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(Photo from Lester's Easyriders Show collection. Read and see more below!)

February 2nd Edition

In This Issue:

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree

Your Myrtle Beach Discount Card

EVENT REPORT: Easyriders 2016

plus a special ride down Easyrider memory lane with Boda

Loose Talk with Jon

CLICK BELOW to buy your money-saving "Carolina Rider" discount card for Myrtle Beach businesses!

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The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of February 3-9, 2016

Wednesday 68h & 90% rain, Thursday 58h & p-cloudy, Friday 53h & sunny, Saturday 55h & sunny, Sunday 56h & am showers, Monday 55h & p-cloudy, Tuesday 53h & p-cloudy (as per weather.com on 2/2/16)

Once I get this thing off 'n running to your mailboxes today, I have a mind to Netflix me one of my favorite Bill Murray movies to celebrate February 2nd. Murray's had at least 2 flicks that I can think of that have a rodent as a star ... You know, Caddyshack and the golf course gopher was one of them ... and the one for today is of course, Punxsutawney Phil in Groundhog day!

To quote the movie,

"What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?"

Sadly, this kind of thinking can nag our brains and splatter our motivation at this time of the year. Especially on a grey day like today. Grey and misty. Honestly tho, we've had the cold and rain and snow and ice but we've also had some fabulously sunny warm days this Winter too. It's been rather mild mostly. OK, so today's not so radiant but if I were the groundhog, I'm thinking the prediction is for a shorter winter. We're almost to the end. Will there be more freeze before we're done?

Yesterday was so warm I considered a ride but other things got in the way. Were you out on your bike?

Point is, hang on kids, playtime is coming! In fact, it might just be here tomorrow or the next.

Happy Groundhog Day!

 

I'm on Facebook ... "friend me!"

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: 5 of the "Storytellers" of The Carolina Rider joined us at The BIG RIDE 2 Bus on January 23rd for the 2016 production of the Easyriders Show. Of course, it snowed and sleeted and freezing-rained all day and night Friday and some on the morning of the show so attendance was down for the annual Winter event; nevertheless, we were impressed with who made it out to The Charlotte Convention Center. Not all vendors were there, the only stage presence was the Fryed Brothers Band who did a fine job of amping up the less-than-filled venue. No SOA celebrities, less bike builders, and only one loan Purrfect Angel on a mic doing her pretty-girl-best to get the crowd excited about what all was there. The morning was quiet but around noon a crowd started building till there was a moderate party going on. Perhaps the "gotta-be-here-to-win" bike giveaway brought em in once the streets started melting a bit ... and kept em there till the 5pm drawing! Whatever the case, it was a pretty good show despite the weather. Below are photos and personal perspectives of the day from some of our storytellers who all contribute regularly to The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine. Thanks to Danny, Ron, Lester, Gary, and Shaggy for being there with us!

At the end of the show reports, Boda shares an historical perspective about Easyriders way back when. Thanks, Boda, for your always intriguing photos and memories!

Easy Rider, Easy Come, Easy Go

By: The Tarheel Tornado

Well 2016 is officially off to a good start, and looking forward to a good year. I hope you made it to the Easyriders show in Charlotte this past weekend; but if you didn’t, there is still plenty of 2016 left to go. Lester and myself braved the snow and headed for Charlotte not knowing what to expect on the roads, or in the show. We both figured the numbers would be down, because of the snow, but that wasn’t going to stop us. I had the BMW X3, and she was fully gassed-up and ready to ride. I rode down to Greer to pick Lester up, and off we headed for the Charlotte Convention Center. Actually I found the road condition to be pretty good. There was a spot or two here and there, but overall in good condition. The only issue was my white car wasn’t white when I got back!

The show was still good despite the weather conditions, and there were a lot of interesting bikes. I noticed several bikes from the Greenville, SC area this year, and some builders I did not know about before. I must say I like the oversized baggers just for the artistry involved. These guys put a lot of detail on their bikes. However, for me personally, I prefer a more simple design that features the mechanical flair and the clean lines from exposing more of the drive train. I want to see the heart of a bike, and how they dress it up, but it is nice to see the other side as well. Lester and I first went to meet up with Jan and Jon at the bus before we made our tour to see the bikes. We wanted them to know we were there, since we had not told them that morning we were coming for sure. We actually had several writers there that day. Shaggy was there, and I learned he now has moved very close to my neighborhood. I’ll claim him, but Chesnee may never be the same again! Gary brought a lot of his scrap book articles. I really didn’t realize how far this guy rides and how frequently he rides. He had some good info on some of these areas I would like to ride one day. I will have to retire before I can ride like that. I have too many chores to do all the time. My fault!

