The Iron Brigade Motorcycle Club (IBMC) is the foremost biker club along the Oregon Coast, their territory covering most of the area from 101 (the coast) to Highway 5 and the national forests. This put all of the state's major cities within their protectorate, including Portland, Eugene, and Salem.
Carter Young was a veteran of the first World War, in which he was a dispatch rider, bringing messages to the front lines by motorcycle. It was there that he found his love of motorbikes, especially the Harley-Davidson. After the war, he was able to purchase one from the Army that was to be scrapped, and he fixed it up himself. He became well known for being seen cruising along the Oregon coast on his Harley and eventually inspired a few fellow vets to become motorcycle enthusiasts as well.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there was plenty of fear going around that the Axis might attempt another attack on U.S. soil. This led to enforced blackouts and increased coastal patrols. Carter and his friends were too old to return to active duty, but they felt an obligation to help the war effort as best they could. By that time, their "club" of motorcycle enthusiasts was a dozen strong, and many of them were ex-military. They took it upon themselves to start patrolling the coastal highway on their bikes, reporting any suspicious sightings to the Coast Guard. They were so militaristic in their structure and behavior that they earned the nickname "the Iron Brigade".
Eventually, the war ended, but the Iron Brigade had formed a fraternal bond between its members. They continued to meet every week, and even had rides up the coast, just to commemorate what Carter Young had started. As veterans of the Second World War came home, many were attracted to the familiar camaraderie of the Brigade, and their numbers swelled. In time, Carter's own son, Butch, would become a member (and eventually President).
As the idea of motorcycle clubs became more popular, the Brigade eventually became the IBMC, adopting a formal hierarchy and their own logo for members to wear. Carter Young was voted President of the club, to nobody's surprise.
Other motorcycle clubs began to become prominent in Oregon, many of them less than savory. The IBMC still considered the Oregon coast to be their protectorate, which led to many clashes with these gangs. This, in turn, led to problems with the law, and for the first time, the Brigade was being painted in a bad light. Public opinion of them declined, lumping them in with the more dangerous criminal gangs. This had an impact on the club's sense of duty to the public.
At first, their involvement in organized crime was minor. Some of their clashes with rival gangs led to them seizing contraband in their enemies' possession. Selling it became a way to support the club's needs. But money is an alluring temptress, and in time this led to other criminal behavior as the IBMC drove out other gangs and took over their criminal enterprises. Theft, extortion, even running guns and drugs — the club had become something much darker than it was when it was founded.
In spite of its criminal turn, the Brigade still acted as a kind of dark protector of the Oregon Coast. They were vigilant in keeping out any other major criminal organization, and they mostly sold their weapons and drugs outside of the region. But they needed places to store their illicit goods before selling them. One of their largest stockpiles is in a remote little town called Mythic Wood. With so little traffic coming to and from the town, it became an ideal location for a stash.
Given the street value of their stockpile in Mythic Wood, it is no surprise that the Brigade maintains a local chapter to guard it. This created an unusual relationship between the club and the locals. While they may be viewed as criminals and thugs, they are also seen as defenders of Mythic Wood. In 2002, when tensions with the Lestranges reached dangerous heights, it was the Iron Brigade that arrived to bolster the Sheriff's numbers against the hill folk.
After that incident, the Brigade became a kind of self-appointed militia for the town. This has put them occasionally at odds with the Sheriff's Office. But even the Sheriff's Office has been forced to recognize that sometimes the strangeness of Mythic Wood requires a powerful ally…and better that than a terrifying enemy.
The Iron Brigade has a charter that governs the club and defines its structure. While there are bylaws to handle specific situations, the most important rules defined by the charter are those related to voting and leadership.
The IBMC code of conduct is fairly simple:
- Obey the club officers (Sergent at Arms, Vice President, and President). An officer's commands may only be countermanded by a superior officer or a formal vote (see Voting, below).
- Respect seniority.
