A recent Hollywood film (Beyond the Law 1992) Written by Larry Ferguson explains it this way: "See this little 1%? This means you are a member of the totally zoned out, fucked up, badass, outlaw motorcycle brotherhood!"   Well, Larry, you SUCK!!! This has nothing to do with 1% What it has to do with is selling tickets to your crappy "B" movie. To find the real answer, you have to go back to the beginning.   I'm not certain just where that is, but we'll start with the founding of the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) in 1924.   I don't know too much about the early days of the AMA and it's really not part of the subject, so we'll skip to the end of WWII.   Our soldiers returning home from the war are finding it hard to adjust to the slower pace of peace and their civilian jobs.   Many turn to motorcycles as a form of recreation, a little much needed excitement on the weekends. At this point in time just about all the motorcycle events in this country were sponsored or controlled by the AMA. Now comes the 4th of July weekend 1947 and the AMA Gypsy Tour event in Hollister, California.   Organized by the Salinas Ramblers MC (AMA club) and the Hollister Veterans Memorial Park Association.   The events calendar calls for a hill climb at the Lavignino Ranch on Friday the 4th. Saturday the 5th a slow race, digout race and plank ride.   Prizes and trophies were given out and that night a dinner and dance at the Memorial Auditorium.   (Funny how some things stay the same, sounds like most bike events, don't it?)   On Sunday the 6th was the big AMA flat track race with a purse of $1,200.oo!
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 to 4 thousand bikers turned out for this event.   That was a lot more than anyone had expected including the organizers of the event.   Not enough of anything was the rule. The campgrounds were full on Thursday so people just threw their sleeping bags wherever they could, this included the sidewalks.   The trouble started on Saturday night when the dinner and dance was full. It was planned for only the expected AMA club members and not the 3 thousand extra that showed up.   They were turned away at the door and told sorry, you're on your own!   So the crowd headed for San Benito St. where all the bars and restaurants were.   OK, I don't care who it is, you put 3 thousand pissed off people together, pour on a lot of alcohol, no matter what, there's going to be trouble!   And there was.... Not bad, probably no worse than any modern bike event like Bikeweek in Daytona.   It was just a big surprise, no one was ready for it.   Hell, my guess is the cops in Daytona would be falling asleep, if all they had to deal with was 3 thousand drunks?   Anyway, the really bad part of the mess was a guy named C. I. Dourghty Jr.   He was a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper.   This guy set up phony photos and pumped up every little incident into a major one.   He together with the cops in charge staged the phony picture of the cop with the teargas launcher and of course the most famous one of all the picture of the drunken biker on his bike with beer bottles ankle deep all around.   And of course, the cops puffed themselves up into the saviors of the town... With Dourghty urging them on I'm sure?
In reality, what the cops did was pretty smart!!   They raided the AMA dance and grabbed the band.   Hauled them down to San Benito St. on the back of a flat bed truck and had them play for the crowd.   Then shut off the flow of alcohol.   By the way, the bars stopped serving beer earlier, telling everyone they were out, so hard stuff only.   Were they really out, or was selling the more expensive hard liquor just more profitable?   The trouble ended almost instantly.



Well, it all hit the fan for the AMA when newspapers across the country ran the stories of hell night in Hollister.   It even made LIFE magazine!!   The AMA leadership was stunned and in a panic.   Bombarded with demands from the press for statements. The AMA held a press conference (dumb)!
They tried to repair the damage, but these guys weren't political spin doctors, just motorcyclists and screwed it up big.   They started off with stating that the news reports from Hollister were greatly exaggerated, which was true, but this really pissed the press guys off right from the start.   When you want someone to be nice to you, never start with calling them liars, huh?   They rambled on for a while, trying to evade embarrassing questions.   The memorable quote from all this and the important one is "THE TROUBLE WAS CAUSED BY THE ONE PER CENT DEVIANT THAT TARNISHES THE PUBLIC IMAGE OF BOTH MOTORCYCLES AND MOTORCYCLISTS"   Right......Anyway, none of that made any difference, the press still beat their brains out....   They would have been much better off saying nothing.
The end of the story?   No, just the beginning.   The AMA continued to receive nothing but bad press. At every opportunity the press would kick their ass.
So the AMA leadership decided to take positive action.   But what?   How do you stop the press when they got it out for you?   Answer: You don't!!   So, who's to blame?   Not themselves, no way!!   As it happens so often, it's the little guys fault, the smallest group, least equipped to defend themselves, that's who.   In this case the guys riding chopped or bobbed bikes.   The word went out to the local AMA club leaders all over the country.   Try to get the members to not wear their old military clothes any more.   No more bomber or field jackets (this was the most common bike wear of the day) and try to discourage those drunken bums on their chopped up bikes from attending AMA sanctioned events.   This translated into: People who rode stripped down or chopped bikes were not welcome.   You were harassed and herded into a corner and made to feel as uncomfortable as possible.   In some cases even denied entry into AMA events.   Now remember most of these guys were veterans, just finished fighting a war.   To come home and be treated this way was unacceptable.   I don't know who thought it up, or who organized it or how many people were involved?   But 1% patches were being given out at AMA events.   The originals were hand made by the guys wives and girlfriends.   Guys started sewing them on the left sleeve of their bomber and field jackets, where their old unit patch used to be. The small army of OD green 1% patch wearing malcontents was growing. Even non chop riders were joining in, and why not.   The weirdo's in the corner were having all the fun anyway.   Of course, this pissed off the AMA leadership even more and they stepped up their policy of "discouragement"   It all came to a head at Riverside in 1948 where there was a near riot.   The AMA finally backed off from their policy of harassment, but it was too late.   The riff between the chopper riders and the AMA has never healed and the 1% patch was here to stay.   So what's it mean....
