Arun Singh Pundir
Motorcycle Clubs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. There are rules to be followed and a rather stringent code of conduct – so don’t believe everything you see in your favorite MC TV series, Sons of Anarchy. Getting into a motorcycle club isn’t easy, and strangely enough, neither is leaving – so you better be prepared to be in for the long haul. There is also the not-so-great tag attached to being part of an MC, even if most of them are legal and well within their rights.
Of course, not every motorcycle club is legal, and many of them have plenty of run-ins with the law. Take the case of the Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club; they’re notorious outlaws who have had plenty of trouble with authorities. Though, other than that, little is known about this motorcycle club, such as their history or why they’re known as one-percenters. So, here are 14 interesting facts about the Grim Reapers MC that are kept on the DL.
14 The Grim Reapers MC Is An Outlaw Club
For a motorcycle club to be valid and legal, they have to be validated by the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association). Since the Grim Reapers MC never had the blessings of the AMA, they are an outlawed club and been in trouble with the law since the day of their inception. Not that it stopped them.
13 They Are Also Known As The One-Percenters
The one-percenters or the one-percentile are usually the people with the money and moolah, the crème-de-la-crème of the society, as in the select lot. But, when used in the context of a motorcycle club, it means an outlaw club. This is since most motorcycle clubs are in the 99th percentile, legal and registered with the AMA..
12 The Only Joining Requirements: A Harley-Davidson And Being White
Most sources point out the Grim Reapers to still be an all-white boys club. A local chapter in Warrick County mentioned their basic joining requirements: the aspirant has to have a Harley-Davidson and be as lily-white as he could be. This statement of the club president came out in 1918 in the Evansville Press Profile as well.
11 Their Patch Is All About The Angel Of Death
The patch logo of the Grim Reapers MC is the grim reaper, the scythe-holding, skeletal-looking, hooded angel of death. Not very reassuring, right, especially for an outlaw club that touted freedom of life? In the Grim Reapers MC, though, this character is known as The Ghost.
10 It all Started In Kentucky, But Chapters Grew
Originally, the Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club was founded in Louisville, Kentucky, in the year 1965. By the mid-‘70s, a local chapter in Warrick County also came up, and today they also have chapters in Tennessee, Indiana, and Illinois. The club was much larger at a point, but some police raids and Operation Iron Horse (more on that later) took them down.
9 They Were Driven Out Of Their First Clubhouse
The Warrick County chapter rented a clubhouse in downtown Newburgh, but residents did not like the club or their wild partying. Under pressure from the residents, the Newburgh authorities condemned the clubhouse building itself. The bikers protested but soon another set of restrictions was added in, that only 15 people could be within the premises at a time, and that too only from 8 am to 11 pm.
8 The Press Was Never Kind To Them
The press profile on them done by the Evansville Press was none too kind, either. The profile stated that the walls of the clubhouse were covered with “obscene” graffiti and that there was a vending machine filled with beer. The wild partying with raucous noises and the comings and goings at odd hours also raised the public’s ire. To be fair, they were a motorcycle club, not a Bible study group.
7 The Second Clubhouse Was Raided By The Police
With so many restrictions in place, the clubhouse moved to a building near the riverfront. Still, they had no peace. With local police still getting regular complaints from the residents, the Sheriff’s office finally raided the riverside clubhouse. All they got was a little marijuana, 187 cans of beer, and weapons. 15 members were arrested but charges were dropped for 13 of them.
6 They Have Many Vietnam Vets As Members
Like with many motorcycle clubs, the Grim Reapers MC also has plenty of Vietnam Vets as members. Of course, with the sheer unemployment and government ignorance the Vets had to face, it was no surprise that many of them banded into brotherhoods to keep in touch with a chapter of their lives that could never really close.
5 They Moved Again And Stayed Put Until 2017
After the raid on the Riverside HQ in Newburgh, the Reapers sold it off and moved again. This time it was a house on Indiana Street near First Avenue, in Evansville. Despite their bad rep, this time, they managed to stay put for a long while, till 2017. They moved to a former Exotic She Lounge later.
4 What Does FTW Stand For?
One of the Grim Reapers’ logos is FTW, often seen on their patch. Now there are plenty of different interpretations of this acronym, though the most common of them is “F**k The World.” “Forever Two Wheels” is another because of them being a motorcycle club. Of course, since Grim Reapers is rumored to have KKK connections, this could be “Forever Truly White” as well, considering the all-white members.
3 The 2019 Operation Iron Horse Decimated This MC
While this has always been an outlaw group, one doesn’t have to break the law to prove one is an outlaw, right? Sadly, some members of the Grim Reapers MC was involved in an illegal substance trafficking ring, that the police busted in Operation Iron Horse in 2019. Since then, the club has become much smaller, which may not be a bad thing.
2 They Even Provided Security To The Kickapoo Creek Festival
In 1970, a farmer named David Lewis got inspired by the sheer and utter success of the 1969 Woodstock festival, so he decided to host the Kickapoo Creek Festival and hired the Grim Reapers MC to police it all. When a 60,000-strong crowd of revelers arrived, the sight of the tall, menacing, weapon-carrying Grim Reapers was enough for them to enjoy the festival without any destruction.
1 They Have Had Some Questionable Members
Over the years, some of the Grim Reapers members have been involved in various illegal activities and even serious crimes. Being an outlaw group, they have always been under scrutiny by the authorities, and most of them have been caught red-handed. The thing is, while you may not follow AMA’s laws as an MC, you still have to follow the law.