How it started... in the NCR, and in Canada.
Chapter 437, Ottawa-Gatineau
Now you might be wondering; how did Chapter 437 get started? We are glad you ask. A little knowfact is that initially, Chapter 343 was the first SCRC Chapter in Ottawa. It remained a "paper" Chapter and never took off. Chapter 437 was started in October of 2004 by Gerry "LoonStar" Goulet, who was the first "First officer of 437". The Club was started with the help of Chapter 354 Montréal, which Gerry had contacted for information. Dave “cruZer” Strevens, our retired First Officer, and Pat “Medic” Brizay our present First Officer soon joined Gerry. Initial meetings were held at Timmies on Montréal Road. Thank you Tim Hortons...
Together they started recruiting and soon it became apparent that they were on the right track. Since then, people have come and gone, some have returned, some were never heard of again. Most of the original "die-hard" are still present, but a new crop of members joins the club every years. The club has seen many changes along the way, but one thing remained true throughout: Friendship and the need to ride.
The birth of the SCRC in Canada
The present President of the SCRC, Rick Perry better known as “Rickster”, founded the Southern Cruisers Riding Club (SCRC), in the United States, in Memphis Tennessee. It was in the early spring of 1999 that John Payne first became aware of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club. While browsing the Internet he came across a link to a riding club called The Southern Cruisers Riding Club. John was immediately struck by their simple approach to what riding, as a club was all about. The emphasis on riding and the lack of rules and regulations or the need for meetings or commitments of any kind sounded like just the thing John was looking for. He was already a member of a club, which had more than enough rules and regulations and felt it was definitely time for a change.
There was and is simple processes to apply for membership online and as there were no dues or any other form of payment required. John figured he had nothing to lose. In about 3 days he received an email welcoming him to the Club and informing him that he was the first Canadian to have joined and was given a "Member at Large" ID number. About 3 months after joining, John discovered that someone had started a chapter in the Toronto area and he immediately sent the 1st Officer an e-mail letting him know he was in the area and interested in joining his chapter. However, before they were able to communicate, John decided to investigate the possibility of starting a chapter of his own in the Burlington area. John sent in a request for chapter application and on a Friday evening shortly thereafter, he received a phone call from the Membership Director in Memphis, Tennessee, who at the time was Bill Strebel. Bill wanted to know if John understood what was expected of him as a chapter 1st Officer and if he was prepared to put in the effort to make a success of the Chapter. Bill went on to describe the Southern Cruisers, it's origin and it's basic philosophy. John assured him that he was prepared to do whatever was necessary and Burlington's Chapter 57 was born. It was at this point that the history of the SCRC in Canada grew beyond chapter 57 and soon began to encompass the entire country. It was clear that the philosophy of the Club; no dues, no meetings and no commitments of any kind had struck a cord with bikers everywhere and our membership continued to grow to the point that it became necessary to form new chapters.
It is no surprise to anyone who has been with this club for awhile that the growth continues at a phenomenal rate and as such, it was decided for that reason we needed to split Canada into two regions, East and West. This led to the need for a 2nd Regional Officer for Western Canada , responsible for Manitoba , Saskatchewan , Alberta , British Columbia , Yukon Territory , Northwest Territories and Nunavut. A lot has changed since the club began here in Canada and there have been and will continue to be changes to the officer ranks as some folks move on and others step in to take their place. The one thing that doesn't seem to change is the continued success and growth of this great club! The continued growth of the club necessitated the need to establish our first Provincial Officer in February of 2004, for the province of Ontario. Shortly thereafter a need for a 2nd Provincial Officer for the Province of Quebec was recognized and established. The duties of the Provincial officers are the same as outlined for State officers in the USA and as time goes by and the need arises, more Provincial officers will be established. Current Provincial Officers are Butch "Bulldog" Ouimette in Ontario along with Paul "TooTall " Devitt as Assistant Provincial officer and Mark "the Wrench" Brooker in Quebec.
In the spring of 2006, after 7 years of commitment and dedication to the growth of the club in Canada, John Payne felt it was time for a well deserved rest and announced at the annual Eastern Canada Officer's meeting that Mike Langevin (then Ontario Provincial Officer), would be assuming the responsibilities of Regional Officer of Eastern Canada and held the Regional Officer position from 2006-2013 with responsibilities for Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland. Once again, at the same annual Eastern Canada Officer's meeting in 2013, Mike announced to his fellow Officer's that it was time to pass on the torch. With that, it was announced that Mike Riddick who currently held the Ontario Provincial Officer's position, would assume responsibilities for Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland effective immediately. Wade Noble of British Columbia held the Western Regional Officer position. Wade "Zeek" Noble stepped down in 2014. The Western Regional Officers vacancy was then re-amalgamated with the Eastern and is now known as Regional Officer of Canada. At the present time, Mike Riddick maintains the position.
Our Canadian SCRC chapters are not fictional nor are they deemed "anticipated growth". They are existing organized, active and functional groups that are all part of the worldwide family of chapters. We are without doubt Canadian, but we're also proud to be part of a much bigger organization with much bigger benefits. Whether your planning a trip to Bike Week in Florida in January, Americade and/or Laconia in June, Sturgis in August, Peggy's Cove and the Cabot Trail in the East or the beautiful Rockies in the West, you can look up a local chapter or several chapters along your route, make contact and expect to be welcomed by any of our members nation wide and feel at home with them the moment you arrive.
As of December 2014, there are currently 63 Active SCRC chapters across Canada with 166 Chapter Officer's and approximately 6,020 Canadian members. Worldwide membership is at 30,178 with 515 Chapters including: USA, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Korea, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland. The fellowship and joy of riding combined with the "Keep it Simple" philosophy of the SCRC will, continue to make this club the success that it is in the years to come.