Saturday, October 7, 2017

Seattle Cossacks - Talk Show

This really bums me out both for the Team's sake and historically. 
For anyone that might be interested here's the actual audio from the show. In the show you hear Don admit he doesn't even know if the people he had the run in with were in fact Cossacks. For the record, all the Cossacks at the Oyster Run trailered their bikes that day.

First the historical aspect. The Seattle Cossacks were formed in 1938. To my knowledge none of the "outlaw" Motorcycle Clubs were officially founded until after WWII (I think the Boozefighters may have been first in 1946). In the Cossacks day an "outlaw" biker was a guy that raced events not formally sanctioned by the AMA...

These days the Seattle Cossacks make huge sacrifices to keep the Team legacy alive. They are completely non-profit. Each guy has to buy and maintain his own vintage Harley Davidson. They also commit nearly every weekend to some event about 9 months out of the year. That doesn't include practice time. It's a big sacrifice. Almost every team member has a family. It's a commitment in turn the entire families make. The families are just as involved as the members in many cases. As a result the team as a whole becomes a family and kids are almost always in toe. Many of these kids later grow up to become active on the Team and the whole cycle repeats. This has gone on for 80 years.

Very few of these sorts of Drill Teams exist anymore. The operating costs are extremely high. The legendary Royal Signals Motorcycle Drill Team in England just announced their end of operation after 90 years, and they have the backing of the UK armed forces. The Cossacks do it all on their own dime.

With restored Knuckleheads now commanding $100,000 figures very few people are still willing to jump theirs or ride it through a wall of fire. That said there are Knuckleheads on the Seattle Cossacks that have been consistently doing this sort of stuff for three generations! Grandfather/Father/Son and soon grandson - amazing. The Cossacks are made up of regular working guys. Some are Boeing employees, own their own businesses and have military, police and fire fighter backgrounds. 

I'm sure Don was just trying to be funny but the Team doesn't need his help. Previously confusion over the completely unrelated Cossacks Motorcycle Club's shootout with the Banditios in 2016 required an amazing amount of explanation publicity wise. This kind of stuff can genuinely damage the Team's reputation, which makes it even harder to book show. Without enough shows the Team can't afford to cover their operating costs like maintenance, travel and insurance.

In the same show Don talks at some length with pride about John McCain's sacrifices and being a war hero, so clearly he must at least have respect that. Ironically my brother-in-law (not a Cossack) was both a Navy SEAL and played football with Don O'Neill in High School. My brother-in-law has also supported the Cossacks at the Oyster Run on several occasions. I'd be willing to bet Don has no idea he has these sorts of ties to the organization he so randomly singled out to riff on. In the end, it just sucks.

1 comment:

Flathead45 said...

Update. Thanks in part to an OVERWHELMING response from the Cossacks' legion of fans, I was invited to be on the Ron and Don show about 6:15pm, representing the Seattle Cossacks. Don gave us a straight-up, heartfelt apology, and gave us some air time to tell about the team. Thanks, KIRO 97.3.

Word to the wise... Don't mess with Cossack fans!