Up Inductees announced Palm Bay Resident Biker roars into fame Rogue's Inauguration

 

 

 

 

ROGUE'S INAUGURATION

 

On August 10 2005, in Sturgis South Dakota I attended the inauguration of my close friend and brother John (Rogue) Herlihy into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. I was honored to be there and I listened closely as Berry Wardlow described what Rogue had accomplished and why he was chosen to be remembered with all the greats of motorcycling.

 Barry told of Rogueís fight to repeal the helmet law in Connecticut and his fight for biker rights. With limited time and in front of an audience Berry couldnít tell you all the other reasons Rogue belongs with this crew.

 I met Rogue 25 years ago in a motorcycle shop in Melbourne Fl. Me a motorcycle police officer and he part owner in a repair shop. When I walked into his shop the first time, well letís say, his partner under the influence of some weird shit got on the floor and barked at me. Rogue to the rescue, while friends took rover in the back Rogue tried to explain as only Rogue can, why the dog was off chain and loose in the shop. Needing to get my tired police scooter repaired I overlooked the watch dog incident and Rogue was happy to turn our attention to my motorcycle. After a check of my 1980 FLH Rogue gave me a fair price to put her back in good shape. In those days the Police Department didnít care who did the work as long as it was cheap. Well Rogue cut some prices and with a little help in the labor department he got the work. After seeing Rogueís tool box, work area and work ethicís it didnít take me long to learn to trust his work. When he said it would be done it was. If he said it was tired and we needed a new part, we did. Honest and fair are big words in my book and it didnít take long for Rogue and I to become friends. He learned he could trust me to be honest with him and not always take the side of the cops and he was honest with me not always taking the side of scooter riders. Not long after Rouge and I met my personal ride, 1974 shovel needed some serious transmission work after someoneís ego exceeded his equipment during a late night test of speed with a new Evo. Little did I know I was no match for the bigger motor. The only way to beat the Evo was to out shift the other guy, I slammed 3 rd gear hard, my bad !!! when my shovel came to a stop there was a trail of transmission parts from shift point to stop. This meant some time at Rogueís house. The shop had closed and Rogue worked at home. Well when Rogue gets done with a tranny it shifts like butter. Time passes and the scooter is long gone but the memory of that smooth tranny will last a life time. I havenít had one like it since.

 During the first years of being Rogueís friend I realized he was not just and outlaw, trust me, the real deal, ex-prez of a loosely formed group of motorcycle enthusiasts (Huns) and a person you never wanted to fuck with, but Rogue was smart he learned the system and used it, most of the time better than the politicians. Rogue chose his battles wisely. If you came to Rogue with a problem he would listen, if it warranted his attention he would address it, if you had a personal axe to grind or if you tried to bullshit the bullshitter then you were out of luck.

 I look around at all the people riding Harleys these days and wonder if they realize how close they came to never experiencing the ride they enjoy today. What it is that makes them feel free when the straddle that big loud Harley and at 40+ years old get on the street and act like they are bad ass. The feeling they get when on Saturday night they get 5 or 10 of them together and ride into town making lots of noise. As they rumble down the streets they feel free. I wonder where we would be today if it werenít for people like Rogue. The ones that lived the life most want but donít have the balls to live out. Rogue has few rules. If you violate one of those rules then you pay the price. In return Rogues knows the laws, if he breaks the law he will pay the price. Over the years I have seen Rogue pay for his outlaw ways with some timeouts (not just standing in the corner) and I have seen Rogue dispense punishment for violating his rules. Most recently while waiting in line at the county fair to use the bathroom a slightly intoxicated young redneck walked pass everyone in line and started in the john. Rogue approached the larger redneck and informed him of his grave error. The younger man without thought told Rogue to mind his own business and put his foolish young hand on Rogue. Lights out!!! When his friends got him up and the Sheriffís Department arrived the young redneck demanded Rogue be charge with battery. Rogue put up no fuss, he has very willing to accept a written notice to appear for a battery charge but if he was going to be charged he would only be obligated to return the action and press charges against the young redneck for battery. O, by the way, Rogue is over 65 Yrs. old, Battery on an elderly person, Felony, go to jail, go straight to jail. Even a drunken redneck figured he was in a lose, lose situation. Time to go home. By the way Rogue didnít lose his place in line. Everyone in line made sure of that.

