Goliad Gypsy MC Hobo Run by Raoul

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Goliad President Jester first shared their plans for the Hobo Run during a ride we took to Oklahoma and Arkansas last September. His ideas for the Hobo Run was to make it truly an “old school” event. Where we stayed at a historic hotel during the Papa Jack Memorial Run, Jester planned for Hobo riders to tent camp. That’s taking the old-school approach back to its roots.

The First Annual Hobo Run, sponsored by the Goliad Chapter, was held over the New Year’s Day weekend that marked the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. No cars, no trucks, no RV’s, no bike trailers - just what you could pack on your bike. Riders, about thirty of us, left Goliad Friday morning and rode two hundred twenty-five miles to an “undisclosed” location. We rode back roads through towns like Cuero and Gonzales and Meyersville and Shiner and Nixon as well as through Palmetto State Park with it’s impressive scenic overlook. We stopped for beer and pizza in Shiner and finished the first day’s ride in Union Valley, a ghost town the Texas folk hero and cold blooded murdered John Wesley Hardin is credited for creating. It seems that Wes murdered a County Sheriff in downtown Union Valley and terrorized the good folk of that town so much that they picked up stakes and relocated the town six miles down the road, thus establishing the community of Nixon, Texas. So much for Texas history.
When we arrived at Union Valley, a single support vehicle had already arrived at the campground. Jester’s crew had a pickup truck and trailer with two Porto-Potties, a keg of beer, firewood, a bar-b-que grill and food for the evening meal. Riders pitched their tents, drank a few beers (or some harder stuff) and shared their impressions of the day’s ride. Goliad member Fall Out cooked the burgers. Fires were built and we finished our evening meal just as the sun went down. The evening’s activities were social and had been planned especially for the Hobo Run.
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When Jester told me about their concept for the Hobo Run he emphasized that he wanted the evening to include campfire discussions that would focus on the history and culture of the Gypsy MC. He hoped to enlist several of the old timers to join us on the ride and asked me to lead the discussion. I agreed and put together a basic outline dividing the history of the club into chronological segments. I’d kick the discussion off with a few statements about a specified time frame and call on the old timers to make their comments and the newer members to ask questions.

I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was with the groups receptivity as we started the first evening’s program. They took their seats and focussed their attention on the program. We covered the time period between 1932, when the Simerly family first rode their motorcycles in Tennessee to 1978 when Papa Jack married Jaynie Phillips and began planning transition of the club’s leadership and his move to Oklahoma. The program went on for well over an hour and the response seemed uniformly enthusiastic. I promised them a special treat for the second night’s program - an audio tape of Papa Jack and Erdin-Erdin addressing a group of Gypsys at the Calallen Run in 1994.

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After the first night’s program concluded the group adjourned to the campfires and spent the remainder of the evening talking and do their best to stay warm. Even though the temperatures were mild for a south Texas New Year’s Eve it was still at bit on the chilly side. A few hardly souls kept the campfire stoked late into the night and on into the morning but most of us retreated to our tents and curled up in sleeping bags. We had another two hundred plus miles to ride on Saturday to make our second “undisclosed location” and the New Year’s Eve celebration.

Saturday morning came all too soon - the campground came alive long before the sun burned the night’s fog out of the sky and created the opportunity for the day to warm. We were ready to ride long before the fog lifted and were happy when Jim, our second day’s road captain gave the word to “saddle up”. Day two was the same format as day one, but with new roads and a different direction. We rode west towards Seguin and Kingsbury before doubling back through Stockdale towards Karnes City and off to Helena where we stopped at Goliad member Drama Queen’s bar for food and beverage. From her “Tarbender’s Bar” the group rode to Yorktown and on to Weesatche where we camped for the second night at the same campground Goliad uses for the annual Cannonball Run.

Consistent with the previous evening, tents were pitched, food was cooked and the sun disappeared predictably from the sky. It seemed to me the evening was a little warmer than what we experienced in Union Valley. After dinner the group started moving rapidly into “party mode”. Lifer Redman warned me that I’d better start the night’s program before they got any “deeper into their cups”. We used additional lights and turned the pavilion into a makeshift theater. Again, to my amazement, everyone of the group turned their attention to the program and focussed attention on the history and culture presentation. We traveled back in time from about 1978 all the way to 2001 when Erdin-Erdin retired and Hap Simerly became the President of the Gypsy MC. The group was interactive, some making contributions and asking questions about past events that shaped who we are today. The highlight of the evening, however, was the audio tape of Papa Jack and Erdin’s comments from 1994. Jack recollected the early startup of the club in Corpus and the near closure when we were still in the formative stages. He spoke about the early members who had hung in there when the going was rough and the inevitable growth of the club throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico. He spoke of the leadership transition and the turmoil of the struggle that was occurring at the time the tape was made. Jack
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endorsed Erdin as the President of the club and urged everyone to support Erdin. Erdin concluded the taped remarks by voicing his commitment to leading the club back to its roots of a hard riding, hard partying motorcycle club.

What struck me the most about the group’s reaction to this tape were the insights each individual was getting, not only from Papa Jack’s words but his style and backwoods Tennessee country phrasing. Jack reinforced, in his inimitable way, what his dream was for the Gypsy MC from the club’s beginning and what he wanted it to become as it continued through the generations. I truly believe that everyone hearing Jack and Erdin’s voice has a much stronger appreciation for what the club should mean to them. And that’s a good thing.

There were even more questions at the conclusion of Saturday night’s program. I tried the best that I could to field everyone’s questions and I also became convinced that what started as an experiment to gauge Gypsy member’s interest in club history and culture was both a success and something that I want to continue doing.

The group went on to bring in the New Year in true Gypsy MC style. The following morning, riders were awarded their Hobo Run patch in a ceremony that Jester had prepared. Then, as Erdin would say, we got a’straddle of ‘em and all rode out in different directions, returning to our homes having been a part of a truly unique Gypsy MC event.

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I’m offering a special “thank you” to all the Goliad members who put their hard work and energy and especially their creative touch to putting this run together. I’d also like to thank all the riders who decided to brave the unpredictable weather, sleep in the great outdoors, warm themselves by a wood fire and be part of an old school experience.
We live the life we love and love the life we live!

Raoul - January 3, 2012