If you hang out at local biker bars or attend charity rides, you more than likely will notice a group of bikers wearing black and silver cuts that read Gringo’s. Every time I see them, I always wonder why there is an apostrophe in the word ‘Gringo’s’, I am curious if they meant it to be plural or a possession of something. I am a stickler when it comes to grammar, so I asked the president, Mark Sousa during a phone conversation. He tells me the history, “The word Gringo is a Spanish, French, and Portuguese word that existed far before there was ever a country called Mexico.” He thought it was quite interesting that I had asked that question about the apostrophe and continues, “The word itself was used to describe someone who was not from the same village, a foreigner, speaking a different and unknown language ‘gibberish’, someone who is different. Gringo has origins in the Greek language as ‘Griego’. We are Gringo’s because we look different, we speak different, we think different, and we are different. We are not in the mainstream of life, but we do live in its tributaries and tidal pools. The members belong to Gringo; therefore, they are Gringo’s.”
Gringo’s MC was established in 1988 in the town of Terhagen, Belgium. Friends who lived and grew up together, shared a love and idea of all things Americana, motorcycles, and Harley Davidson.
Mark tells me more about the Gringo’s and said that in the mid 90’s, these friends made a pilgrimage to Sturgis Rally. There they met a few kindred spirits from Colorado, international visits soon followed to Belgium and the US, and friendships evolved. In 2005, an opportunity was presented to charter a Denver Chapter, from that point on it has been a rollercoaster of a ride.
Gringo’s MC Denver currently has multiple Denver metro chapters, and in two years, it will celebrate its 15-year anniversary right here in Denver. The Gringo’s MC in Terhagen, Belgium Chapter celebrated its 30-year anniversary in 2018.
Gringo’s MC members are all from different ethnicities, cultures, and race. They welcome those who are honest, trustworthy, of good character, a good friend and brother. No one is perfect, they are not perfect. As with any family, they are functional and at times dysfunctional. Who isn’t, right?
Gringo’s MC is a motorcycle club, and it is structured and organized to ensure it lives and thrives in our local and global MC community. It is also a family club in the sense that they look to become family and take the word “Brother” for what it means. Not just a casual expression as it has come to be. Brother means just what it is, for bad or for worse ‘I am my Brother’s Keeper’.
Mark claims, “Our little bit of difference is that we choose to be part of each other’s day-to-day life and commit to one another’s well-being. We begin this journey by becoming friends and evolve to being brothers, a family. We are family not by blood, but by life and by choice.”
He says proudly, “We follow three simple life priorities: 1. Family (Home), 2. Job, and 3. MC. The goal is to strike a balance between all, but one should never forsake home, nor work. Our life revolves around the motorcycle, it is the centerpiece, it is the primary means of conveyance for everyone. If one’s job permits it, it’s not below freezing, and there is no ice on the road, the motorcycle is choice year-round.”
It was interesting to hear that Gringo’s Denver is active in its community in both charity fundraisers and projects. Everything from helping those in financial need, health, illness, as well as supporting our military veterans. On occasion, Gringo’s MC Denver will partner and host charitable events for these very causes. They also support and advocate for motorcyclist’s rights, they are active in supporting legislative actions that benefit all riders and oppose those who would risk their freedom of choice and the road.
Gringo’s MC simply desire to ride, keep life simple, live vicariously through one another’s experiences, tell a joke, share a story, and help a Brother. There is no magic to this, no Hollywood story, just a friend and brothers’ company.
As an international MC, they get to experience this on global level with friends, families, brothers and sisters. “Riding your Harley in America is great! Riding one in Europe is spectacular as well”, Mark boasts.
When one wears the Gringo’s MC patch, they are an ambassador to all its members worldwide, and their MC community at large. It’s critically important that they have that awareness, responsibility, and accountability.
I had the privilege to be invited to their clubhouse and meet the president and some family members. When talking with Mark and learning about his life and his accomplishments, I realized what a humble, happy guy he is. He tells me, “We must be politically aware and astute of our MC environment and those things that would affect our community at large in addition to all motorcycle riders, however, an MC is about having a fun, riding, and closing out the day with a road story, a cold beer and a brother.” Mark ends our conversation saying, “We are to be the rebels of life’s daily norm and outlaws in spirit. We must never lose sight of our primary goal of coming together. If we are not having “FUN”, then why are we doing it?”
In closing, I found there were many misconceptions about motorcycle clubs in the riding community and was pleased to learn that the club members share the same love and passion for family and riding that independent riders have. Thank you, Gringo’s MC for allowing us a glimpse inside your world.