Police in Hollister, California announced yesterday that the shooting Sunday morning at a Chevron on San Felipe Road resulted from a confrontation between the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club and the Wino’s Crew Motorcycle Club.
Three unidentified Boozefighters were shot and evacuated to a Bay Area hospital. A fourth Boozefighter, identified by police as Michael Richard Kich, 42, of Reno, Nevada was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and posted bail.
Hollister Police Chief David Westrick said, “The initial investigation and witness statements revealed the confrontation was with a rival motorcycle club, Wino’s Crew. Several of those involved, witnesses, and victims, are not cooperating with police in this investigation. The cause of this incident is still under investigation. However, the Wino’s Crew website hints at a feud since 1996 between the Boozefighters and the Wino’s Crew.”
The Wino’s Crew MC took down its website after Westrick made his statement.
The continuing disagreement between the Boozefighters and Wino’s Crew is roughly analogous to the continuing disagreement between the Warlocks Motorcycle Club that wears a harpy patch and is based in Philadelphia and the Chester, Pennsylvania chapter of the Harpy Warlocks.
Both the Boozefighters and Wino’s Crew state that they were founded by William “Wino Willie” Forkner who died in June 1997. The Boozefighters state that they were founded in 1946 and Wino’s Crew states that it was founded in 1946 “under a different name.” Both clubs claim to have been founded at the All American Bar in Los Angeles.
Wino’s Crew asserts “We are a brotherhood formed around the traditions and memory of Wino Willie Forkner, founder of the Boozefighters MC. We are not a part of the BFMC nor are we a farm club. We were organized to defend Wino Willie, ‘JD’ John and the rest of the original Boozefighters from being dumped on by the new breed of Boozefighters in Texas.”
The events that led to a schism in the Boozefighters began in 1993 when Forkner stepped down as President and two younger members assumed control of the club. The new leaders incorporated and designed and trademarked the Boozefighters’ current logo.
After Forkner stepped aside the Boozefighters began to expand and contemplated a merger with another motorcycle club in the Southeast – which would have made the Boozefighters a prominent national club. A nasty, public fight between a faction of the club loyal to Wino Willie and the new breed of Boozefighters ensued. Depending on to whom you talk, Forkner may or may not have tried to disassociate himself from the Boozefighters. Forkner did openly complain about the changing of the guard in an article in Thunder Press in 1996.
The result of all these club politics in the last four years of Forkner’s life was that the Boozefighters became a larger and more prominent club than it had once been and a new club, Wino’s Crew, formed to preserve, protect and defend the grudge. Wino’s Crew now has chapters in Texas, California, Norway and England.
Hollister police have stated the Sunday morning shooting was the fruit of a confrontation between the two clubs outside Johnny’s Bar & Grill in Hollister on Saturday night. Police responded to that incident and arrested Wino’s Crew patch holder Kelly Eugene Rivas of Grass Valley, California for carrying a concealed knife. Police have said that fight was recorded by the newly installed video surveillance apparatus in downtown Hollister.
This story was modified on July 8, 2014. The original version of this story stated the Wino’s Crew MC has a chapter in Germany. That was corrected to state the club has chapters in England and Norway.