the area.

“(The Riders’) presence here was not enough to support the bar, but their presence was enough to make other people afraid to come in,” said Holly Alexander, Tiny’s wife and the current owner of The Wisco. “There came a point where he felt that he was not going to be successful with them in his backyard.”

Despite Tiny’s separation from the club, the Riders didn’t forget about him or his family when he died of a heart attack in April 2015.

“He wasn’t gone 24 hours and the president at the time was on the phone with me saying: ‘What do you need? What can we do?’” said Alexander, who opened Tiny’s Tap House in the old Rider clubhouse next to The Wisco in April 2019.

Lavasseur called getting pushed out of Williamson Street “probably the best thing to happen to us.” It made the club come together and build a new, larger clubhouse farther out on Madison’s east side in 1996. The members built it entirely on their own.

“We had everyone but a plumber,” Lavasseur said.

The Riders are still based in that clubhouse. It has a 40-foot bar made from a piece of an old bowling alley on East Washington Avenue where members used to bowl, two pool tables and a patio that can fit nearly 200 people.

In 2018, for the club’s 50th anniversary, the Riders paid off the clubhouse and burned the mortgage papers.

Looking forward

Just as the early Riders united around the common theme of riding and drinking, the original members gather to talk and drink at the clubhouse every Thursday. They also have meetings three times a month to discuss future parties and charity work.

The Riders hold about three charity events a year. The club is involved with Make-A-Wish Wisconsin and raises about $5,000 a year to send a child diagnosed with a critical illness on the trip of their choosing. They’ve raised more than $70,000 for Make-A-Wish and have funded more than nine trips. This past August, the group raised money to send a boy to California to learn about vikings.

They also hold a comedy night once a year. Proceeds from the event go to support Second Harvest Foodbank.

As the original Riders get older, they prepare the next generation of Riders to take over by teaching them about the past. “We’re real big on history,” Lavasseur said, noting that the club begins every meeting by reading the names of deceased Riders.


Many of the members have patches on their cuts — what bikers call their leather vests — recognizing deceased Riders. The clubhouse is full of photographs and memorials to past members. Just outside the clubhouse is a chained-off area with the names of deceased Riders etched into brick. Some have their ashes under those bricks.

The Capital City Riders have been in Madison for 52 years. They plan to be here for at least 52 more.

“As the older guys fade away, the new guys will be the ones taking over,” Lavasseur said. “Things do change, but some things stay the same.”

STORY BY: Lawrence Andrea
SOURCE: The Cap Times

Friday, January 10, 2020

Chicago police aim to stop reckless stunt riders

Chicago, Illinois, USA (January 10, 2019) BSB — Responding to growing complaints about packs of reckless motorcycle riders, Chicago police told aldermen they taking a more proactive approach to reining in swarms of bikers who speed down streets and expressways, performing dangerous stunts that put themselves and others at risk.

Stunt rider motorcycle groups have become more popular in recent years, Chicago Police Cmdr. Sean Loughran, who heads the department’s Special Functions Division, said at a City Council Public Safety Committee meeting on the problem.


Office of Emergency Management and Communications executive director Rich Guidice said there were approximately 1,100 calls to 911 last year complaining about dangerous motorcycle groups.

Rather than trying to stop the groups after they’ve started speeding through the city, police said they plan to keep track of the groups on social media, in an effort to stop large stunt rides before they start.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams has previously reported the stunt biker groups, which frequently post social media videos of themselves popping wheelies, speeding down sidewalks, and blowing through red lights and stop signs, sometimes coming within inches of hitting pedestrians crossing the street.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), who called on the Chicago Police Department and OEMC to detail their plans to address the dangerous motorcycle groups, said they often ride in groups of 200 to 300 people, speeding down expressways, Lake Shore Drive, and even side streets, ignoring all traffic laws, and putting other motorists and pedestrians in danger.

Loughran said part of the challenge in cracking down on the groups is that chasing them isn’t worth the risk, because it would only put more lives in danger, and actually give the stunt riders what they want – a chance at making a viral video of a police chase.

“These individuals, the worst bad actors, they’re not stopping. In fact, they want you to chase them,” he said. “Many of the riders actively intend to goad law enforcement, on camera, into chases during these drag races, which only heightens the potential danger.”

Police said they plan to focus on using social media to find out when the groups are planning a ride event, and either putting a stop to dangerous motorcycle rallies before they start, or using helicopters to track the groups until they stop, and then handing out tickets, or making arrests if necessary.

“The key to this is when they’re at the rallying points, and swarming with a task force approach,” Loughran said. “We want to flood that area, and get them off their bikes while they’re revving their bikes.”

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who said the stunt riders are a frequent problem on Lower Wacker Drive, said police should also rely on a new ordinance the City Council passed last summer, increasing the penalties for street racing. Racing drivers now face fines of $5,000 to $10,000 for each offense. “Lean on that section of the code. Write those violations, because I’ll tell you, a $5,000 ticket, that gets some attention real quick,” Reilly said.

Loughran said police also can sometimes seize a rider’s motorcycle, if they’re arrested for committing a misdemeanor or felony, or if they don’t have the proper license or registration. “A lot of the motorcycle riders will intentionally never have license plates affixed on their vehicle, or will bend the plates up, or will remove them when going on these rides,” he said.


Police said riders also often outfit their bikes with illegally modified exhaust systems, or simply remove their mufflers, to create more noise. Those violations carry a $500 fine per day.

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) introduced an ordinance last year that would have required the city to install six noise monitors along Lake Shore Drive to help document the extent of the problem of noisy motorcycle groups.

However, Hopkins said the city already is authorized to install those monitors under a 2017 state law, and he said the mayor’s office has agreed to install them along Lake Shore Drive this year.

The alderman said the data from the noise monitors not only will help police investigating the motorcycle groups, but provide the City Council with data to determine if any laws need to be changed to improve enforcement.

SOURCE: Chicago Sun Times