The History of the RED RIDERZ
as originally written by Diane Zurko (past club Historian/Life Member)
One day in 1995, Dave and Diane decided to shop for a “Harley” at a place called Staz’s Nevada Indian. This was a bike shop owned by Steven DeStout AKA “Staz” in Henderson Nevada. We bought a bike and received a membership card that said “Red Rider member”. You automatically became a member a Red Rider by purchasing a motorcycle. What was a Red Rider? No one really knew.
History will tell you the names have changed, the meaning has changed and people now know who the Red Riderz are. It all began when a few people got together and decided to find out about a club called Red Rider, and they put a “Z” in RED RIDERZ.
I called the “So called” Red Rider Hotline to find nothing was going on and no one was answering. I asked one of the sales persons what was up with this club, she said it really needed help and I should get involved.
HHMMM, I thought I could be a biker chick; maybe I could really have some fun. Well, the next thing you know Staz appointed me secretary and told me to go to a meeting at the Road Runner bar on Lake Mead. Staz proceeded to tell me how to take notes and minutes and what I was suppose to do. At this meeting I met a big guy, the new president of the Red Riders, Joe Opipari (there was a president before him that did not last). Joe and I worked very well together from the start. We were going to make this club into something great.
The first event Staz had us involved in was the “Roller Coaster Run”. This was suppose to have become an annual event bringing in thousands of motorcycles from all over. This was our first encounter with the “Staz Vision”. We learned a lot from this run, especially what not to do. With this run our first Road Captain was born. He was big and loud, for that we loved him. He was Wayne Sipich. Then we needed a treasurer, with Wayne came Julie Prince who later became one of the most integral parts of who we are today.
We continued to have monthly meetings; one of our meeting spots was the R-Bar on West Charleston. Then we would ride together. It always amazes me the people I see today that ride with outlaw clubs and bigger clubs. They use to come to our meetings, they seem to always forget where it started. Sometimes Staz would host an event or opening and we would gather our club together. Like for the opening of Country Star Restaurant and Branscomb Richmond wanted to ride in with us. Also when Englebert Humperdink needed a bike he of course got to use our Presidents. Lets not forget the guy who did a jump at the old race track and all of us got to ride out on the track. This was the first time I had ever seen neon on a motorcycle. It was Joe Opiparis.
I remember creating a monthly newsletter called “The Red Rider Flyer”. It was sent out to over 500 people each month. It was more of a marketing tool for Staz than anything else. Only 20 or 30 people would actually show up for our meetings. I’ll never forget the Saturday hours I would spend on Stazs computers trying to get an accurate list of Red Rider Members. It never was correct. We then appointed Chuck Celeya to be in charge of our membership. We gave out point cards to members who came to our events and meetings. The more points you had the better chance you had to win a trip at the end of the year (Chuck was the first to win a trip to Mexico). Then we then began to take more control. The new members had to show up at a meeting to get a T-Shirt (Well, that did not work because we would never see them again). Slowly but creatively we continued to move away from Staz and become our own club. Staz would sell T-Shirts to anyone and he even had a Red Rider logo patch he would sell in his store. We as a club put a stop to this. We were not for sale.
In 1996 there was a club called “The Sober Ducks” that had disbanded and therefore opened the window for another club to take on their annual run. This would become our claim to fame. It was the “Turkey Run”. Julie Prince designed our first run pin. This pin would later become our patch and also a symbol of our independence.
The first year Staz got Station Casinos involved and he sponsored our $500 Grand Prize. The run started at Stazs Nevada Indian and ended at Texas Station. It was a success and we even got an article published in the Thunder Press with Pictures. We did a lot for Stazs Nevada Indian in terms of promoting and supporting. We also would hold a weekly pancake breakfast at Stazs, and even had a volleyball team. As time went on we were doing more and more work and getting less and less form Staz.
It was time to make a change.
That Christmas was quite a turning point for us. Our first Christmas party was a great big sandwich at a country western club. Wayne was our Santa. At this party Staz informed us his business was not going to survive and we would have to move on. This was a great time for our club. We weren’t going to be known as Stazs kids anymore.
In 1997 we developed our out patch, our own colors. Our own independence. At this point we would be called ”Red Riderz” with a “Z”. Staz fought us tooth and nail about going out on our own. It was to our surprise that he was still in business. With our own logo we were able to create our own T-Shirts. Memberships were no longer given out to anyone. We began a relationship with George the owner of Screwballs. He was a great help to us and we began to have our our monthly meetings at his bar. He has helped us with many charity runs and events over the years. We again hosted the “Turkey Run” and started registration at Stazs. This time our club members gathered all the raffle prizes and Joe Opipari and Dave Zurko fronted money for the run. It was a success and the club began a name for itself on really putting on a fantastic run.
By 1998 we now had a full group of officers and road captains. We created another run called the “Carnival Run”. The idea originated from Mike Hammer on his Saturday Night Thunder theme. This was the first of its kind. This run has become an annual event. We also continued on to other great club events like picnics and many gatherings like poke BBQs.
By 1999 the names have changed. Stazs Nevada Indian was now known as Stazs American Motorcycles and we were known as the “THE RED RIDERZ”. Staz doesn’t bother us anymore. No one could stop us. We put on the best runs of the year. We have created a relationship with and became a member of the Confederation of Clubs. We support ourselves. We even entered the information super Highway with www.redriderz.com. This web site was created and developed by Matt Morgan. We do not have to give our memberships away. Never do we sell our logo to non-members in any way shape or form.
By 2000 we had created, and are still developing, our own by-laws. It takes three months as a member before getting a patch. We have a 2 million dollar club house at the Elks Lodge on West Charleston. We no longer support anyone who is not willing to support us. We accept all bikes, prefer Harleys, and we ask that you participate with the club.
People know who "THE RED RIDERZ” are now, and there are 3 life members in our club, Joe Opipari, Wayne Sipich and myself. I’m sure there will be more in the future. This also was the year we really hit it big with our first movie roll. The movie was “3000 miles to Graceland” starring Kevin Costner. Our club members made over $10,000 for the shoot. Everybody loved being involved with that project.
Now we are stronger than before. We have dinner runs and golf tournaments. We have developed many great friendships. We continue to adjust the by-laws. Now it takes 6 months as an active member before you get a patch. We have new member Ambassadors and formal elections.
It is the past that makes the “RED RIDERZ” what we are today. We are strong and we are respected. We stay together through friendship and understanding.
That is the “Z” in the RED RIDERZ...