Motorcycles will be rolling into Red Bluff starting Friday for the Thunder Rolls :: Washington Confederation of Clubs :: Wear your Patch with Pride
BY: JULIE ZEEB California – Motorcycles will be rolling into Red Bluff starting Friday for the Thunder Rolls for Charity event to be held this weekend at the Tehama District Fairground, and city and county law enforcement officials are concerned. “The (police) chief and I went out and met Mr. (Mark) Eidman (fairground CEO) when we first heard the event was coming,” said City Manager Martin Nichols. “This is obviously in the county and run by the fair board so the city doesn’t have much say. There are good elements and bad elements (that will be in attendance), and one of the concerns is some of the groups attending making Red Bluff a place where people congregate.” Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker spoke to the fair board at Tuesday’s meeting about his concern over the event. “The reason I have concerns is that if you go to their page, there are outlawed motorcycle groups pictured as showing up at their events,” Parker said. “I told them they had to have six private security. The Christian Motorcycle group is what they want to bring, and you can’t police your own.” Alcohol consumption among those attending the gathering was another concern. “This Saturday, the roving DUI patrol will be out because of the Olive Festival and that’s at the request of the two chiefs,” Parker said. The group has found someone for security and had an ABA alcohol license approved Wednesday morning. Red Bluff Police Chief Scott Capilla also expressed concern over the event. “For me, it has nothing to do with motorcyclists,” Capilla said. “I was the motorcycle cop for years. My concern is this group has an element of outlaw motorcycle gangs. They call themselves 1 percent’ers.” Capilla said he spent some time in the 1990s working on the narcotics task force and worked with motorcycle gangs. During that time, there was one motorcycle gang associated with a fire bombing of the Butte County District Attorney’s Office and more that were heavily involved in manufacturing and distributing drugs, especially methamphetamine, he said. “I’m not a gang expert,” Capilla said. “You can have 1,000 people there and have 950 that are good and 50 that aren’t. They have no problem abusing people or violating laws. They kind of hold themselves above the law and that disrupts the fun of the whole thing.” Capilla said he feels this weekend’s event will attract that type of people. “I don’t feel our community wants motorcycle gangs,” Capilla said. “We don’t want the criminal element in our community. I do not want Tehama County or the city of Red Bluff to become a destination spot for the outlaw motorcycle gangs that will attend this event.” The possibility of having two warring gangs attend also worries Capilla. He has talked with law enforcement officials with outlaw motorcycle gang expertise and learned there are opposing factions within the motorcycle gang culture, including gangs in Shasta County. “There are certain motorcycle elements that are warring over territories,” Capilla said. “If we have both those groups come to our event, I don’t believe we’d be able to stop it. We’d have to clean it up afterward.” The Red Bluff Police Department will have extra staff Friday and Saturday to prepare for the event just in case something does happen, he said. “I think it would be irresponsible if I didn’t,” Capilla said. “We aren’t going to turn an eye to any lawless behavior. We will be dealing with it vigorously.” The Avoid The 5 traffic patrol will also work Saturday. “I hope everyone enjoys themselves at this event and that no one gets disappointed or hurt,” Capilla said. Eidman said he believes Capilla is overreacting and is not worried at all about this weekend’s event, which includes a ceremony to honor those who have died in Iraq, a burnout competition and a loudest pipes competition. “The whole thing is a gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts to raise money for charities,” Eidman said. “It’s just a fun event. It really is a family event we hope the community will attend.”
Organizers told the Daily News that all proceeds from the event, after expenses, would go to Teen Challenge, Alternatives to Violence, Camp Eagle Flight, local holiday food drives in Shasta and Tehama counties and Cystic Fibrosis.
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