I haven't been blogging as regularly as I usually do. The extreme heat and humidity on top of an aggressive riding season has seen me so bagged out that I have not had the energy to blog on top of building the paper while on the road.

BUT I AM SO HOT UNDER THE COLLAR that I had to blog tonight.

Last weekend I was at the Great Canadian Motorcycle Rally and in spite of the fact that the organizers are members of the city of Merritt and well respected, the event was marred by the heavy police presence.  Heavy isn't the right word, oppressive is far more accurate.

Now don't get me wrong, I know that any event that serves alcohol and involves large numbers of people, no matter which community they belong to is going to have a police presence - but the ridiculous numbers combined with the overzealous, insufferable and arrogant manners that some members of the RCMP exhibited leaves one with such a bad taste in their mouth.  Merritt was a good event, good music and for the most part, the towns people were down right friendly but some of the things I witnessed and heard from others, with regards to the RCMP sure took some of the glow off.

Today I went to Sturgis North in Vernon and yah know what folks, there are almost more cops than there are attendees. It's only Thursday so those who are not on holiday and have jobs won't be arriving until tomorrow....hold on to your arses folks cause you are in for the RCMP royal treatment.

Let me start from the beginning...

I was in Kamloops today getting an oil change on Black Betty and getting the starter fixed - Great service provided by good people - it was a truly pleasureable experience.
I headed out to Sturgis North from Kamloops and on the way I saw 12 police vehicles between Westwold and Falkland.  One motor cop, 2 black Suburbans and the balance were either police pick ups or cruisers.

I stopped into Falkland for a pop.  As I walked into the pub, the motor cop circled the block.
There was one police Suburban - marked in the parking lot.  I talked to one of the waitresses who had expressed that the poker run that was supposed to stop at the pub ended up being 2 1/5 hours late as the riders had all been subjected to a stop and search. According to her, she had been told by the riders that their saddlebags were searched, their pockets emptied and she expressed that the general the mood of the riders was one of anger.

As I rode up to Sturgis North, knowing that last year there had been a lot of cops at the event, I wondered what this year would hold.  Well folks, it's worse than last year - I honestly think that at some points through out the afternoon there were more cops than riders present.  BEU, undercover and those in uniform were everywhere and I do mean EVERYWHERE.

For those who have never hosted an event you need to understand the process for getting a liquor licence - everything must be approved by the liquor and health boards, fire department and if needs be, the Transportation department and the police.  The police - after reviewing your vendor list and security/fire/evacuation plans can request that certain restrictions be put on your liquor license...and the Liquor Boards generally comply.

So, this year at Sturgis North you will be treated to the following:

There are no chairs allowed in the beer gardens, we dirty old bikers have to stand and chat - we are not allowed to sit down unless it's on the ground - the hot asphalt of a racetrack - NICE - NOT.
The LOVELY (NOT) Beer Gardens

 No "Gang" or SUPPORT clothing is allowed in the beer gardens and no hard liquor for sale in the beer gardens. We dirty bikers are only allowed beer oh and JD and Coke in a can.

Oh and when a racing event is being held here, the beer gardens can hold 5,000 but we dirty bikers are only allowed to be 2,500 in the beer gardens.

I have heard people bitch about the amount of police that were present at the HHR - the Heroes Highway Ride and I am here to tell you that there is a HUGE difference between a police escort and blocking of intersections and on ramps and the oppressive and discriminatory behaviour I have witnessed since I got to the province of BC.

BC - the land of heavenly riding is now officially a police state in my humble opinion and something needs to change.

The police are so out of control with power here that it is mind numbing.

They are heavy handed and some of them are truly ignorant and confrontational.
And why? Because we ride motorcycles. There can be no other conclusion to draw.

Yes the Hells Angels were present at the Merritt event and they are present here in Vernon - now I have nothing against the clubbers - I have generally been treated with respect by them, and the ones that I have gotten to know on any in-depth level have proven to be hard working decent citizens and really solid people.  Do I have any delusions that some within their rank and file are shall we say less than angelic - none what so ever, but the same can be said of the RCMP, there are so many cops who have been charged with impaired driving that I think we should start labelling them - maybe we should start calling them all Pilsner instead of RCMP.

There are some police officers that I know that are decent folks that joined the force because they wanted to make a difference and there are others who are so egotistical and power hunger that they make me quake in my boots.

If you think that I exaggerate about the show of force and the insane restrictions on the liquor licenses of both the Merritt and Vernon events - come on out and see Sturgis North.

Come be amazed by the hospitality of the RCMP here.  It's nothing short of insane and disgusting and while people will whine and snivel about the bullshit treatment we are experiencing like all of the times before no one will take a stand. We are after all polite Canadians...

Well folks - if ever there was a time to fill out the police harassment reports on my site it would be now. A Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of every rider in this country needs to be launched and we need to challenge the Charter because guess what folks, here in the province of BC, Bikers are akin to the Jewish community and the RCMP have become akin to the members of the Third Reich.

