Set Your DVRs

July 25, 2014

All Posts, News

Fair warning. Rebel is going to be on television again. The show is called Greatest Mysteries: Sturgis. It will air August 8 at 8 p.m. Pacific on the Travel Channel. And, just like you, I am clueless about what I will say.

I filmed my segment at Kiwi Indian in Riverside, California last October. At the time Bill Hayes was also appearing on the show although the producers filmed his segment separately. I suspect there have been some edits and revisions in the last ten months. Originally it was titled Death on the Way to Sturgis. The producers wanted to make a show about the death of a Hells Angel named James Bailey who was “mysteriously” murdered on his way to the Black Hills Rally.

Lamentably, I tend to be a nightmare for television producers. Like in this case, I told the producers that Bailey was murdered after Sturgis was already over and I thought the FBI did it. In my defense, I have to say I felt awful about telling the producers that. I felt like I had just told a little kid the awful truth about the Easter Bunny: About how Easter and Mrs. Bunny got divorced after one of their kittens – baby bunnies are called kittens – came out black.

James Bailey

James Bailey was killed on Thursday, August 14, 1975. He was a Vietnam era Navy veteran and the treasurer of the Cleveland charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. The Cleveland charter was formed in December 1967 when the Red and White patched over two other Cleveland clubs. Bailey was on his way to the Angels National Run in Yankton, South Dakota with two other members of his charter.

Sturgis had ended the previous Sunday. Seventy-five was the first year Sturgis was a seven day event and the rally still hadn’t started licensing vendors.

The two other Angels were Richard Vesey and a guy who has been identified as “Chip” and as “Paul Philemon.” There are reports that “Chip” was killed during Bailey’s funeral because he was suspected of collaborating with the American Outlaws Association. There may have been two other Angels following the three bikes in a van. If there were, I wasn’t able to learn their names or locate them.

Iowa BCI

The bikes were on Interstate 80 near Colfax, Iowa when Bailey was killed. Bailey had just passed under the Highway 117 overpass. He was shot once in the neck as he rode away from the overpass with a round fired from a .357 Magnum pistol or, I think, a .357 lever action carbine. Bailey fell off his bike and skidded down the road. His bike ran straight and true until it drove itself into a ditch. Almost simultaneously, Vessey was hit by shotgun pellets. Vesey told police that before he was shot he saw flashes from the top of the overpass and the only way that would have been possible is if Bailey was riding well ahead of Vessey when the shooting occurred because Bailey was shot from behind and Vessey, if he was telling the truth, was facing whoever shot him.

The murder was investigated by six members of the Iowa Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The Iowa BCI issued a press release that said two gunmen were involved. One of the shooters was on top of the overpass and the other shooter was under it. BCI recovered two shotgun shells from the top of the overpass but the area under the overpass was so littered with shell casings that the spent .357 cartridge that fired the bullet that killed Bailey was never recovered.

And, this was six years after Easy Rider was released. That film ends with a couple of yokels shooting Captain America off his bike.

Butch Crouch

According to a cocaine fiend and snitch named Clarence “Butch” Crouch, Bailey was killed by someone else in the Hells Angels because Bailey was carrying receipts with him that proved somebody in the Cleveland charter was stealing from the club. According to Crouch, Bailey wanted to show the receipts to somebody at the national Run.

Butch Crouch became an ATF asset in 1981 and he later testified against members of the club in three trials. He also claimed to have information about numerous bombings and murders.

Crouch, is a story in and of himself. He went into witness protection and became Paul Allen Dome. He died in Avinger, Texas on July 8, 2013, about two months before I started looking at the case. Crouch was cremated and no woman wept for him. I have always thought the definition of an evil man was a man who had no woman to weep for him when he died.

The Bailey case went cold until 2009 when the Iowa BCI formed a cold case unit and took another look at it. They got nowhere. Iowa BCI shut down its cold case squad two years later and the mystery of the murder of James Bailey once again went cold.

Bailey is buried in Mentor, Ohio.

Tune in to watch me solve this stone cold whodunit, or whatever it is that I said and did.

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22 Responses to “Set Your DVRs”

  1. RtC Says:

    It was appropriate that they saved the best segment for last.
    Pretty good stuff Rebel.

  2. Grumbler Says:

    @Rebel – Watched the entire episode on my DVR yesterday and, just when I thought they had upchucked your segment, there it was during the last few minutes. It was a surprisingly good show IMO.

    @jj solari – My pleasure. One aspect to the investigation piqued my interest. The investigation reported an abundance of shell casings in the ditch from previous gun firings from the embankment beneath the Highway 117 overpass. Seems to be an odd location for that many casings.

  3. panamaa Says:

    Dear Rebel,
    I enjoyed the show. Fell asleep before it came on last night but caught it on “in demand” this morning… Good job..


  4. sherides Says:

    It came on at 10 in my area. I caught the last 50 minutes. It was an interesting show. I don’t ever recall hearing about the affluent sisters who rode their Indians from New York to San Fransisco before. Mr Munro I had read about before.

    As usual, you did a fine job on Mr. Bailey’s story. Fair and with sincerity.


  5. chromedome Says:

    So on 8/8 the show comes on at 8 pm. Very interesting because the moon will be at 88.888% illumination on that day as well. The best part is the io clubhouse has three 8’s painted on the front. Lol the fucking irony is killin me.


