Skip to comments.Biker gang violence reappears at South Dakota motorcycle rally
Posted on 08/12/2006 4:17:00 AM PDT by SLB
STURGIS, S.D. (AP) -- Biker gangs have made the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally a violence-marred affair in the past.
The rally, which draws about half a million people each August to the Black Hills in western South Dakota, has since gotten older, laid-back and more diverse.
But this year, gunshots about 75 miles away reminded attendees about the gangs. Authorities said two men affiliated with the Hells Angels shot and wounded five Outlaws Motorcycle Club members in Custer State Park earlier this week.
Suzanne Church, who has ministered to biker gang members at Sturgis since 1997, said she hopes there's no more violence.
"We hate to see people die and go to hell," she said.
The rally attracts bikers of all walks of life, who ride throughout the Black Hills, a patch of forest and valleys 100 miles long and 50 miles wide on South Dakota's western edge. Sturgis, a town of about 7,000, is on the northern edge of the Hills, while Custer State Park is in the south.
Some Hells Angels members own land near Sturgis, so the gang has a presence at every rally, said Jim Bush, Sturgis police chief. Law enforcement officers knew that hundreds of Outlaws members planned to gather at a rented southern Hills campground, Bush said.
The Outlaws are one of the nation's four largest motorcycle gangs, along with the Hells Angels, Pagans and Bandidos. The Outlaws have chapters in 20 states, Europe, Canada and Australia.
A posting on its Web site said law enforcement agencies were informed of the group's plans to attend Sturgis.
It said: "We are not going there to makes any type of statement, or display of power. We are simply going there to enjoy the Sturgis venue, see the historical sights and spend time with our Brothers."
Authorities have their own term for the gangs.
"We classify these organizations as crime syndicates," said Bernard Zapor, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives field office in St. Paul, Minn.
The last major violence involving motorcycle gangs during the Sturgis rally was in 1990, when a Sons of Silence member shot an Outlaws gang member during a bar brawl in which two other Sons of Silence members were stabbed.
"They have not changed," Bush said of the major gangs. "They're as organized and involved in crime as they ever have been."
It was one of only a few major rally-related incidents of violence, Bush said. The only other gang arrests have been three or four members picked up for unrelated crime, he said.
"They usually get along pretty good," Bush said.
In Tuesday's shooting, Chad John Wilson, 30, of Lynnwood, Wash., and John James Midmore, 32, of Valparaiso, Ind., face five counts of attempted first-degree murder. A judge set bond Thursday at $5 million each.
One victim was still in critical condition at Rapid City Regional Hospital on Thursday. Another was in stable condition at a Sioux Falls hospital, said Sara Rabern of the South Dakota Attorney General's office.
On Main Street in Sturgis, a few people wearing Hells Angels vests and T-shirts were spotted at the 66th annual rally, which ends Sunday.
The gang runs a vendor table that sells club pins, T-shirts, bumper stickers and other items. None of three men staffing the table wanted to discuss the shooting. A worker at a tattoo shop down the street that the gang runs also refused comment.
Jim Vlahakis, state Division of Criminal Investigation director, said more than 300 Outlaws members representing 119 different chapters have been seen in the area, along with 80 to 100 Hells Angels members.
Vlahakis said authorities plan to meet with the two gangs to "try to head off any potential problems" but had not done so as of Thursday.
Officers were prepared to respond to gang violence, Bush said, adding that eventual retaliation is likely.
"It may not happen here," Bush said. "It could happen a month from now" somewhere else.
On the Net:
Hells Angels: http://www.hells-angels.com/
I will be relieved when the Hell's Angels and The Outlaws do each other in. Or get religion.
They're big puffs. Riding around on a bike that's about to fall apart, drinking beer all day long, smoking what ever dope they can buy and banging an ugly, dirty woman 24/7....
Well, they are Hell's Angels.
Does this still count as "at the Sturgis rally"?
They are not puffs, you must not know squat.
As someone that belongs to a group that has to deal with this biker thing.
I would prefer that Airborne Rangers take over the biker world.
75 mi. does seem a bit far away.
Violence at Stergis? Perish the thought.
You are lucky to be that close to Sturgis when this rally is going on. You cannot find a hotel within 400 miles unless you have a reservation WAY in advance.
I had to learn that lesson the hard way one year.
Filling up all hotels in a 400 mile radius, that's got to be a lot of bikers.
****You are lucky to be that close to Sturgis when this rally is going on. You cannot find a hotel within 400 miles unless you have a reservation WAY in advance. ***
And you better be willing to pay twice the every day rates too. They sock it to the motorcyclists during these rally's. I think Daytona is the worst.
Or few hotels.
Nah, the areal hotel density is pretty low in that part of the country. ^_^
I know that it is not PC to ponder this, but do you think that if the muzzies ever try to take over in America, the Hells Angels will agree to wear sheets and towels on their heads? Do you think that they will have problems with their sheets getting caught in the chain drives or spokes?
Why of course, almost nobody wants to visit Mt. Rushmore.
Doing thier iron-best to destroy the sport of motorcycling for all others.
Good to know that Freep keeps tabs on aging drunken, overwieght never-has beens on their annual rally to nowhere. The current list of outstanding wants ,warrents,parole and probation violations must make for some juicy reading.
Life is good.
They do help sell more harlies.
--I have more respect for the biker gangs than I do for the most prevalent criminal conspiracy in this country--the "traitor" wing of the Democrats.
