Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An Interview with Chops from The Leathernecks MC - Heartland Chapter

I recently had a chance to sit down and have a chat with a personal friend  who just happens to be part of a MC.  “Chops” is a member of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club here in Iowa. The Leathernecks MC is a national organization aimed at raising funds in support of veterans.  The Heartland Chapter is a registered non-profit with the state of Iowa.  The Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown is their primary benefactor.  The Iowa Veterans Home is the third largest state owned facility in the nation, housing over 600 veteran residents.  The Leathernecks also support the English River Outfitters (disabled veteran hunting organization) and the national Semper Fi Fund (disabled veteran financial support organization). 

IHG:  So Chops, tell us a little about yourself.
Chops:  I guess I’m your average American.  40 something, married with children, full time job, a mortgage and a hobby that I live for.

IHG:  What type of motorcycle do you ride?
Chops: A 2011 Honda Fury with a few personalized modifications.

IHG:  How long have you been riding?
Chops:  Off and on since I was 15 when I climbed onto my first dirt bike. 

IHG:  The MC world is often foreign to the general motorcycling community. What can you tell us about the Leathernecks MC?
Chops:  The Leathernecks Motorcycle Club is an organization dedicated to supporting Veterans, Marine Corps related functions, charitable organizations and to keeping POW/MIA awareness alive. We are a civilian organization with no affiliation with the United States Marine Corps or any other Club or Group. We are simply Marine Corps and Fleet Marine Force Navy Veterans, Active Duty Marines and FMF Corpsman.  We are a family oriented Club that understands the priorities of life...Family, Work, Club. The purpose of our Club is to foster a brotherhood committed to continued service outside of the military and within the world of motorcycling. Our members come from all ranks, billets and walks of life. Some served in combat and others during times of peace. It's not about the brand of motorcycle you ride, but rather that we ARE all United States Marines / FMF Corpsman and we all LIVE the motorcycle lifestyle.
Outside of our mission statement, we are a Motorcycle Club, therefore fall under specific protocols, separate from other riding groups or organizations.  We take our club very seriously, but have as much fun as humanly possible in the process, all while maintaining a level of respectability, both in the public eye and with other clubs. 

IHG:  What made you decide to join the Leathernecks MC?
Chops:  Well, the simple answer?  I missed the brotherhood from the Corps.  The Leathernecks have definitely filled that void.  Just knowing if you needed anything, they would ALL be there to help.  That is such a comfort.  I feel the same about all of my brothers…if they needed anything, I’d be there.  That’s what the MC community is all about, brotherhood, respect and living free!  It’s difficult to describe if a person has never had it.  Think of it as an extended family.  All family members are encouraged to participate in club functions.  Club functions are not always about raising funds for charity.  We have holiday parties, fun runs, bbq’s, attend concerts, even just getting together for a couple of beers, etc.  We all try to spend as much time with each other as we can, because we want to.  We all share the joys and sadness of each other’s lives as any family does.

IHG:  If someone was interested, what does it take to become a member and how can they get in touch with your club?
Chops:  We are always working to build brotherhood with other Marines and grow the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club.  The basic requirements are, 1. Active Duty or Honorably discharged Marine/FMF Corpsman.  2. Own and ride a lawfully registered and insured motorcycle. (being physically unable to ride doesn't necessarily disqualify you from becoming a member).  There are other requirements which are less tangible.  An interested party would make contact with us, and start a ‘hang-around’ period.  During this time, the person would decide if they’d like to become a member.  If the person is deemed to be a good fit and shows dedication to attend functions and be involved, they then become ‘prospects’.  As a prospect, they are taught the MC protocol, what is expected of members and become more involved in the inner workings of the club.  Once the prospect has fulfilled all of the requirements, they then, have the opportunity to become full ‘patched’ members.
Those inquiring about membership or if others want to follow along with our activities, they can visit our Heartland Chapter website at ‘’ for more information.  If someone is looking for a chapter outside of Iowa, they can go to ‘’, which is our national site that allows them to choose a state and provides them a contact in their area.

IHG:  What activities or where could someone find the Leathernecks during the upcoming riding season?
Chops:  We are currently working to finalize our official event schedule for 2014.  However, we get out and ride as much as our lives will allow (and then some).  We try to hit as many bike nights, poker runs and parties as possible.  Or, we’ll just get together and ride where ever the next turn takes us.  For those planned events, they can check our chapter website in the events section for a full list of where we plan to be.

IHG:  Thank you for taking the time to talk with me and providing more insight to the MC world.  I hope to get to spend some miles with your chapter this riding season.
Chops:  You're welcome.  We are always glad to get to know more folks, those that share our passion.  

As Motorcycle Clubs have been dramatized on recent reality television shows, the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club is the real deal.  They enjoy the brother/sister hood of sharing in something that bonds them together more than most of society could understand.  If you see them, stop, say hello, they are a great group of people.

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