Tag Archives: motorcycle gangs in Dickinson North Dakota

My Motorcycle Gang, The Prairie Dogs, Dickinson, North Dakota, Part II

In Part I, I explained what bikers were like when I grew up, how yuppies started the “Costume Party” bikers, and that most bikers today are pretend bikers, good weather bikers, motorcycle sits in the garage 355 days a year bikers.

In 2013, when I came back to Dickinson, I wanted to start a motorcycle gang, “The Prairie Dogs”. Founding members were to be myself, Duane Sickler, S.A., and D.M. Possible prospects were Rod Sickler and Dale Sickler. In talking to Duane Sickler, who had previously been in a motorcycle club, he wanted to put the motorcycle gang life behind him. Duane was warning me that we would face opposition from the motorcycle club already existing in Dickinson, The Sick Bastards.

I said to Duane, that my motorcycle gang, The Prairie Dogs, would be different. We would leave people notes. Notes like, “Do not park here” or “Your jacket makes you look fat”. We would also threaten to leave notes, “Notes that people wouldn’t like.” The other thing about the Prairie Dogs, you had to have a smaller cc motorcycle, like under 500 cc, preferably an older motorcycle. I had a 1975 Kawasaki 125 enduro, and a 1976 Yamaha 125 enduro. I got another 1975 Yamaha 125 enduro out of somebody’s backyard in Dickinson.

I gave the 1975 Yamaha 125 enduro that I got out of someone’s backyard to S.A. Then S.A. threw the engine in the garbage because he said the piston was seized, but I wish he would not have done that. S.A. has been arrested many times, several contempts of court, several restraining orders, on the U.S. “No Fly List”, dresses oddly, good founding member for the Prairie Dogs.

Duane Sickler wanted to put the biker gang life behind him. When I let him borrow my 1976 Yamaha 125 enduro, and I saw him riding around town, that was the happiest I ever saw him. Until it died. This motorcycle has a generator, not an alternator, and it went bad, a common problem for this motorcycle. I put a tool box on the back luggage rack with a lawnmower battery in it, but then Duane didn’t want to ride it anymore because it didn’t look as good. Then Duane died. Then Dale Sickler died too.

D.M. has been arrested and imprisoned many times. He stole 30 cars, including a police car, before he turned 16. He plays a banjo, and he looks like a banjo player. His only problem is that he has a 1300 cc Harley Davidson, which you can’t ride with the Prairie Dogs with that.

I am not mentioning any names, but these founding members have been kicked out of the military three times for bad behavior and non-compliance, and have been kicked out of prisons and jails for causing too many problems. (You used to get kicked out of jail for having crab lice, because the other prisoners would get it, I am not saying that any of the founding members had crab lice.)

If you were a Prospect of the Prairie Dogs, you would get a sticky note pad to leave notes. If you were a Probationary Member, you would get a spiral note pad, to leave longer notes. If you were a Full Member, you would get stationery with envelopes. The president, which would have been me or Duane, would have letter size manila envelopes to leave long notes in.

All over town, people would fear and dread the Prairie Dogs. Bar managers would meet us at the door saying, “You’re not coming in here starting shit with your notes.” Which would of course result in a note being shoved under a door in a manila envelope, which would have to be read. The bar staff would say, “What does the note say, what does the note say?” The bar staff would have apprehension all night, saying to customers, “Can you go out to my car, and see if it has a note on it, it’s the blue Dodge Charger over by the street light.”

We could go by the Catholic Church and leave notes on car windshields: “Rather than going to Mass, why don’t you quit doing underhanded things in the first place.” and “I’m not ever going to buy raffle tickets for your car because you never announce who won the car, and I think it’s a scam.” Not all the notes would be mean, some would be benign, which would be irritating: “You do a good job taking care of your car.” and “You look like you have good hygiene.”

People in their homes would hear those two stroke engines coming, and say, “Oh no, it’s those fucking Prairie Dogs, I hope they keep going.” People at parks, the Prairie Hills Mall, and restaurants would leave when we got there, or keep on driving and not stop if they saw our motorcycles in the parking lot. The only people who wouldn’t leave, would be women who want attention. They would be like, “So…., are you going to give me a note?…. Why not, why aren’t you going to give me a note, that’s what you do isn’t it?”

My Motorcycle Gang, The Prairie Dogs, Dickinson, North Dakota Part I

I grew up in the 1970s just south of Daytona Beach. Things were different in the 1970s. People drank as much alcohol as they wanted, as often as they wanted, and regarded law enforcement as not having any business interfering with their drinking. Many men had been over in Vietnam, had been immersed in military order, discipline, and killing people daily. A civilian police officer was not someone they were frightened of, or someone they wanted to listen to very much. For many veterans who just got back, complying with law enforcement was something they did voluntarily, because they could have just as easily killed a single police officer or two if they were attempting to arrest them.

There were bikers around Daytona Beach throughout the year, and thousands of bikers before, during, and after bike week. Most of the bikers were poor, many of them were recently returned from Vietnam. Many bikers liked to stay at the campground, because it was the cheapest place to stay. The bikers didn’t try to go to upscale restaurants, they preferred to go to hole-in-the-wall biker bars.

My recollection is, that the bikers back in the 1970s did not go looking for trouble. They especially did not bother children, moms, or parents with children. I think that they went out of their way not to frighten kids, moms, and parents. However, if a restaurant owner or a waitress ever insulted a biker, their restaurant would likely be burned down after it closed that night. There was a restaurant in Daytona, I believe it was called The Raw Bar, that got burned down two years in a row because a waitress was shitty to a biker.

Back then, most of the Bike Week bikers had Harley Davidsons, second most popular was probably Triumph, there were probably some BMWs and BSAs. Throughout the year, bikers just rode what they could afford, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. Bikers wore what they normally wore, jeans, boots, T-shirt, maybe a denim jacket, not a lot of leather. My father had a small Suzuki, a Triumph chopper, an AMF Harley Sportster, and a Honda XL 185. I had a small Suzuki enduro, and a Kawasaki KX.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that there came to be the “Costume Party Bikers”. I think that one of the first signs that Harley Davidsons were becoming glamorous was when Rocky Balboa had one in the movie Rocky II. I didn’t like it when the accountants, dentists, and attorneys started dressing all in leather like they were going to some Sadists & Masochist sex party, trying to pretend to be bikers. Since the early 1900s, bikers were just bikers, they rode what they had, and they wore what they had. The yuppies were turning Bike Week into a Halloween costume party. I felt like it was non-Muslims going to Mecca, and I don’t know why the bikers put up with it. The only reason that I can think of, is that the bikers thought they could get these fantasizing yuppy women away from their husbands for a while.

Continuing to this day, I think that most bikers are pretend bikers. Good weather bikers, their $15,000 motorcycle sitting in the garage 355 days each year. Their $15,000 1100cc motorcycle sitting in their garage for 355 days each year, and they feel the strong desire to trade it in for a 1300cc motorcycle. Hey, you can go buy a new 300cc Kawasaki Ninja that will go 113 mph, for $5,700. Ohh, but it vibrates at 8,000 rpm. Yes, it should vibrate at 8,000 rpm, good, get used to it.