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Thursday, July 9, 2015

NEVEDA - Special Report: Las Vegas bikers battle a bum rap

BY: Antonio Castelan

Nevada -
(video @ original article)
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) –We hear them rev their engines and see them drive in packs.
"Bikers," are all around us on our valley roads.
They are a part of an inner circle few get to know. They reject the stereotype that they're criminals to be feared. Terms such as "outlaws" and "gangs" are offensive to most of them. In reality, they say the biker world is all about brotherhood.
There are the Bandidos, Regulators, The Vegas Flare, Crazy 88's and High Rollers. These are just some of the Las Vegas Motor Clubs cruising our valley roads.
"It's exciting. It's exhilarating. It's a lot better than being in a car," says Big Red, a member of the Las Vegas Regulators.
"Aw! It's a beautiful thing. It's all about a brotherhood and a camaraderie," he says.
The togetherness brings a wealth of characters.
"As Marines we are always a part of our country and our community," says Ghost, the president of the Marine Riders Las Vegas Chapter.
"I'm a biker...but I'm also a business owner. I'm also a retired individual. I'm also 100-percent disabled. I hate being classified as a biker," he adds.
Then there are outlaw motorcycle clubs – these are clubs that make their own rules, don't conform to mainstream culture and are not sanctioned by the American Motorcyclists Association.
Like the Pissed Off Bastards of Berdoo. "Gator" is his name-- at six-five and over 300-pounds he's the ambassador for his club. "Bikers get a bad rap because we look scary with our tattoos," says Gator.
"Ghost" is set on shedding the negative stereotypes the public has linked to motorcycle clubs.
"Because I ride a motorcycle and long beard and I have tattoos it doesn't make me less of a community," he says.
Earlier this year in Texas, a biker fight turned deadly outside a restaurant leaving nine dead. "Ghost" believes this does not represent what motor clubs are all about. "In every one of those organizations you could potentially have a bad egg--and that bad egg doesn't represent what that organization is about," he says.
Stephen Stubbs is a biker enthusiast.
"People are scared what they don't know," he says.
Stubbs feels motorcycle clubs are misunderstood. "Motorcycle clubs are not gangs. You compare a street gang with a motorcycle club they are so vastly different."
While many bikers may prefer the term club member, under law enforcement's watchful eye, many are seen as simply gangs.
Charles Falco, a law enforcement consultant and former DEA agent who wanted to keep his cover, spent five years infiltrating the Vagos, Mongrels and Outlaws motorcycle groups and urges caution.
"They're very sophisticated. They're structured like the military, a lot of members are ex-military so they're highly trained for combat," says Falco.
Duane Chapman, also known as dog the bounty hunter, was once a member of the motorcycle club the Devil's Disciples.
"A lot of these guys are very intelligent and they were trained by the military. These are brothers with different mothers. This is like blood. They are thick," says Dog the Bounty Hunter.
"Lucy Loo" with the Las Vegas Red Riders does not know where she'd be if it wasn't for her involvement in a bike club. The real estate administrative assistant wishes people got to know bikers first hand.
"We are good people. It's about charity. It's about supporting people," says Loo.
And big bucks, the bikers we talked to claim they are big gifters, raising cash and donating their time to fundraising for various community causes. A Bandidos attorney confirms the generosity.
"They do provide help for people that need help and you know the government can try to attribute some sort of sinister version in order to make these guys look bad saying they're trying to look good," says Kent Schaefer.
Back in Las Vegas, "Chewwy" as everyone knows him with the Marine Riders stresses all he rides with our good people.
"Really these are some of the best -- but whole hearted guys and woman that you could ever imagine," says Chewwy.
Beyond the beards and tattoos there's a lesson to be learned.
"It's the old adage don't judge a book by it's cover."