Of course it’s always good to see Jan and Jon. Dawn showed up later (previous calendar model.) Still looking good as ever. That’s “one tall drink of water,” as they say, and she will catch your attention. Trust me! So the gang was not all there, but well represented. Several friends stopped in all afternoon long, and there was some good conversation on the bus as always. The band was very good, and we were parked very close to the stage, so we got to talk to those guys off and on all afternoon. Harley-Davidson of Charlotte, The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, and our magazine gave away a bike. You had to be present to win so a lot of people hung out until 5:00 pm just to get a shot at the bike. That made for an interesting afternoon. I don’t know the name of the guy that won it, but I heard several different variations of what they called him in the crowd. Ooooweeee, a lot of people wanted that bike!

The Perfect Angles were supposed to be there, but only one of them was able to get there, and I got my picture made with her. Her name was Lisa. Kind of a beauty and the beast theme going there. I’ll give you one guess who was who. At my age, the only way to catch one of those girls is when they stand still on purpose. With my body these days, if it not hurting, I must not need it. Anyway, it was a good time had by all, and I am glad we went.

Lester and I are planning our trip to Daytona 2016 for the 75th Anniversary Bike Rally, and after that I most likely will be at Maggie Valley. I can’t go back in time to catch Laconia‘s 75th, but I will get Myrtle Beach, Sturgis, and Daytona’s 75th.  However, I am making tentative plans for Laconia’s 95th as a precursor/scouting for the 100th. Three out of the four major bike rallies for their 75th Anniversary, not bad for an old fart.

Anyone else out there planning on Daytona? We would love to hear from you!

“The Tarheel Tornado”

Ride fast, ride hard, ride long, but above all ride safe!

 

 

A Snowy Weekend Drive

by Ron Lofts

 

A snowy weekend ‘drive’.  I will say it was a ‘drive’ because it wasn’t a ride.  We did leave the bike at home this weekend to go to Charlotte to attend the Easyriders Show, thanks to Jan and Jon inviting us and providing tickets.

We left Friday mid-morning amidst the forecast of ice and snow we took off to Charlotte, or rather Rock Hill to spend the night and do a little pre-Saturday business. The roads were fine on Friday with a little dusting on the side streets in Rock Hill by mid-day Friday.  However, it was enough with the forecast to shut everything down and so the business part of our trip was cancelled. Oh, well what to do.

We stayed at a nice little bed and breakfast on East Main in Rock Hill. As it turned out it was right across the street from Tami .. (Some of you might remember Tami, the "Poni Princess" who used to submit articles for The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine a few years back.) With a little difficulty finding anything open for dinner we did find a steak house that was doing a booming business since it was open and people didn’t have many options, but we think it tends to be busy anyway.  Had a good meal and back to the room by 9.  By then the roads were snow covered with a little ice underneath, but with wisdom and care driving was not a problem, except for the idiots that don’t understand wisdom and care. We did see a few try to pull out in front of us and misjudge the conditions, and one found a utility pole on the side. There was that moment of ‘serves you right’ once we found out they were not hurt, only their car and their pride, and the utility pole laying on the ground.

Saturday morning was sunny and nice.  The snow had accumulated a bit on the car and side roads, but I-77 was clean and dry.  We had a great breakfast thanks to Mrs. Hubbard at East Main and a visit with Phillip, a rider down from New York looking to relocate to the Charlotte area.  Our trip to the Convention Center went smooth. It was the parking lot where it became interesting.  Of course the lot wasn’t cleaned, and no attendant, and the machine had trouble, but eventually we all got ‘parked and paid.’

The show did take a hit on attendance.  A number of the vendors and celebrities were not able to attend, and the public attendance was way down.  But there was not a shortage of great bikes.  I included a couple of my favorites, although I doubt they’ve ever seen the ‘Tail of the Dragon’ or ‘The Snake’ or any of Bud or Lester’s rides!

We had a good day hanging out with Jan and Jon, and Gary and Bud and Lester, and even saw Shaggy during the afternoon.  Had a wonderful time talking to the people stopping by that do get "The Rider" and helping many sign up so they can join the Rider family.