  6. Says:

    Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would really like
    to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would enjoy your work.
    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

  7. Ricky Redneck Says:

    I started Rebel’s “The Working Press” on my Kindle a bit earlier. Great!

  8. RtC Says:

    Since my DVR is still blinkin’ “12:00” I gotta resort to putting it on the calendar. I did finally get to see the “Doc”piece recently, so thanks fer the heads up Rebel.
    RESPECTS to the REAL

  9. jj solari Says:

    hey Grumbler thanks for the link.

  10. slycechyx Says:

    Looks like I had another blonde moment. For some reason, my brain read this as airing last night, Yay! I didn’t miss it.

  11. Grumbler Says:

    Greatest Mysteries: Sturgis
    August 08, 2014
    Premise: Host Don Wildman explores the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame in South Dakota, where he learns the story of two boundary-breaking sisters who attempted an unthinkable feat. Later, he tries to get to the bottom of a crime committed in the frontier town of Deadwood; and gathers facts about a legendary daredevil in nearby Wyoming.

    Noticed that it doesn’t include anything in the premise about the death of James Bailey. Remains to be seen whether it was an inadvertent omission or dropped like a scalding hot Idaho potato.

  12. Dazed Says:

    Right on Rebel,Spread the Truth to the public.

  13. BMW Says:

    I hope you are having fun with the TV shows, because, in my limited experience, the media will twist whatever you say to conform to their idea of what will sell. I don’t think that we, as bikers, can ever expect honest reporting (with the exception of this page, of course!) from the media, whether newspapers, radio or television.

    I didn’t even mention movies…Three generations of sensationalist exploitation flicks have made us collectively look like a convenient boogyman to all those who don’t know us. Sure, there have been a couple of decent biker movies. But in most movies we are depicted as “Werewolves on Wheels”. Of course, in a few movies, such as the Clint Eastwood movies and the Beach Party movies, we are depicted as bumbling idiots who can’t even start our motorcycles.

    Now, I enjoy “B” movies as much as anyone, but even the motorcycle exploitation movies are accurate documentaries compared to the History Channel’s “Gangland”. I have to admit that I have seen all the biker exploitation films I could find, and own most of those available on Amazon. Even after all these years, I laugh my ass off after a few drinks while watching them.

    If I want accuracy in reporting, I come to this site. I don’t know of any other place where bikers are treated honestly and with respect. I don’t expect fair treatment from anyone else, but who knows? I learn something new every day…

    L,H&R TO ALL 1% RIDERS!!!

  14. panamaa Says:

    DVR set………. Looking forward to it..

  15. WheresMyBoots Says:

    Buddy of mine’s dad was a bike builder and member of a club not involved in the fight at the time (he is long retired, including from riding, and had his club’s name removed (tattoo) from his forehead), and was at the Polish Hall in Cleveland that night with his wife who was pregnant with my buddy. At any rate, my buddy’s dad told his wife, “we have to get out of here something’s about to go off.” Never met my friend’s parents, but he says that’s all they remember about it. I remember the story all over the newspapers.

  16. N P Says:

    Regardless of it all, Addie Crouch stood and fought for Cleveland against the Breed at the Polish Women’s Hall, and that says a lot.

  17. Tooj Says:

    yeah, I know the area. Not far from Newton and right on the Skunk River. Appropriate.

  18. Not Surpised Says:

    Good on you Rebel!

    I remember seeing Crouch “testify” before congress from behind a screen to conceal his identity. In the end, no one was convicted based on Crouch’s “testimony”. He was hot shit for awhile because Reagan who was a former CA governor had a hard on for a certain well known club from that state and the appearance before Congress was to drum up funding for the FBI to go after MC’s. They did so heavily in the 1980’s and beyond until ATF stole their thunder.

    No one knows to this day who killed “Beedle” but he was buried with full club honors and is still memorialized, if that says anything.

  19. jj solari Says:

    gee, i wish you had told me about this before the fact, i could have given you some great advice that served me well during my phenomenal show business career. i could have told you to smile. show people you are having a great time. if you are not having a good time smile anyway. do you hear me? i said smile! I DONT CARE IF YOU WANT TO KILL YOURSELF RATHER THAN DO THIS. excuse me. i dont know why that switched to upper case. also, use your arms. dont let them just hang there. YOURE TAP DANCING! LOOK LIKE IT! GESTURE!! what the hell is wrong with this darn caps lock. finally, wear an Eaton jacket and a cumberbun. you will look VERY handsome wearing this completely manly costume. and dont forget about makeup and lipstick. your mom can apply it. she’ll know what to do. hey its not gay its show business. anyway, unfortunately you are hearing this too late to change anything regarding this show. hopefully you might remember it for next time. assuming they liked you and call you back. did you make sure they liked you? did they like you? ANSWER ME! DID THEY LIKE YOU!!! i really gotta get a new keyboard.

  20. popeye Says:

    You’re gettin to be a real live movie star. Pretty soon you’ll be bangin jennifer anistan and giving reviews on hollywood pussy.

  21. slycechyx Says:

    well, damn. I won’t be home tonight until way late, hope they show a re-run of it at a later date.

    Dear Rebel, any ideas rolling around in your head on whodunit?

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