Wino Willie Forkner

Wino Willie Forkner founded the Boozefighters MC in California in 1946.

Wino Willie Forkner Boozefighters MC
Wino Willie Forkner Boozefighters MC

Wino Willie Forkner Early Life / Family Life

Willie Clyde Forkner Jnr. was born on 11 July, 1920.

The story goes that he got his nickname of “Wino” because as a 7 year old he would go to wineries in the Fresno area and have a drink.

Before World War II Willie Forkner joined the 13 Rebels Motorcycle Club in California, who had a strong focus on racing and socializing.

Joining the World War II effort he became part of a B-24 Liberator bomber crew in the South Pacific on an aircraft named the “Pacific Tramp”. Returning from the war he once again took to motorcycles with 13 Rebels, attending race meets. He grew frustrated with the club and decided to start something of his own, this is how Boozefighters MC was born.

He had 2 daughters, Patricia and Terrie, a son, William Forkner III and a wife, Terrie. They lived in Fort Bragg, California, which is located roughly 150 miles north of San Francisco.

Wino Willie Forkner Boozefighters MC

In 1946 Willie founded the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club in California when he was aged around 26 along with J.D. John Cameron. Some other of the original members included Fatboy Nelson, Dink Burns and George Menker. Their regular bar at the time was the All American Bar, located in South Gate, Los Angeles, California. This bar was also shared by his previous club, the 13 Rebels Motorcycle Club.

After the club expanded throughout the later parts of the 20th century the control of the club became difficult to manage, with many chapters opening and lots of different opinions on how the club should be run. Wino Willie Forkner decided to give away his rights to the Fort Bragg Chapter (Chapter #1), which he sold for $1.

He stood down from his role as Boozefighters President in 1993.

The story here goes that the two men who took over the club turned it into a profit making organization and after one of the two died Wino Willie Forkner tried to buy back the club in the mid 1990s, which was offered for sale to him for $14,641, a deal which he agreed to but was later withdrawn.

Wino’s Crew Motorcycle Club was then started in 1996 by some former members of the Boozefighters, with blessing of Wino Willie Forkner. They state that their aim is to carry on the memory, spirit and intent of the original chapters of the Boozefighters.

Wino Willie Forkner Boozefighters MC Logo

Wino Willie Forkner Death

Wino Willie Forkner died 23 June, 1997 of a ruptured aortic aneurism in Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, located in Santa Rosa, California.

According to SFGATE.com:

Four days earlier, in an interview with The Chronicle, he sounded perfectly robust and said he was itching to get on his Ducati and get down to Hollister so he could lead a parade through the streets on July 4.

“I’m ready for it,” the grizzled old biker said. “I’m going to stay there until the party’s over.”

The parade being discussed in the quote above was for the 50th anniversary of the Hollister Riot. His ill health and death seemed to have come as a surprise to many of the members in the motorcycle club who were planning on meeting with him at the rally.

He was age 76 at the time of his death, with a funeral service held at Chapel By The Sea in Fort Bragg, California.

Wino Willie Forkner Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital
Wino Willie Forkner Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Wino Willie Forkner Media

Movie – The Wild One starring Marlon Brando.

The movie The Wild One is loosely based on the Hollister Riot events, in no means should it be viewed as an accurate depiction. The character “Chino”, played by actor Lee Marvin in the movie is based on Wino Willie Forkner. It is believed that Wino Willie may have had a small consultant role in the production of the movie. Find out more on Amazon (link opens in a new tab).

Boozefighters MC The Wild One Marlon Brando
Boozefighters MC The Wild One Marlon Brando

Book – The Original Wild Ones: Tales of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club by Bill Hayes.

This book tells the story of the history of the Boozefighters MC, who were one of the clubs in attendance at the Hollister Riot. Statements made in the book by members who attended the rally make it clear that the situation was widely blown out of proportion by the media. Find out more on Amazon (link opens in a new tab).

Book The Original Wild Ones Tales of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club Bill Hayes
Book The Original Wild Ones Tales of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club Bill Hayes

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