Easyriders EVENT REPORT

by Henry "Lester" Donald

Hello all, Lester here, it has been a long time. Too long! I hope the Christmas season and New Years was good to you, and even though it is still January we are seeing some pretty awesome riding days here and there.  As a matter of fact, on Dec.28th 2015 I saw 77 degrees in Tennessee and temps in the 60’s this week. Not bad for a January!

This past weekend was The Easyriders Bike Show in Charlotte.  If you didn’t make it, shame on you! The weather was cold but not the coldest that we have seen. The back roads were still covered in ice and snow but the highways were clear. The show was a good show, but attendance was down. Way Down!

For the ones of us that did make it, we had a ball! We were set up right by the stage, and the band the Fryed Brothers Band was awesome.  I was really getting into Harry’s electric fiddle, not to mention the talented keyboard player.  The whole band was very entertaining.  Hey, they loved to party too and they joined us in the bus after every set!  Thanks, Randy for the brandy! Everyone enjoyed it! Also, congrats to Matt Smith who won the new Harley-Davidson.

Congrats to Matt Smith who won the bike we gave away!!!

It was also great to meet Lisa Ligon from the Trace Adkins videos Chrome and One Hot Mama.  She was the emcee for the event and she came over to pose for a couple of photos with our writers. Thank you, Lisa! The only disappointment was that because of the weather, The Purfect Angels were not able to make it.  Lisa was the only one who made it in. The last time I talked to her, she was having a hard time getting back out of town after the show was over. I hope she made it out ok.  Heck, even the band had to fly into Norfolk and drive to Charlotte!

There were a lot of pretty bikes there and to me it looked like the newest thing or fad is to customize the trikes. There were a couple there with the big front tires and heavy custom paint. They looked enjoyable even with the big tires. Lots of customs, tons of Harleys, 1 Buell, and a few Indians scattered around.  Lots to look at and the crowd was low enough to where you could take photos of any bike you wanted. I liked that part.  I walked around with The Tarheel Tornado and took lots of photos as you see in the collages here.

It was good to see all of you this weekend, and I hope we will see each other again soon. The Tarheel Tornado and myself will be riding down to Daytona in March so look for us down there! And remember ... as always, tell me that you read it here, and I’ll buy you a cold adult beverage!

Ride safe! Ride long!

Lester

Easyriders and Changing Times

by CW "Boda" Chavis

The Easyriders 2016 Biker Show Tour got my thinking about the first Easyriders Shows in the 1970s and reminded me of how different things were then versus now.  In the 70s, the biker lifestyle was not for the weak of heart.  Bikers, especially Harley riders were treated as second class citizens by the police and much of the public.
Most of us were armed when we rode.  Confrontations weren’t uncommon but usually weren’t fatal.  You showed respect but not deference to others.  And you supported your brothers no matter what or why.

At different times in the Carolinas, there were murders, usually within or between clubs, some by ambush on the highways.  Most notable were the shootouts between rival clubs in Charlotte and Winston-Salem.  Nationally, things were much more dangerous with clubs fighting for territory.

(Billy & DW)

Assassinations weren’t uncommon and the Easyriders Show reminded me of one case - J.T. McGarry.  He was a biker from Ventura, California.  He had visited North Carolina several times with the Easyriders Shows and was known to many Concerned Biker Association members. 

Having met him in Charlotte, I recall that he could be funny at times but was notably tight with his money.  He did have some colorful stories to tell about the staff of Easyriders and clubs across the country.
One story I heard about J.T. involved his biker brothers in California.  Apparently, J.T. had a habit of mooching off his friends which wasn’t uncommon in those days.  But J.T. was bad about not reciprocating by being a good host in his turn.  It got to the point that some of them pointed out that he could at least throw a barbeque every now and then.

After thinking about it for a while, he agreed.  He announced a party one Saturday at his house in Ventura and invited all those who had ragged on him to come over for lunch.  When they got there, he served up barbeque, a few potatoes, and some cheap beer and wine.  After everyone had eaten their fill, they were talking about how good the barbeque was and remarked that it had a slightly gamey flavor.  Someone asked if it was venison and where he had gotten the meat.  J.T. told them to see for themselves; the hide was nailed up on the other side of his bike shed. As they went around the corner to check it out, he got on his bike and hit the road.  When his guests walked around the shed, they found a fresh German Shepard skin nailed to the side of the building. Some projectile vomiting ensued.

