The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club will hold its National Run in Cody, Wyoming this August. The club last visited Cody for its World Run in 2006, which was a very heavily policed event that resulted in five misdemeanor arrests for drug offenses.
About 1,300 club members attended the World Run. Cody police expect about 600 Angels to show up this summer.
Cody is a city of about 9,000 in northwest Wyoming 50 miles from Yellowstone and 360 miles from Sturgis. It caters to tourists. It is named for Buffalo Bill Cody, hosts an annual rodeo called the Cody Stampede and is surrounded by six national Scenic Highways. It is a destination for thousands of motorcycle riders every summer.
In preparation for the great Hells Angels invasion of ought six, the state Attorney General gave regional police departments $600,000 to buy lunch and overtime for a counter invasion of cops. Federal police departments including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security helped surveil and document the event. Units of the Wyoming Army and Air National Guard were mobilized. Federal police brought in a Blackhawk helicopter.
The amount of the federal cost has never been disclosed. The state funds amounted to $120,000 per arrest and $500 per Hells Angel.
The World Run was also highly propagandized by police. Park County Sheriff Scott Steward accused three club members of trying to intimidate his nine-year-old daughter. The FBI called Cody a “hot spot” for rival clubs.
Cody Police Chief Perry Rockvam (the smiling man above) accused club members of trying to “intimidate” police. He told the Billings Gazette that large groups of Angels would watch police make traffic stops.
Powell, Wyoming Police Chief Tim Feathers told the Gazette, “If they can come in and intimidate police and cause them to back off, that opens the door wide open to behave however they want. It’s happened in the past. There’s no doubt about that. It’s the history of the group.”
Earlier this week Ruffin Prevost who works for the Reuters News Agency and also reports for the Yellowstone Gate analyzed public documents to show that local citizens were in fact victimized during the event and that their victimizers were not motorcycle enthusiasts. Prevost found that hundreds of locals were ticketed for traffic offenses
“Local motorists were detained, warned or cited for relatively minor traffic infractions because police had to treat visiting bikers and others equally during the event,” Prevost wrote.
Chief Rockvam told the reporter, “We heard those complaints loud and clear from the last time. We’re definitely going to take that into consideration” this time.
Gail Nace, co-owner of the Silver Dollar Bar in Cody, told Prevost it was an “overwhelmingly positive” experience the last time the Angels were in town. “I appreciate their (law enforcement) presence, but I don’t think it was necessarily the Hells Angels they were concerned about,” Nace said. “It was unfortunate some of the locals got caught in the fray for things like speeding two miles over the limit.”