Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club (USA)
|Type||Outlaw motorcycle club|
The Grim Reapers is an Harley-Davidson-only motorcycle club. The club was founded as a three-piece patch in Louisville, KY. In the United States, such motorcycle clubs are considered "outlaw" as they are not sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and do not adhere to the AMA's rules. Instead the Grim Reapers have their own set of bylaws from which the values of the outlaw biker culture
Club name and patches
The Grim Reapers MC takes its name and iconography from the traditional and symbolic personification of death, the Grim Reaper. The club's name is emblazoned on the top rocker of the three-piece patch. The center patch features the Grim Reaper in red holding his scythe, and is referred to as "the Ghost." The territory from which the chapter operates appears on the bottom rocker. An "MC" patch appears to the right of the Ghost, when facing the cut. The cut also features a triangular front patch depicting a scythe over the club's initials, with one letter of the MC's motto, "FTW," in each corner of the triangle.
The Grim Reapers MC was founded in 1965 in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival
The Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival was held on Memorial Day Weekend in 1970 near Heyworth, Illinois. The Grim Reapers provided the festival security. Approximately 60,000 people attended the festival.
Operation Iron Horse
Operation Iron Horse was a four-year state and federal RICO act investigation and prosecution of motorcycle clubs in the Midwest. Eighteen Grim Reapers, including the club's national president, were indicted for selling drugs and dealing in stolen motorcycles. The Grim Reapers had purchased 120 kilograms - more than 200 pounds - of cocaine worth about $3 million total from 1988 to 1998.
According to the Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club website, the club currently has chapters in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Illinois. At one point the MC had chapters from North Dakota to Florida but has been knocked down to its current size after Operation Iron Horse. In Iowa, the Grim Reapers were the first Motorcycle Club established in that state. Since then, many different clubs now have chapters in Iowa.
The Grim Reapers name is also used by other clubs, e.g. Canada and the United Kingdom, and was formerly used by motorcycle clubs in New Zealand, Australia and California.