Invited guests to the Bikers' Banquet at the Washington State Penitentiary

Guests arriving for the Bikers’ Banquet

Starting in the summer of 1971, B. J. Rhay permitted various inmate organizations to hold banquets to which outside guests were invited. This tradition was continued and expanded both by Rhay and his successor, Douglas Vinzant. One group to hold annual banquets was the Washington State Penitentiary Motorcycle Association, better known as the Bikers.

The Bikers took over most of an old abandoned power house in the middle of the institution (see site plan). This is where they had their club area, reconditioned motorcycles, made shanks, smoked dope, and ran their heroin trade enforcement activities. Like the other major inmate clubs, the Bikers had the only keys to their building.

The Bike Shop had barrels of gasoline, acetylene torches, vices, bench grinders, and every other tool needed to work on motorcycles. One wall inside the Bike Club was decorated with an enormous swastika.

At first the Bikers tested their choppers in the northwest corner of the main institution, just to the west of their club. Later they were permitted to ride their bikes in the Big Yard where they also held their annual banquet.

Bikers 1

Chilling in the Big Yard

Entertainment at the banquet

Entertainment at the banquet

Some of the motorcycle clubs attending the banquet

Many motorcycle clubs were represented inside the prison and also came as invited guests

One thought on “BIKERS’ BANQUETS

  1. Good evening. You may not ever believe me but I used to visit my uncle in prison as a very young toddler. I remember this to this day being amongst the prisoners with my mom and dad. My uncle was incarcerated in Walla Walla for many years as well as my other uncle. Its so crazy that I came across your writings while looking for something completely separate from this topic. I remember this so vividly and when I’ve talked about this at various times of my 52 years of existence people look at me like I am crazy. I actually thought …maybe I pieced this together from some other world of dreams etc…you just brought it back to life for me. I have many many crazy stories from my childhood. Almost like those types of days never existed, but they did. My bear and I made it.

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