By James Macecari
As the interview went on, I started to form the opinion that Iron Order was, in fact, a charter base set up instead of a chapter base. The difference between the two systems cannot be more different. Charters in a sense have individual autonomy, yes they have to meet the minimum requirements set out by the ruling body, in this case, Iron Order International, but beyond that, each charter is free to run the way they see fit. In a chapter based system, each chapter is delegated to answer to regionals and so on before major changes are made to the individual chapter.
What I started to think was Iron Order might have started suffering from bad publicity or vibes within the M/C world because this was never properly put out there from the beginning. As I looked around the clubhouse in Elkhorn, it was a typical set-up just like so many other clubs out there, most important, the chapter was made up of hard-working blue-collar people, such as mechanics, truck drivers etc. The typical makeup of most 3 pc patch clubs. This chapter didn’t have police officers in it, they only said that a few existed in the Iron Order ranks from the previous piece. What I’m getting at, it was all based on that Charters decisions, it wasn’t forced down the throats of the membership by International. International had a minimum amount of standards for membership, but it was up to each individual charter to expand on that or keep just the minimum standards.
Marketing and branding is something huge in not only the business world but also for a motorcycle club. The Hells Angels are famous for this, they did a superior job of branding their club, I was reminded of this yesterday during an interview I had with Big Pete 1%er- Author of The Last Chicago Boss– My Life with the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club. “Every citizen out there knows who the Hells Angels are”. Why? Because they did an incredible way of branding themselves, after all, they are called the Big Red Machine.
I heard a lot about the changes Iron Order implemented, how far they come from their initial beginnings, my thoughts were that Iron Order could benefit from getting the word out there, rebranding in effect who they are and what they are now about. To do this, Iron Order should get out there and get involved more with other clubs, maybe join the Confederation of Clubs and get involved in issues that are important to the M/C community like discrimination against colors, or how the Federal Government is going after M/C’s as a whole because of the actions of a few and trying to take their patents on the design of their colors. It’s little steps like that, that can be helpful in letting those who think they are one type of club, see that, “Hey look at the changes that have been made, the past is the past and this, is what we are doing going forward”.
Part 2 – Answer and Question session with Black Jack, President of the Elkhorn Chapter
Insane Throttle-What I have found personally interesting about Iron Order, I have seen or known people that were ex 1%ers from one of the major Outlaw Clubs join the ranks of Iron Order. Why do you think this is the case since according to the public or many of those who have been around clubs like that think they are the best and no way one of their members would join Iron Order?
BlackJack: I can’t say why anybody joins any club, everybody’s reasonings are different.
Insane Throttle– There is a page on Facebook. It’s Titled Iron Order Truth Crew. It is a page dedicated to exposing members of your club in a bad light. What do you think personally of this site?
Blackjack– I don’t care one way or another he has the right to his opinion. Every Club in the world has a site or comment on a page that is hating on them. who cares. Personally, I don’t know why anybody would give a shit whats written on Facebook. I mean we’re talking about a site that has arguments about how many bathrooms a store should have. I got better things to do like work, ride and be with family…
Insane Throttle– When someone is interested in becoming a member of your chapter, what do you look for in that individual? Do they prospect like other traditional clubs if you like what they are about?
Blackjack– Heart and the old code.. first thing they need to do is hang around. You need to see if the club is for you and you are for the club, if that goes right you need to say your interest in becoming a member. We will never ask anyone if they want to be a member. If enough time has passed we will vote if an invitation to become a prospect will be given. I’ve seen guys prospect almost 2 years and still not make it.
Insane Throttle-What do you think of the pack mentality of those who never met an Iron Order member or even went to a club function, who just go out there and bash the Iron Order for no reason at all but for what they have heard on the internet?
Blackjack: The reason why I say I don’t care what people think about me is for just this reason. People need to go out and find out for themselves how things are. ALL CLUBS deal with this problem.. some people will say all 1% are the same and are bad and that’s 100% NOT true, I have met many Great Men on all sides of the fence, some are even close friends.. so to sit here and say that you read something or met a guy that was an asshole, so now everyone is an asshole is ridiculous.. stop being sheep.
Insane Throttle-Iron Order pretty much sticks to itself, has Iron Order ever thought about joining the Confederation of Clubs either on a National Level or Chapter level to try and dispel some of the things that are said out there about it?
Blackjack- As of now no we will not be a part of a coc.. however that doesn’t mean we don’t have respect for those clubs. We will talk to anyone, respect is given and shown it a two-way street.
Insane Throttle– What do you prize the most about Iron Order?
Blackjack- The family and brotherhood.
Insane Throttle– Where do you personally see your chapter of the Iron Order in 5 Years?
Blackjack -Just doing our thing. hopefully growing but if not that’s ok.. id much rather have a few solid brothers then 30 members. True M/C’s out there will know exactly what I mean.
As I finished up with this section of the Iron Order Interview, I wanted to make sure that I focused on Blackjack first and foremost, this was because he was the President of the local chapter. I’ve found that you will get more in-depth answers from those directly on the front lines of any situation. Those answers are usually straight from the heart with no interference of a company line being towed or smoke being blown up your ass. Blackjack didn’t disappoint, he was a straight shooter and truly believed in what he was saying and standing up for his beliefs.
As an outsider looking in, from what I know from this interview and just with numerous conversations that I’ve had with Blackjack, he looks like he’s running a real tight ship just like any other President out there of another club would be. In fact, you could say better than most other clubs out there. Blackjack and his crew as a whole are living the dream, they have their brotherhood as they want it, have a clubhouse and mechanic shop with all the brothers working together to ensure it’s success.
The old-timers formed Motorcycle Clubs for that very reason long ago. The old-timers banded together with like-minded individuals to form a bond of brotherhood and family, the true old timers never cared what others outside their circle thought. The Elkhorn Chapter I believe embodies this philosophy, yea they might be apart of an International Body, but to that chapter, they work together to improve themselves and family without care of what others think. In today’s world of Sons of Anarchy and the internet, many of those people are quick to criticize without first-hand knowledge of those they criticize. I believe Blackjack is correct when he said every club is bashed out there, you might be an 81 supporter and bash the AOA without even knowing one, that is something that will always go on in the Motorcycle Club world.
Stay tuned for Part 3 when I talk with Iron Order Regionals and representatives from International.
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