I’ve been obsessed with patches for a long while, ever since my Dad started giving me extra Army Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI) when I was a child. When I got into scooters it was a bonus that scooterists are mental about collecting scootering related patches. When you go to a rally or a sufficiently big “do” (party) you snag a patch, usually included in your registration kit, to sew onto your scootering jacket to show off where you’ve been. Some people have so many that the jacket itself disappears nearly entirely! It’s a bragging rights thing, I guess. But it’s two of my favorite things: patches and scootering!
This first one I got back in 2000, at the last “old school” rally in Lawrence, Kansas. And by “old school” I mean before the second wave of scooter imports hit the States. Ralph Nader, the EPA, and the State of California killed the import market in the mid 1980s because almost all the scooters were 2-stroke and very dirty. But Europeans developed cleaner engines and more efficient carburetors and eventually, when gas prices began to rise toward the ridiculous levels of today, new imports began to arrive.
The rally was called, “Kick Back & Relax”, and the theme was “Apocalypse Now” because the year was 2000. That’s another oddity in itself. Before we learned of the ancient and wise Mayans and how we are all going to die in 2012, everyone was convinced that some fellow named Yeshua was going to return from space and blow the planet up. This patch is a type I do not prefer, but the scene was smaller back then, more DIY, and the rally organization of this event was pretty much ad hoc and last minute, so cheap screen printing it was:
This next patch is significant because it marks the return of the US scooter scene in the Kansas City Metro (GKC) in a big way back in 2004. I mentioned the “old school” idea before, and it’s not a derogatory or exclusionary thing, just a way to mark the difference in eras. New scooter shops were opening up and old brands were returning with new models and entirely new manufacturers were hitting the scene. Lots and lots of people who were unconnected the previous subculture became enthusiastic about riding and formed clubs around local dealerships. The Mad Toto Scooter club (MTSC) had some members from a previous Kansas City scooter club called Upsetters SC as their link to the subcultural aspect, and the magazine Scoot! Quarterly was a shop mainstay as another link to the bygone era. It wasn’t long before the newcomers took the American Scooterboy subculture and made it their own. This rally, the Tornado R’Alley, was a modest start for what would become the biggest scooter rally in the Midwest. The MTSC are good people and still riding and hosting rallies today:
This patch is from their second rally. And I’m just going to go ahead and post the rest of the patches with dates. This one is from 2006. As I recall I had a lot of fun:
You can see that I skipped a year. That was the year that I didn’t have a scooter. I was a part of a scooter club but that year things were starting to slow down socially for me and I had dropped out. I had sold my scooter the previous Fall even, upset with its constant engine problems (an entirely different and long story!), and bought a motorcycle to tinker with. The whole year was a year of transitions for me, not the least because that was the year I also graduated from Johnson County Community College with an AA and moved up to the University of Kansas. But yeah, TRVI was fun; I still didn’t have my own scooter that year, but I borrowed my mother’s Honda Passport (which is really neat, by the way) and rode up for the Saturday night partying that they were having in Midtown at the El Torreon.
This next set of patches has an interesting story behind them. At one point there were a few different scooter clubs in Kansas City, and they didn’t exactly get along well. There were some personality conflicts and misunderstandings, and at one point a whole lot of smack talking. Some of us, myself included, saw it for the BS that it was and made the effort to “bring the tribes together”. The idea was that the different clubs had their different styles and way of doing things, but that we all shared the same streets with our beloved scooters. So KC United was born, a way to say you loved scooters and Kansas City and hang out with people you might not normally hang out with in a neutral way. And it was fun!
This first patch was both a “membership” patch and a rally patch. KCUtd was organized by a group of three people representing different sections of the GKC scootering scene, and that first rally was wicked fun. The MTSC threw bigger and more organized rallies, but KCUtd was a GKC thing for GKC riders for the most part, though there was attendees from beyond the metro. Full disclosure: I designed the KCUtd stuff and sold it at cost. But here is the first one, and it can still be seen on the riding jackets of several people around town:
It was a nice idea, but it didn’t last. It achieved its purpose of getting the different scooter clubs together, and friendships were made and fun was had, but clubs don’t last forever. MTSC is, to my knowledge, the only club still active, the others having dissolved or become irrelevant for other reasons. There was a second KC United rally. To tell you the truth, at the time of my writing this I can’t remember much about it except making the patches. I did a LOT of drinking back then. I’m sure there’s some pictures of it somewhere that would refresh my memory, but I rarely see my friends from the other clubs anymore, and I don’t see anyone from my old club anymore. But here it is, sporting the Italian color scheme take on the first patch:
So those are the rally patches I have. I don’t doubt that I will get more, since I bought myself a new Stella last year. I love scootering. I don’t think I’ll ever have anything to do with being in a club anymore, but I will always be into my bikes!