- Major crimes (e.g. drug/weapons trafficking, kidnapping, murder) should only take place with the consent of the President or Vice President.
- Always be faithful to your brothers and sisters (this last bit was added when the club started accepting female members). Disloyalty is the most heinous of sins.
- Close ranks against outsiders interfering in club matters. Our problems are our own to handle.
Within the IBMC are a number of special "officer" roles that see to the administration of the club. Some positions are elected by the full-patched members of the club, while others are appointed by the leadership. Elected positions are for life, or until the club passes a vote of no-confidence, triggering a new vote.
President and Vice President
The President is in charge of day-to-day decisions for the club. The Vice President acts in the President's stead if he is not present.
The President and Vice President are elected positions. In an election, the candidate with the most votes becomes President, and the one in second place becomes Vice President. If the President is voted out due to no-confidence, the Vice President is elevated unless the no-confidence vote was directed at both officers.
Sergeant at Arms
The Sergeant at Arms is essentially the President's bodyguard. He is also responsible for discipline within the club. If a member breaks the bylaws of the Brigade, the Sergeant at Arms metes out punishment. This could be anything from enforced labor, to loss of certain privileges, to a physical beating, to the stripping of a patch (considered much worse than a beating), to execution. The President or Vice President can stay any punishment. Execution is rare, and only an outright betrayal will result in death. Only the President (not the Vice President, even in the President's absence) can order an execution.
The Sergeant at Arms is not elected. He is appointed by the President.
Once, each IBMC chapter also had a Road Captain; the member that leads crew runs. With the consolidation of the club and the need for more flexibility, this role has become more fluid, being assigned as needed on a per-mission basis.
The Treasurer is in charge of the club's finances. He keeps track of resources and approves most expenses that come out of the club treasury.
Like the President and Vice President, the Treasurer is elected into office by the club membership.
The Prospect Developer is the member that oversees the training and discipline of Prospects. In the case of severe infractions, discipline will be handled by the Sergeant at Arms. But most "fuck ups" are handled by the P.D. as part of the regular training program.
The Prospect Developer is an appointed position. Though the President may choose a P.D., the decision is traditionally given to the Vice President as a sign of respect.
Major decisions for the club must be voted on by the membership. Only "full patches" can vote. Votes occur during official meetings called by the President or Vice President. The charter states that at least 50% of the club's full patches must be in attendance for a vote to happen.
The President has veto power if he feels a decision will be harmful to the club, but this rarely happens, as it could damage the club's faith in the President. The membership can override his veto with a two-thirds vote, but this has never happened in the history of the club (mainly because the President has so rarely used his veto power).
The Vice President can veto in the absence of the President, and can be overridden as well. But any such veto is considered a temporary stay to be later reviewed by the President.
The President is always seated at the head of the table during club meetings. The Vice President and Treasurer sit to his left, and the Sergeant at Arms and Prospect Developer sit to his right.
Becoming a member, or "full patch", of the IBMC isn't a simple matter. They are an exclusive club with their own charter and standards.
Membership used to be by invitation only, requiring a sponsorship from a full patch of the club. But times have changed in recent years and a hopeful can approach any patched member and request a trial period. Assuming the club has no reason to reject that person outright (such as a bad history between the hopeful and the club), they will likely be taken in as a prospect. It helps to establish a friendship or otherwise beneficial relationship with the member before making the request.
Prospects are probationary. They are members, but not patched and therefore have no voting privileges. They typically handle menial tasks for the club: delivering messages, physical labor, beer runs, etc. Prospects are often treated poorly. They are abused verbally (and sometimes physically), and constantly reminded that they have no voice in the club. This is a deliberate process, intended to weed out those that aren't truly dedicated to the Brigade. They have no room for people who can't handle pain.
There is no minimum period of time to be a prospect. Once accepted, a prospect is considered to be on the road to patching. At any point during their time as a prospect, a full patch may petition to have the prospect patched. The President will call a meeting at the next available time and hold a vote on whether the prospect should be made a full member of the MC.
