I was looking through your guestbook the other day and couldnt believe all the resentment towards getting permission from the dominate club and I cant understand why someone would want to shit where they eat. For the MC I ride with, taking that step was the start of a great friendship with the 1% club here and set the tone for every prospect to come. That being said I took a few minutes to write that up leaving out any names of individuals or clubs and running it passed my brothers. I hope people will quit seeing it as something you have to do because someone said so and start seeing it as the right thing to do whether someone says it or not. Hopefully this will help.


Why You Should Talk To The Dominant Club First

Our area has the usual blend of MCs, RCs, MMs and such but we saw a place at the table for us and our ideas. In our case it also helped a bit that some of our guys had family in the dominant club of our area though we knew that it would earn us no favoritism. We sketched out an idea for a patch we would be proud to fly. We researched and wrote bylaws. When we thought we had our shit together, we gave the dominate club a call and told them we were kicking around starting an MC. Without hesitation he told us to drop by and bring whatever we had.

We showed up and were invited in. They told us where to sit and offered us a drink while we waited. A few minutes later, a very built, pissed off looking patch holder told us to make sure our phones were outside and get rid of any weapons. After a time, we were invited to an out-of-the-way room with four patch holders. They started by asking us why we wanted to start a club. Being new and somewhat naïve we told them simply that we’re just a group of guys who ride the piss out of what we own, wrench on what we own, that a brotherhood was born from this and we want to formalize it as a club. Then came the “why would you want to re-invent the wheel?” argument. Some of the founders of that club are still alive and active and didn’t take kindly to new clubs. They thought we’re “trying to be airborne without going to jump school”. In our neck of the woods, these guys started the biker culture and carved it out by years and years of work and here we are saying we don’t want to be part of the club they created. We made our case for how we are different than them and different from the existing clubs. That to be in the other clubs you have to ride a certain kind of bike, go to a church or be recovering from drugs and/or alcohol; that these clubs had very specific membership requirements that we as a group could not meet. We thought there was room in our area for a club that is just about riding, wrenching and the brotherhood that produces. We made the argument that we wouldn’t be limiting them for new members and that any of our guys who want to prospect for them would be encouraged to do so.

Then they asked to take a look at our patch design. We had originally come up with a single patch design that mimicked a three piece using ribbon banners (think pirate scrolls) instead of typical rockers knowing full well they probably weren’t going to go for it. We were right and they suggested what we could do instead. They explained some other elements that “might be seen as ripping off someone else’s design” and explained what might happen if one of these other clubs had a problem with it. So as far as our patch design, we had to go back to the drawing board and we were to come back with a new design. The scary guy (who not surprisingly turns out to be their Sergeant At Arms) graphically informed us of what would happen if we fly a patch they haven’t approved so of course we assured them all that was not going to happen.

Then they asked to take a look at our bylaws. Here they were extremely helpful suggesting we get rid of certain parts for certain reasons and suggested some changes based on their experience and what works for them. Then came the discussion of club colors. You don’t have to research long to find that most basic color combinations are taken so it’s pretty hard to nail one. Other clubs in the area are allowed to use one color from the dominate club but we wanted our own. A patch holder made a suggestion of a color combination not typically used and we took it knowing there was a reason that particular pairing was available. We figured the elements of our patch could probably dispel any confusion about our colors and who we are.

After what seemed like forever of sketching out new ideas for the patch and endless discussion over bylaws, we went back to the dominate club to show them what we had. They asked us a few questions of why we chose the elements we did and what they mean to us. They looked over our bylaws again and told us to have a proof patch made and to show up with it in hand on a certain day for them to vote on it. We did as instructed. We were told we could drop it off and they would call to let us know how it turned out or we could wait. There was no way in hell we were going to leave without knowing so we stood outside in the mid 20 degree weather with the prospects and hang-arounds waiting to be told to come in. Three and a half hours later we were invited back in and told we were approved. The club accepted us in, shook our hands and congratulated us. If there was any dissent within their membership it wasn’t obvious and to this day, no member of that club has ever eluded to it. It was the beginning of a respectful relationship. They treat us good, we treat them better and we have never given them a reason to treat us worse. They’ve been nothing but helpful to us so we treat them with nothing but respect while still knowing never to confuse their kindness with weakness.

This is by no means an outline of what you can expect should you choose pursue a patch for your club. Different clubs will have different philosophies about new clubs. Your area may already have an over abundance of smaller clubs so adding more makes attracting new members for the established clubs harder. How you conduct yourselves will undoubtedly have an impact on your outcome.

I took time to write about this because I see a lot of resentment from new clubs and wannbes towards the idea of getting permission from your local dominate club. This attitude of “Who are they to tell us what we can or can’t do” seems pretty prominent. As you can see from our experience, what we thought was getting permission turned into a world of help that we needed. The bottom line for us is that they are the dominate club for a reason. They’ve been around longer than I’ve been alive. They know what’s going on in the patch holder world. We didn’t and we knew it so rather than pretend we’re something we’re not, we owned our ignorance.

You’ve heard the expression “It takes money to make money”. Well the same goes for respect, you have to show a little to get a little. We could have waved the Constitution and stood on American personal freedom like spoiled children, stamping our feet screaming “You’re not the boss of me” but we didn’t. We could have thrown that original patch design on our backs and dared someone to do something about it and hope the cops get our backs if someone did, but we didn’t. We didn’t want our first action as a club to be making enemies. Call us old fashioned but we respected our elders and being the men of integrity they are, they respected us right back. Why wouldn’t you want that for your club? Are you really so hellbent on having your way that you’re willing to shit where you eat? If you are then don’t expect a whole lot from the clubs that have paid their dues and shown the respect.

I sent this anonymously because the messenger is not as important as the message.

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