The Angels, Outlaws, etc., don't spread treason and don't purchase politicians or elections--
---and I agree, I doubt that they'll put the burka on the bitches--
Sturgis ralley brings in 1/2 million people in less than a week. Mt. Rushmore takes a couple of months in the summer to bring in that many people.
If they want to fight & be tough, send them all over here.
There's plenty of work for them.
I hope the outlaw bikers beat up the wannabe Harley-riding lawyers.
Hmmmmm....some might call that; 'retirement!'
If you brought the Hells Angels and their ilk over to Iraq I daresay it would put a major dent in the insurgency, but you can imagine the outcry from the Donk party at the carnage.
In South Dakota?? 75 miles is right next door!!!
It fills up everything from Cody, Wyoming to Chamberlain, SD and an equivalent space north to south--if a resident doesn't like it they can lease out their house (commonly for enough to pay most of the years insurance and taxes) and leave--
You know very well, this biker thing exists.
When you get back over here, fix it.
By the way, we are talking specifically about the Angels.
(and or Bandidos)
"As someone that belongs to a group that has to deal with this biker thing.
I would prefer that Airborne Rangers take over the biker world."
I second that. As someone else who deals with them on a fairly regular basis on a business level, I'd like to see the poster who called HA "Big Puffs" say it to their face.
"I second that. As someone else who deals with them on a fairly regular basis on a business level, I'd like to see the poster who called HA "Big Puffs" say it to their face."
You pretty much said it all.
We have two major clubs on the Mississippi Coast, and they are very low profile. They put on several yearly events to raise money, all going to charity related support.
Doug Dreyer, AP A group of bikers surveys the scene of a biker-gang-related shooting Wednesday morning outside the Legion Lake Resort near Custer, S.D. Two men have been arrested and charged with five counts each of attempted murder for a Tuesday afternoon gunfight in Custer State Park that seriously injured six people affiliated with the Outlaws motorcycle gang.
Many years ago, 35+, I was working in a small gas station/garage to make beer money while attending Casper College. There were some Outlaw "wannabes" in Casper at that time, and one of them was in a class with me. We struck up a friendship, as much as he would allow. He asked if he and some of the other "Outlaws" could use the bays at the station to work on their bikes at night. I told him it was fine with me. On more than one occasion I would have an uneasy feeling about a customer late at night, only to have one of the bikers just wonder in from the service bays and ask how things were going. Better than a Pit Bull.
Mr. Joe Citizen arrives at the Pearly Gates and is advised by St. Peter that Heaven is temporarily closed because of over crowding caused by all the strife on earth. Only people who have displayed extraordinary heroism can be accommodated at this time. Does he qualify?
Joe tells St. Peter that once he came upon a biker harassing a sweet little old lady and went to her defense. "I got right in his face and told him to stop immediately, then spit in his eye, kicked over his bike, and insulted his woman", said Joe.
"Hmm", said St. Peter, looking through the records, "I don't seem to see this in the book". "How long ago did this happen?"
"About thirty seconds", replied Joe
Outlaws and Hells Angels don't mix well.I read a very good book several years ago re:the "big four":Outlaws,HA's,Banditos,and Pagans.These folks are bad news.Basicaly career criminals who live to ride and usually die young aka "one percenters".Note:I can't remember the title but know it wasn't Hunter S Thompsons book.
But this year, gunshots about 75 miles away reminded attendees about the gangs.
You obviously observe from afar.
Some ride rat bikes, but most keep their rides in tip-top shape. Some drink and smoke to excess, while some maintain sobriety above the regular Joe down the street. Some bang ugly, dirty women, while some maintain monogamous marriages.
One thing that is 100% though. You would not call any Biker a "puff" to his face.
Disclaimer: I am not a biker, but I have spent some time amongst some 1%ers in my youthful years.
Harley riders shooting each other!!! What is this world coming to??? LOL
Well I guess you're keeping tabs too..you posted here.
But you know as well as anyone that most bikers today are just fun loving people who want to show off a little and have some fun checking each other out.
Very few of them are "outlaws"
I'd like to to Sturgis, just once. Just to say I did.
I don't wear anything that could even be loosely construed as gang colors, and don't hang around anyone who does, so my only concern would be getting caught in the crossfire.
We have Banditos out here and I stay the heck away from them.
Hey..don't forget The Branded Few! They're a bunch of bad-a** MOFO's..sorta..well..never mind... Whatever you do, don't follow them down the freeway...dodging all the falling Harley parts...
The Hells Angels were founded in 1948 by WW11 vets.
I would venture to guess that they would fight to the death (of Islam) along with millions of other Patriotic Americans.
The guys that started the Club fought in World War Two.
Many of the current members are Vets.
I would imagine if the younger members were sent over en mass they would be an asset in the WOT.
Maybe the Angels freedom isn't the same as your freedom or mine, but they, in their own way, support America.
This may sound strange, but you might call them the ultimate conservative. They don't depend on anyone else and protect their own.
Paging Mr. Fierro
This surprises me, since most Bikers are older than Moses and need walkers and depends.
Every time I see one of these pukes with long gray hair, "Hell's Angels" gear and tatoos, walking in a walker it takes every ounce of control I have to not go over and take their walker away and laugh while they are on the ground. Back when, they took advantage or and tortured those who were less powerful. I wonder how they would like being on the receiving side.
What's he gonna do? Throw his dentures at me? Fling the stuff in his Depends at me?
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