The History of the Barons
as told by Tom Richter
The story as told over many
beers a long, long time ago:
Some or all of it may be
true. Some of it happened before I was born, some before I was
old enough to care and most of it while I was in a drunken haze.
The Barons were born in
St. Cloud, Minnesota. It was originally an AMA sanctioned club,
the start date of the club is lost in time, but in the mid 50's
there was a difference of opinion with the AMA and the club turned
outlaw. In those days this meant that the club was no longer AMA
sanctioned, not that they were a Hells Angles type club.
The original one-piece patch
was retained but the sleeves of the riding jackets were cut off
to signify that the club was an outlaw club. It could have been
a money saving practice or just plane old stubbornness by the
club members at the time. This resulted in the eventual loss of
the older more affluent members with the club taking on a younger,
more blue collar type of rider with a mixture of American and
The only rule about the
kind of bikes in the club was that the rider had to be able to
keep up with the group, and that wasn't that hard with the breakdowns
that everyone experienced every so often. The club had few rules,
no formal officers and a very laid back method of doing things.
Pretty much just a group of guys having a good time together on
Planning was kept to a minimum
and most rides were the result of someone saying lets go here
or there on the spur of the moment. There were no long running
disagreements or other troubles although there were short term
problems that sometimes resulted in violence. But on the most
part everything was pretty calm and laid back.
I joined the club in the
early 60's after hanging around with them for a few years. John
Schmidt patched me. This was not an earth shaking event, just
handed a patch and nothing more said about it. That was the way
things were done. By 1965 there were only a few of us left, between
the draft, jail, college and death the ranks of the Barons had
been seriously depleted. I was going off to the Air Force, Butch
Schmitd was in college, and the rest of the club was in pretty
much the same condition. We had sold our bikes and we put our
colors away with intents of riding together another day.
In 1967 I was stationed
at Mather AFB, California, married and riding a jap bike, but
that was sold to buy an engine for my wife's car. She didn't like
bikes, didn't like my friends and eventually didn't like me. One
divorce and a transfer later I was stationed at Travis AFB, Ca.
and I used my newfound freedom and reenlistment bonus to buy another
bike. I rode in California with some local people for a while.
In 1972, I was transferred
to Kadena AB, Okinawa. Riding there was great and the group I
rode with wanted to start up a club. I contacted Butch Schmidt
and we decided that we could use the Barons patch in Okinawa.
Since none of the other riders had ever been to St. Cloud it seemed
foolish to patch them to a city that they had never been to. Most
of the other overseas gangs were patched to a country and tried
to act like they ruled that area. We decided to patch new members
to the city they were in when they joined the club. This resulted
in the Barons/Koza patch. At this time all members were required
to have a bike and club membership needed a unanimous vote.
There was a period of unrest
for awhile until things got sorted out in Okinawa. There were
those who thought we shouldn't have a local or female wearing
colors and we had to defend that right. Those that thought they
could tell us where and when we could ride and those that talked
down to us because we were riding jap bikes had to be convinced
of the errors of their ways. But we were riding and in most cases
they were not.
A group called the Okinawan
Outlaw Association was formed to bring peace to the trouble on
the island, this worked to an extent and also convinced all of
the club members involved at the time to keep the small diamond
patch to remind us to never get involved with something that stupid
again. The club went back to the old laid back ways of the founders.
Next stop was Texas with
another new member then back to Okinawa. But the name of the city
had changed to Okinawa City so this resulted in a corresponding
change to the colors. Born was the Barons/Okinawa City patch.
This was a long tour with many of the old gang still around and
new members joining. There was a lot of good riding and partying
with good friends. There were still spots of trouble jumping up
in our path occasionally, but for the most part we had gotten
older and smarter and the problems were mostly handled with brain
rather than brawn.
A few transfers later I
was in the Philippines and thus the Barons/Angles City Patch.
Way too much partying and a trip out of the country twenty minuets
ahead of the sheriff ended that ride.
Retirement and a civilian
job brought me to Korea and the start of the club here with Barons/Kunsan,
Barons/Songtan, Barons/Kwang Ju and Barons/ Jeju. Club rules were
changed to incorporate formal club officers and wives were patched
since they had as much to do with our riding as we did. We invited
Koreans to join the club and this has worked out to be a very
good thing for the club.
And that is how it stands
to date. I think.
These are the names of club members off the top of my head, there
are more but I can't think of them at the moment.