The Deacons of Deadwood Motorcycle Club’s mission is to be a respected motorcycle club by having members of outstanding character who are dedicated to fun, safe motorcycle riding, and supporting local charities benefiting children.
The Club was founded in 2002 by 13 Houston businessmen and professionals. The Club has grown to over 100 members and we take rides that are thousands of miles long. The Deacons are known and respected throughout the United States.
We believe the benefits of our great organization come with great responsibilities. We are a 501(c)(3) corporation that has donated over $2,000,000 to charities benefiting children in the Houston area. While many motorcycle clubs donate to charities, no club does it the way we do and our annual Charity Ball distinguishes us from all other motorcycle clubs. We simply have a style that allows us to attract members who otherwise would never consider joining a motorcycle club.
Our Membership meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month with the location to be determined. We gather around 6:30 and the meetings start at 7:30, with a cash bar. Most of our meetings are open to the public.
One of our goals at our founding was to develop a network of friends so that any Member could call for impromptu riding. We have achieved that goal. Rarely a day goes by when a Member does not send a Club-wide message to find some riding partners and often there are three or four local rides going on at any one time.
We also have official Club rides, but there are no mandatory rides. We ride annually to the Hill Country, Big Bend, Louisiana, Austin, and Sturgis among others. We also do Iron Butt Rides and rides throughout the United States and Canada.
While our original membership was primarily lawyers and businessmen, we are proud to say that our membership is now as diverse as the employment within our city. Members come from the oil industry, manufacturing, small business and ex professional athletes to name a few. Most of our Members are located in Houston, Texas, but we also have Members in other parts of Texas, several states, and a couple of foreign countries.
The spark that led to the birth of the Deacons of Deadwood came in 2001. The future founders of the Deacons of Deadwood would meet at a motorcycle shop owned by David Cook before riding to Stelter’s, a downtown Houston bar where hundreds of bikers would go on Thursday nights to drink beer, listen to loud bands, and then ride to other parts of the city. David was a great organizer and he would put together a trip each year to stay in Deadwood, South Dakota for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Unfortunately, David died in 2001. Soon afterwards, his son Ricky and Sam Allen thought about starting a motorcycle club. It turned out there was great interest and the Deacons of Deadwood Motorcycle Club was organized as a Texas not for profit corporation on April 22, 2002.
David Cook gave us our name. During one trip to Sturgis, a group of David’s friends were walking in Deadwood and David remarked that there were so many of us that we should be called the Deacons of Deadwood. The remark was remembered and we had our name.
Our main patch is a Dead Man’s Hand, which is the poker hand Wild Bill Hickock was holding when he was killed by Jack McCall in Deadwood. The hand is black aces, black eights and the nine of diamonds.
The Club grew quickly. We doubled in size within a couple of months. Many of the new Members were friends from the original group that used to ride with David Cook. Other new Members were friends of friends and the founders did not know some of those guys very well or at all. We relied on the good judgment of our existing Members to nominate quality new Members. We still pretty much operate that way. For more information about the history of our Club check out the definitive guide by one of our founding members.
Initially, the Deacons of Deadwood raised all of its funds through a single annual Charity Ball. Our goal from the outset was to put on a charity event that patrons would enjoy attending. Most of our Members donate to many charities each year, but dread having to attend all those “rubber chicken” events. The Deacons wanted to have a Charity Ball that our guests would look forward to attending and we have been successful.
The Ball is “Biker Formal,” the interpretation of which is left up to each guest. The emphasis is on fun, and our guests are encouraged to be creative, but tasteful. We have a pre-party at which our guests assemble before the Ball. From that venue, the Houston Police Motorcycle Unit escorts our Dead Mans’ Parade to the Ball by shutting down all the roads along the way. The Dead Mans’ Parade has involved as many as 150 bikes.
The first charity ball was in the fall of 2002. It was hard work, but we raised over $20,000 for Make-a-Wish. Our average fundraising has increased to over $200,000 a year. Beneficiaries have included Boys and Girls Country, Camp for All, the Devereux Foundation, Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund, Child Advocates, and many others.
One hundred percent of the net funds we raise are donated. We maintain separate bank accounts so Club funds are never comingled with charity funds. No Member receives any compensation for serving the Club as an officer, director, or in any other capacity. All of our Members are required to buy two tickets to the Ball whether or not they can attend, so every one of our Members supports our charitable efforts. To ensure transparency, our financial statements are audited by one of the largest accounting firm in the United States.