It means I won't be screwed for what I ride or what I wear!!!!
So how do I know all this?   I'm no historian or anything.   Had a friend that was there.   I want to thank Jim Hammond or "Hammer" to his friends.   You taught me so much about bikes and bikers and life in general.   Thanks for being my friend for 20 years, I miss you......RR




    HAVOC IN HOLLISTER
    Motorcyclists Take Over Town, Many Injured
By C. I. DOURGHTY JR. San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer HOLLISTER. July, 5 (1947)
State Highway patrolmen tonight imposed informal martial law in downtown Hollister to curb the riotous activities of an estimated 4000. Almost 60 persons were injured, three of them seriously. Several more arrests were made and a special night court session was convened to punish those charged with reckless driving and drunkenness. The outburst of terrorism - wrecking of bars, bottle barrages into the streets from upper story windows and roofs and high speed racing of motorcycles though the streets - came as participants in the annual "Gypsy Tour" sponsored by the American Motorcycle Association converged on Hollister for a three-day meeting.
    EVENING LULL
Shortly after dusk tonight, the force of 40 highway patrol officers, commanded by Captain L.T. Torres of San Benito County, forced a lull in the terrorism.
Armed with tear gas guns, the officers herded the cyclists into a block on San Benito street, between Fifth and Sixth streets, parked a dance band on a truck and ordered the musicians to play. Hundreds of individuals who invaded the town yesterday for the motorcycle show, about 10 percent of them women halted their riotous "play" to dance. Their formal ball at the American Legion Hall was canceled by police orders.
The dancers scuffed their way through inches of broken glass, debris of bottle barrages thrown during the day. The officers stood almost shoulder to shoulder along the curb.
    REQUEST FOR HELP
Captain Torres and his men were sent to the scene by Charles E. Raymond Cato of the highway patrol who received a formal request of assistance from Lieutenant Roy L. McPhail of the seven-men Hollister police department. The request for aid was made at 3:30 P.M. today. As the state officers moved in, hundreds of cyclists roared through the streets of Hollister, defying traffic regulations. Many of them were injured in spills and crashes. One man's left foot was virtually severed.
Lieutenant McPhail was emphatic in his announcement to The Chronicle that he was asked for assistance by the State Highway Patrol. Police Chief Fred A. Earin of Hollister said: "It's just one hell of a mess."
    THURSDAY
The motorcyclists gathering for a three-day program of social activities, races and hill climbing events scheduled to end tomorrow began "taking over the town" the evening of July 3. The momentum of their activities gained strength during the 4th of July. By evening, they were virtually out of control, the police reported. Riders, both men and women, steered their machines into bars, crashing fixtures and bottles and mirrors. They defied all traffic regulations racing full speed through the streets and intersections. Hundreds loosed bottle barrages.
Bartenders halted the sale of beer, believing the group could not afford whiskey. Riotous activities continued. The bars closed two hours earlier than permitted by law. The same curfew was to go into effect tonight. The groups defied the officers to curb their activities. As many arrests as possible were made. Police. Judge Frank Butcher convened a special session of his court tonight to dispose of the cases as he did last night.
The sentences ranged from $25 to $250 and up to 75 days in jail. One of the participants identified by the police as Jim Morrison, 19, of Los Angeles, was given 90 days in the county jail for indecent exposure. The emergency room at Hazel Hawkins Hospital was jammed to overflowing. The first case arrived early yesterday. Late tonight, more than 40 persons had been treated. The San Benito Hospital handled the overflow cases.
    LIST OF INJURED
The most seriously injured were:
Merton Kranzman, 20, Rural Rout NO. 4, Tular. Compound fracture of the right leg.
Frank McGovern, 45, Rural Rout NO. 2, Chico. Left leg almost severed. Ted Boyde Jr., 20, 542 Williams street, Oakland. Possible skull fracture.
With the riot under control for the moment, officers said there is no apparent organized leader of the activity. The "Gypsy Tour" attracted motorcyclists from California, Arizona and Oregon. The first days meeting was attended by as many as 12,000 persons, according to official estimates.
Races were to conclude the tour today. Officers late tonight had not decided whether they would be permitted.
"You just can't run everybody out of town", said Captain Torres. The "tour" brought the largest amount of transients in recent history to Hollister. Hundreds slept in "haystacks" according to police and in the city park and squares.