According to police reports, he had an even darker side.  He used the name Michael Mathers and dealt drugs as a sideline.  In those days, drugs usually meant marijuana (pot), methamphetamine (speed), or powder cocaine (blow).  Many club members indulged in one or more of the three. J.T. and his girlfriend Mary Bischoff were caught skimmed money from the Easyriders Swap Meets. When they split up, Bischoff claimed McGarry owed her thousands from the scam.  I don’t know if J.T.’s barbeque or the skimming of Swap Meet money had anything to do with it, but he disappeared on November 10, 1978; his body was discovered two days later off Highway 33 in Ojai, California.  He had been shot twice with a 38-caliber handgun.
Two years later, Michael Ray Hanline was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder.  None of the DNA evidence at the crime scene matched Hanline's, nor did it match Dennis "Bo" Messer, who police believed to be Hanline's accomplice.

(Hanline and Bischoff)

The key witness against Hanline was his new girlfriend, Mary Bischoff, McGarry’s ex.  Bischoff said that she had told Hanline about the money McGarry owed her, and that Hanline told her that there was a contract out for McGarry.  Bischoff testified that Hanline told her he was going to "blow McGarry’s brains out." She said she saw Hanline leave with a .38-caliber gun and he came home later covered in mud. 
Prosecutors believed Hanline was jealous of Bischoff's former relationship with McGarry. His alleged accomplice Dennis "Bo" Messer was not charged due to a lack of evidence.  Police found some of McGarry's property in a stolen van that Bischoff, Hanline and Messer were driving. They had gone through McGarry's home after he had been murdered and the three then used McGarry's credit card to pay for a hotel room while on the way to San Francisco.
The California Innocence Project began working Hanline's case in 1999 and a Ventura Superior County Judge set aside the conviction and sentence in 2014. He had served the longest sentence in the state of California for a wrongful conviction, L.A. Times reported.
"[Hanline's] conviction has been reversed, and the D.A. has specifically said that based on the evidence that they had, he should have never been convicted," Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project and a professor at the California Western School of Law, said.
With new DNA technology, Ventura County prosecutors were able to re-test evidence from the crime scene. They found DNA from an unknown man—not Hanline, and not Messer.  Bischoff admitted to being under the influence of drugs the night McGarry was killed, and during the trial.  She was granted immunity for her testimony, something that prosecutors never told the defense.

Think of it as “evolution in action.”

(Hanline)

Another case in point is Armond Bletcher.  He was 6′ 3″, and tipped the scales at 350 lbs. He was a friend of the Fresno Hells Angels and Sonny Barger.  He was also a favorite with the staff at Easyriders magazine and featured in many magazines in the 1970s.
He made a living providing muscle to rich patrons.  Once whiles acting as a doorman, he shot a man to death.  It was rumored that he was a hitman, Frank Sinatra’s bodyguard, and that he took horse steroids to achieve and maintain his enormous size.  He did, in fact, maintain a rigorous workout schedule three to four hours a day and ate five times a day to maintain his size.

(Armond Bletcher)

Apparently, Armond had assaulted his own cousins when they refused to put him on their shop payroll.  At the time, he desperately needed to show an honest source of income since he was being investigated by the FBI. Having his personal lifestyle plastered all over the pages of Easyriders magazine probably didn’t help matters much. 
His cousins responded by beating him with a baseball bat but that just pissed him off more. He wound up on the wrong end of his cousins .357 magnum and was dead at 33 years of age.

(Brooke and me)

Most of my old riding buddies have passed on but I still have my memories.  Due to my size, 6’2” and 470 pounds, I stood out in a crowd.  Thinking back on those days, I can see that I survived more by luck than planning on my part.

(Boda & buddies)

Times have changed and keep changing

If you read Boda’s column and if you remember about the recent shoot out at a Denver bike show, you might think that very little has changed. But I submit that the bike clubs are evolving. For the most part the club members are good hard working people that somethimes get pushed the wrong way. The shooting in Denver should never have happened and now there will be a world of poo-poo raining down on both clubs. They will be under everyone’s microscope.

With all the clubs today that compete for a spot on the “biker stage,” I, for one, am glad that the club fights are not a daily thing and that all clubs are not “bad.”

Peace

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