Traditionally, the IBMC was a boys-only club. Women could be attached to the club, but never as actual members. Back in the 80s, one of Butch's top men had an "Old Lady" named Sandy who was a real firecracker. She refused to ride bitch and had her own bike that she rode and maintained. She got away with this due to the status of her man, as well as being something of a den mother to the club. Though she never pushed for membership, it was no secret that she wanted the MC to allow women to join up.
In 1987, Sandy was riding with the IBMC was on a convoy down to San Diego to deliver some product. Along the way, they were hit by a rival gang looking to pirate their loot. The conflict turned into a shootout at a truck stop along I-5. During the fight, Sandy took a bullet for Butch, saving his life.
Before Sandy was buried, a patch was sewn onto her cut, making her the Iron Brigade's first female member. The very evening after the funeral, Butch called for a vote. With Butch's support, the charter was amended to permit women to become members from that day forward. To this day, there are rarely more than a handful of women in the Iron Brigade, but those few are proudly referred to as "Sandies" in honor of their fallen sister.
In some ways, female prospects have it worse than the men. The verbal hazing they deal with is often more demeaning, constantly referring to their gender and implying that they are weak and frail because of it. Though they tend to face less physical abuse from the men, the few female members more than make-up for it, feeling no gender-biased compulsion to hold back. Women have to work twice as hard to prove that they are Iron Brigade material.
Here is some of the biker slang used by the Iron Brigade
- Backyard: Where you ride often
- Boneyard: Salvage yard for used bikes & parts; these days this is often used to describe the Ruins
- Brain Bucket: Small, beanie-style helmet (usually not D.O.T. approved)
- Broken Wings: A patch meaning the rider has been in a crash
- Bunker, the: The IBMC clubhouse
- Cage: Automobile, truck, van…not a motorcycle
- Cager: Automobile Driver
- Clone: A motorcycle built to resemble and function like a Harley-Davidson motorcycle without actually being a Harley-Davidson motorcycle (the vehicle title will identify it as something other than a Harley-Davidson)
- Colors: MC backpatch
- Crotch Rocket: Sport bike
- Custom: Custom built bike
- Cut/kutte: Vest with club colors; also called a "battle vest"
- Flying Low: Speeding
- Full Patch: A full member of the club with voting rights
- Independent: Someone not a part of any club or group, but normally a part of the biker culture
- Ink: Tattoo
- Ink-Slinger: Tattoo Artist
- LEO: Law Enforcement Officer/Official
- Leaving Your Mark: Oil puddle on the ground where you parked your scoot
- MC: Motorcycle Club
- Pillion Pad: The passenger seat
- Pipes: Exhaust System
- Prospect: A probationary member of the club
- Pucker Factor: Refers to how tight your ass got on a close call
- Rags: Also used to refer to Cut or Colors
- Rat Bike: Usually an older bike that doesn't look like it's been taken care of at all
- Ridin' Bitch: Riding as Passenger
- Road Name: Also known as handle. Name given to to someone by his brothers/friends. Usually given after some kind of incident or something they would associate with that person.
- Rocker: Part of MC colors which usually designates geographic location or territory
- Rubber: Tire
- Rubber Side Down: Ride Safe; Don't Lay the Bike Down
- Run: Road trip with your buds, most of the time with a place to go to in mind
- Sandy: A female member of the Iron Brigade
- Scoot: Motorcycle
- Shiny Side Up: Ride Safe; Don't Lay the Bike Down
- Slab: Interstate
- Sled: Motorcycle
- Straight Pipes: An exhaust system with no baffles
- Tats: Tattoos
- Tail Gunner: The last rider in a group
- Turn your back: To completely disassociate from a person or club.
- Twisties: Section of road with a lot of turns
- Wannabe: Refers to someone that tries to pretend to be a part of the biker lifestyle
- Wrench: Mechanic