As you likely already know, a 1%er motorcycle club (MC) is usually
considered, at least by the media and the public, to be an ?outlaw?
gang. The term ?1%er? was supposedly coined by a reporter following a
rally in Hollister, CA in 1947 that by some accounts degenerated into
a riot. The reporter purportedly said something to the effect that
while 99% of motorcycle riders were decent law-abiding folk, the
lawless 1% made them all look bad. But truth is, the reality of the
origin of the term has been lost in myth. If you?re interested in
reading about Hollister from first-person recollection accounts, here?
s a good source: http://www.bikewriter.com/classic_bike.
Now then, what we do know is that the current meaning of ?1%? denotes
a motorcycle club made up of members dedicated to several principles,
among them personal freedom, the right of personal expression,
individual rights, and loyalty to the group. Members pride themselves
on being a minority, on being among the few who prize individual
freedom as an ultimate value, and exist by choice on the fringes of
Fringe or not, there are, ironically perhaps, many 1% motorcycle clubs,
some international, some region or country-specific, some local or
nearly so. Membership in these clubs is by invitation only, to those
who have become friendly with members, whose views are deemed in
harmony with the views of the group, and who have been determined to
be not only sympathetic, but trustworthy.
Once a person joins such a group, he (members are almost without
exception male) is issued a patch, which signifies a lifetime
commitment on both sides. Once a person receives a patch from a 1%er
club, he is a ?patch holder,? or a lifetime member. However, patches
can be - and sometimes are - revoked (for egregious and injurious
disregard for the club?s principles and rules), in contrast to the
patches worn by members of purely social, or commercially-sponsored
clubs, or those that can be merely purchased and so mean nothing at
all beyond the individual wearer?s opinion du jour. The wives and
girlfriends of patch holders are referred to as ?old ladies? and often
wear a patch of their own identifying them as ?property? of the club
or of an individual member.
Here is a link to a page with further links to many if not all of the
known 1% clubs in the U.S. and worldwide:
Understand that NOT all members of 1%er clubs are criminals. But
enough of them are, or at least have been prosecuted and convicted as
such, that 1% clubs have come to be thought of in the public mind,
whether deserved or not, as criminal gangs, occupying themselves with
activities such as drug and gun running, prostitution, violent
reprisals and/or turf wars, and the like. The part that many people
don?t understand is the fierce dedication to individual rights
combined with group loyalty. What this means in practice is that a
patch holder, even if not a criminal himself, will nevertheless defend
the rights of his brother(s) to do as he wishes, even if that means
engaging in criminal activity, and will defend that right by whatever
means necessary. On the other hand, many patch holders feel that they
have been unfairly singled out by law enforcement as ?criminals? and
Whatever the truth actually is, this dedication to loyalty among patch
holders also means that it is virtually impossible for an outsider to
find information about a 1% club or one of its members. Their
websites are largely for making a statement, and for their own use and
information, not for public education. Frankly, they don?t WANT
anyone outside knowing their business and if you ask, you will mostly
likely receive some variation of the advice, ?If you need to ask, you
don?t need to know.?
Among 1% clubs are a few, sometimes known as ?The Big Five,? that are
well known to the public for many reasons, among them for being
supposedly involved in criminal activity, or at least being suspected
and investigated for such. These five
Iron Horsemen (the Sons of Silence are a subsidiary club of The Iron
Specifically, the website for The Iron Horsemen Nation is here:
and the Sons of Silence, here: http://www.sonsofsilence.com/
Remember, however, these sites are mainly for members? convenience,
and you are unlikely to find a great deal of information, though they
can also be (and are) often used conveniently to raise money by
selling products of various sorts, and sometimes provide such
information as mailing addresses of incarcerated members to those who
would like to show support. Check the links on the S.O.S. site for ?
One other thing I should mention is that there is a club known as the
?Iron Horsemen of Denver MC,? which is an independent club and not
affiliated with the Iron Horsemen Nation nor Sons of Silence, though
they do identify themselves as a 1%er club. If you?re interested,
their webpage is here: http://www.ironhorsemenmcdenver.com/ihmc.htm
Also, there is a music group known as ?Sons of Silence,? which also
has no connection to the motorcycle club, so if you choose to utilize
the search strategy detailed below, you can safely ignore those links.
Ok, as to other information about IH/SOS, there is a little, but due
to the nature of 1% clubs, it is obviously sketchy. Here?s what I was
able to find for you:
First of all, you might like to check out the guest books on the Iron
Horsemen Nation and Sons of Silence site ? they give some good
Then, here?s a link to a page of 1%er news reports, which stays fairly
up to date:
Here are links to some specific news reports that include mention of
either ?Iron Horsemen? or ?Sons of Silence? - in chronological order:
Dec. 16, 2003, from the Portland, ME ?Press Herald:?
November 26, 2003 from the St. Paul, MN ?Star Tribune? ? an article
about the arrest of a Hell?s Angel member. Scroll about halfway down
the page for mention of continued observation of other MCs, including
Sons of Silence, which apparently has a Minnesota presence:
November 6, 2003, from the Baton Rouge, LA ?Advocate,? mention of a
benefit poker run sponsored by the Sons of Silence (scroll down):
Sept. 17, 2003, from the Washington Post describes a supposed
standoff between the Iron Horsemen and a fledgling Hell?s Angels
chapter in Calvert County, Maryland: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/
August 9, 2002 ? Scroll a little more than halfway down the page for
this reprint of a news report from MSNBC on the 2002 annual rally in
Sturgis, SD, where the local police chief, Jim Bush, had serious
concerns about the ?resurgence of turf wars among outlaw bike gangs,?
including the Sons of Silence:
This is a report about an ATF agent who infiltrated a Colorado chapter
of Sons of Silence to the previously unheard-of point of becoming a
http://www.napo.org/2000_top_cops_winners.htm Scroll down the page a
bit for the story.
This memorial site to lost members of the Iron Horsemen states, among
other things, that the original club was founded in 1969, changing
over to the current colors in the early 90?s:
Here?s the personal website of a Sons of Silence member who makes and
sells his own music. But note that while he proudly declares his club
affiliation, he divulges no other information about the club. Still,
an interesting portrait of a member:
This excerpt from a discussion forum (scroll down a little more than
halfway down the page to read the message from ?Native?) says, ?...
the Sons of Silence, they came through each summer and never caused
problems. I am aware that Bikers can and for the most part are very
well rounded and respected members of society:?
Here?s an excerpt from a sort of journal detailing someone?s personal
recollections of bikers and gangs, including Sons of Silence. User
your browser?s ?edit? ?find? with ?sons of silence? to find the exact
reference (near the bottom of the page):
I hope this information helps. If you have any questions or something
isn?t clear, please do use the ?Request Clarification? feature to ask
before rating and closing your question so I can be sure you?re happy
with the information provided.
?Ol? Momma of the Dead Donkeys MC?
aka Byrd-ga ;-)
P.S. You can get your own name here from the Outlaw Biker Name
Generator if you?re not already christened: http://www.ratbike.org/
As a biker (no, not a 1%er, a social biker club member only, though I
know - and like and respect - a number of 1%ers) I had a few links in
my personal bookmarks as a result of previous curiosity about 1%er
clubs. I also used the following terms for news reports and other
?who are? ?iron horsemen? OR ?sons of silence? ?denver
news ?motorcycle club? OR ?motorcycle gang?
?iron horsemen? OR ?sons of silence?