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One Percenters

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Hell's Angels
Central Press / Stringer / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Definition: The term "One-Percenters" originated from the July 4, 1947 motorcycle rally held in Hollister, California. The rally, which was attended by approximately 4,000, captured media attention after a fight broke out between two motorcycle clubs, the Boozefighters and the Pissed Off Bastards.

Life magazine ran a pictorial series of the annual rally which sparked both fascination and concern about the violent, unruly nature of the growing subculture of motorcycle groups.

The event became known as the "Hollister Riot" although there is no real documentation that an actual riot occurred.

Afterwards, films about motorcycle clubs with members depicting bad behavior began hitting the movie theaters. The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando, brought particular attention to gang-type behavior displayed by members of motorcycle clubs.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) defended the reputations of its members to the press, stating that 99 percent of bikers are law-abiding citizens, but there's that last "one percent" that are nothing more than "outlaws."

The term caught on and new motorcycle gangs emerged, called the "one-percenters," which included the Hells Angels.
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