 Rogue, now like always fights for our rights, some we donít even know are being violated or abused. Rogue continues to monitor what goes on with the legal system. He adapted with the times and today writes and distributes information on his website, bikerrouge.com.

Over the years Rogue and I have endured the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have both lost friends, good scooter tramps and good cops. During those times we demanded respect from our colleges toward the other side. We survived over zealous cops and out of control scooters tramps. There were times when our own didnít quite trust us, but Rogue never told me anything that could hurt someone and I never told Rouge anything that compromised our trust. If I had told Rogue something confidential or he had ratted on a friend neither one of us would have been able to trust each other. It was a lesson we both learned the hard way. In 1999 after one of Rogues confrontations with the legal system I was called into my bosses office and told that under no circumstances was I to have any contact either by phone or in person with Rogue. It seems our friendship had made to many people uneasy. One of the hardest things I have ever done was to stay away from a friend and brother. With the exception of his sons wedding and two other casual meetings were both abided by the rules. On February 4th, 2003 at 10:37 A.M. I retired from the police department. On February 4th,  2003 at 10:41 A.M. I made a phone call to my friend and brother and said ďHowdyĒ. It was like we had never stopped having contact. Now thatís a brother!

The life of an outlaw is not always an easy one. In the early years Rogueís fight for biker rights conflicted with his outlaw ways. No mater how many times you hit a senator or legislator in the face with your fist it always ended up the same, you lose and no one changes anything. Rogue learned and adapted to the new battle field. He learned to hit those people in the face with a different fist, the written word.  He started writing his thoughts and beliefís down on paper. He read what other people wrote and chose allies with skill. In Rogues world you had better be able to read your opponent quickly then use their weakness against them. Rogue learned that most changes came after large public outcry and when the (people) learned why foolish laws were made they would respond in large numbers. Now with all that in place you get a large crowd of bikers to assemble in front of an elected Politician. You be very, very outspoken, bring the press and make sure the Politician hears you and magically things change. One battle after another and pretty soon you get good at their game.

Rogue has never forgotten his roots and today at 67 years old he has mellowed just a little. With grandkids around the house now there is a lot less swearing and drinking but the lessons of life go on. Rogue still demands respect from those around him including his children, just ask his daughter if she would take Rogueís last bag of gummy bears again, NOT, or see how long his grandkids act like brats around his house, not long. More active than ever with biker rights Rogue quickly learned the power of the computer and internet Rogue has become way more dangerous now than he ever was as an outlaw biker. He operates his website: bikerrouge.com and spends countless hours sifting through information and passing along information that will affect all of us that ride today and tomorrow.  

Donít think for a minute Iím implying Rouge isnít as tough as heís always been. Even today he is a hardcore biker. For his inauguration into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Sturgis this year his 36 yr old son and I took the 2100 mile ride from Florida to Sturgis in my Dodge truck pulling our motorcycles in Rogueís trailer while the old man and his crazy brother Berry Wardlow  rode their scooters. Not that lots of people didnít ride long distances to get to Sturgis but I donít think there are many (like none) that can say they rode an 1100 mile day. Yeah, one day 1100 miles at 67 yrs old. I donít know what your description of tough is but in my book that ride makes you one tough old man.

In the future people will look at Rogues name incrusted with a select few people that have made motorcycling what it is today. They will read about his success in helping abolishing the helmet law and how he fought for bikerís rights. I just wanted to put down on paper the true reasons John (Rogue) Herlihy belongs in this group. His honesty, his dedication and his love for the freedom he feels when riding his motorcycle. John Herlihy has stood the test of time and wears the name Rogue like it was meant to be worn. After all these years and all these fights he still strives to protect our right to ride free.

Thanks Rogue we wouldnít be here if you had quit.

 

---Blayne

 

 

 

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