The Story of the River City Beemers
as told by Founding Member Earl Mattingly in June 1996.
In the late seventies and early eighties, I rode with my son and his friends, all of whom owned a variety of motorcycles: a Honda 750, a Yamaha 1100, a Suzuki 650, a Kawasaki 1000 and me on a BMW R100/7. We rode mostly on day trips with an occasional overnight camp-out. But I wanted even more riding time, and as a result, I often rode alone.
An acquaintance told me about a club for riders over 40 and owning any brand of bike. They were the Retreads and their club was a loosely knit organization. I joined them, but it seemed like we lacked a common denominator. I mean, who wants to talk about Harleys and Hondas all the time. So I encouraged the other Beemer riders to join a BMW club. There was no local club at the time, so I organized one. Ozzie's BMW Center, Joe Sarkee's Motorcycles, and J&J Precision Cycle Works helped a great deal by giving me the names of BMW owners in this area. I sent postcards to each, informing them of a meeting to be held in Carmichael Park on Halloween 1982 to discuss formation of a club. Thirty-one (31) riders attended and most all liked the idea of a local BMW club.
I tried to get a volunteer to take this group and build a club as recommended by the majority of members. No one volunteered and several persons suggested that I serve as Director, Leader, or whatever, and we would rotate every six months. After each six months, no one wanted the job. We were an informal group with no officers, no business meetings, and no dues. I published a newsletter and collected $5.00 a year from those that wanted the newsletter. Everyone subscribed. As we grew in numbers, it was clear that everyone liked the club as it was. At the time we were known as the No Name BMW Club.
Some thought we should have a more meaningful club name. The January '83 newsletter asked for recommendations for a club name. Our members showed their creativity with 42 different alternatives!
In the end, River City Beemers was the popular choice. Two other names tied for runner-up: The original No Name Club and River City BMW Club.
The first membership roster in the January 1983 newsletter listed 53 members. Charter members still with us include Rick Blake, Rocky Calvello, Richard Dean, Ken Gerard, Earl Mattingly, Bruce Parrish, Bud Phelps, Bill Riviere, Kirk Stubbs, and Pete Wilbert. Earl Compton was a charter member but passed away last week (June 1996). Credit also needs to go to Matt Smith, who contributed many tech articles, and my wife Deniece, who typed, stamped and mailed of the newsletter.
(ed.: Earl served as director of the club through January 1989, one of our longest serving directors. Today, the River City Beemer membership numbers are close to 200, most of who are active in the club, making us Northern California's largest and most active BMW Motorcycle Club.)