Motorcycle Club Etiquette 101 – "Freeloading at MC Annuals"
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Motorcycle Club Etiquette 101 “Freeloading at MC Annuals”
It happens all too often among MC’s and flies against all MC etiquette. I call it the “Annual Freeloader Syndrome” and I call upon club presidents to stem this rising tide as you see it happening among your members…
Some Simple Background Info:
In the old days when clubs practiced discipline (not like now-a-days) there was a simple protocol that MCs followed. “You attend our annual celebration and support our club and we will attend yours and support your club!” Can’t get any simpler than that right? And all kinds of traditions were developed to encourage this participation, such as trophy counts, for instance-where the hosting club would give away trophies to participating clubs for things like: most members attended, longest distance rider, longest distance club, most attended female club, most attended social clubs, etc.-you understand where I am going here. The intent was to attract as many MCs as possible so that a club could make money and the trophies were symbols of honor that clubs could use to show that they supported other MCs by winning these trophies. Because an annual is one of a MCs biggest booster events it is vitally important that the annual is a success. An annual is held once per year (usually on the anniversary of a club’s founding) to help make money for the MC so it can continue to run for that year and most MCs invest heavily in their annuals. They cater food, hire DJs, rent party halls, rent out space at larger MCs, some bring in entertainment, offer camping facilities and the list goes on and on.
Enter the Annual Freeloader:
So it really sucks when the annual “freeloader” shows up and commits the ultimate sin. The annual freeloader usually pulls their bike up somewhere in front of the event or near the event and just sits outside on their bike and does not buy a ticket! Boooooo! And you see these freeloaders all of the time sitting out in front of the party chopping it up with everyone, slapping folks on the back, embracing and hugging all the “fam” they know… hell, they even become the life of the outside party-only thing is THEY NEVER MAKE IT INSIDE OF THE PARTY and purchase a TICKET!!!!! Unfortunately you typically see these freeloading idiots by the dozens, camped out in front of MC Annuals hamming it up with all who pass by. After they have had their fun and partied with everyone they know on the set, they gather up a pack of individuals who were spending money at the annual event and whisk them off to another MC or biker bar to buy drinks there for the rest of the night! You can hear the freeloaders say, “Hey, this party is boring, let us all ride over to XXXX place and party with them. You know they are doing something tonight as well!” And off they ride with folks who were buying and patronizing the hosting club’s annual. I get angry when I see these freeloaders sitting in front of the annual event without any wristbands. I always ask them, “Why the hell would you show your a** up to someone’s annual and park it on your bike without going in to purchase a wristband and support your fellow club?” And MC Presidents you should ask this very question when you see your club members violating MC etiquette.
How to Fix this Troubling Trend:
Presidents! Do not allow your members to freeload at MC annuals. The annual is important to the life blood of an MC. It is the oldest tradition among MCs and if you are starting or running an MC you should respect the traditions and norms that have made MCs successful throughout time.
1. Inform your members of the importance of supporting fellow MCs
2. Tell your members if they are broke and cannot afford the price of admission do not go to the annual! The annual was designed to make the hosting club money, not to provide a personal parade for your club member who wants to freeload at the scene and say hello to everyone.
3. Ensure that all of your members purchase a ticket and get a wrist band once they get to the event. Some clubs just take up all of the money from their members and present the funds to the president when they get there. That is the cool way to do it with the most impact.
4. Instruct your members to tell their freeloading friends from other clubs and independent riders they know to purchase a ticket if they see them loitering outside without a wristband.
If you are the hosting club: You should:
1. Consider holding your event inside of a fenced area and charge folks to enter the fenced area so that even if they loiter outside the event they have still paid to be there.
2. Consider monitoring the parking lots and instructing loitering freeloaders to go purchase a ticket or leave your event.
3. Consider having your DJs make announcements during your event to tell presidents not to allow their members to loiter outside without paying.
Remember folks, love and respect each other and try to do the right things. Freeloading on other MCs parties is totally unsat and flies against all MC etiquette. That is my take. Black Dragon National President Black Sabbath M.C.
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