We are living a modern day version of the oppression of the 40's and make no mistake this is a war, too bad we bikers are showing up to a gun fight with a knife and by that I mean - the cops have a purpose and mission and we good old Canadian Bikers can't muster up any degree of sustained anger.

I am sick to death of being treated like a second class citizen - how ridiculous is it to have us stand in the beer gardens - no chairs, no shade - and paid security that is almost Nazi like in their enforcement of the no "Gang" colours or Support Gear. The gear can be sold there, you just aren't allowed to wear it - go figure...

Is Sturgis North a good event to attend? Well as a sponsor and a vendor I had hoped it would be. The music is fantastic and the sound system is deadly good.

It's poorly laid out, it costs $20 to go through vendor alley if you don't have an event pass and so far you could shoot a cannon and not hit anyone...tomorrow night will be the tell tale whether this event will achieve any kind of numbers.

I feel so sorry for all of the vendors to this point, as the traffic has been abysmal.

And that's about all I have to offer by way of impression of my afternoon there.

I will be comparing this event to the Summer Stomp regarding numbers - I am curious to hear about police presence there too - if this ends up being a 3 for 3 scenario then I think we riders are going to need to quit bending over the table without benefit of vaseline...

I hope to blog again tomorrow but until I get home my blogging will be hit and miss to say the least because in my world the Busted Knuckle Chronicles and laying it out takes precedent over this blog and the many other duties that generally consume my day.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend - no matter what event you are or are not attending and PLEASE, ride safe.

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

Post a Comment

  1. Blue-Wolf4:51 AM

    Not surprising to see the police ramp up their presence.
    They seem to want to take over every event this year.
    This is precisely why I haven't attended any gatherings.
    Very embarrassing to see our police force treating its'
    public citizens like criminals.

  2. Just came back from Port Dover. There was a huge OPP presence there but for the most part they were directing traffic and providing emergency services, etc - stuff they're supposed to do. We left before dark so I don't know what happened once the serious drinking started but I have to say they did a great job. I'm sure others will chime in with "issues", but I certainly have no complaints.
    But then the RCMP is a totally different kettle of fish - it's almost like they're so embarassed by the behaviour of some of their members that they get nasty.

  3. Wow, several things assault my eagle legal mind at the moment, the first among them being that without a warrant, saddle bags and pockets are not subject to searches. I could be wrong, but people need to know their legal rights in regards to what is the law, and what cops TRY to MAKE you think the law is.
    Secondly, the police presence here in Ontario is bad, but NOTHING like what your describing. Yes we get stopped, harassed, ticketed for bullshit infractions and generally annoyed, but brutal ignorance is usually not something the BEU partakes in. They aren't even very good at trying to weasel information out and certainly, aren't rude even in their discrimination.
    Lastly, people need to stand up and stick to what their rights as people are. However, I DO understand that if riders don't empty saddle bags and gear, they will likely get "marked" and harassed even more so on later dates. Its horrid, vicious and completely makes me lose any shred of faith I had in our justice and legal system.
    Ride on, post on, keep on.

  4. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Living on Vancouver Island since the mid 70s has taught me a thing or 2. I have ridden all over this country and been to my share of biker events and local community gatherings. it seems to me that when the numbers show up at any gathering of people the RCMP end up fucking it up. Two non biker events here on the island that were killed by the sheer heavy handed police action were the Nanaimo Bath Tub Race and the Parksville Sand Castle. The RCMP simply put want no event of any size to be held. The cops of today are a far cry fom when I started to ride and have no idea how to police. They loast the battle there and use crude actions to enforce their control.

  5. Loopy7:33 PM

    Having been to some of the rallies held around both countries ,I feel that we ,the riders , need to stand up ,speak out or at least say your going to far.I help keep the Alberta lone Wolf site moving along. I suggest the development of a green safety vest with a full back on it. like we see the cops wear. The difference across the Back will read PILSNER.Every time a group is pulled over for to big of group told no patches, or walk into an event and told no Patches we all wear the safety vest DMV suggest for bike riders.

  6. I spent Wednesday and Thursday volunteering at "Sturgis North". I never saw more than 20 sitting in the stands watching the bands. And most of the time they were empty. No shade on cement bench seats or standing on asphalt.
    Non biker business people trying to make a buck.
    Lin Smith

  7. Smokey7:15 AM

    I wonder what would happen if all the bikers stopped were a minority group, i.e. Black, Native, women, and then filed a HRC complaint stating they were being profiled? Why hasn't a complaint been filed by us stating the same thing? The RCMP should be doing Federal Policing only and leave the Province to a Provincial Police force, in Port Dover it was the locals and OPP, and they didn't bother anyone unless they asked for trouble, and I didn't see any when I was there.

  8. Smokey that is what I am organizing - a charter challenge and class action law suit...

  9. 2wheelTech3:13 PM

    Video any interactions with LEO's, they do not have the right to search your saddlebags (or anything) without reasonable cause. Being a BIKER is not Reasonable cause.