NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One of the largest motorcycle clubs in Nashville and across the country has been the Iron Order. What are they about? Should you be concerned?
Newschannel 5 went inside this club where the leather wearing, tattoo-sporting members said you can't always judge a book by its cover.
"People look and be scared, but you don't know unless you know the club because we all kind of look alike don't we?" said a local Iron Order member who goes by the club name Whiskey.
That has been a problem for motorcycle club members everywhere -- especially after what happened in Waco, Texas in May.
Police said a confrontation involving criminal motorcycle gangs led to nine deaths and 170 bikers were arrested.
"It paints the whole thing in a bad light... yeah, we feel some of that," said Whiskey.
The Iron Order has been a national motorcycle club, not a gang, but a club with a chapter in Nashville.
The clubhouse on Old Hickory Boulevard has always been hard to miss. Intimidating? Maybe, but don't be fooled by the leather vests and tattoos.
"It's the largest law abiding club in the country," said member John Whitfield who has been a successful lawyer and can be quite at home in a suit and tie.
"Yeah, I am, but I like to ride bikes, too, and it's a good fit," said Whitfield.
He has known the stereotypes about bikers, so he agreed to allow us into the Order's clubhouse, a first for local media.
Here the members all go by well-earned, road-names: Goliath, Robo, Animal, and Whiskey.
"We come here and we hang out with each other," said Whiskey.
They said they're not an outlaw club or gang -- the so-called one-percent known for criminal activity.
But Iron Order members have worn the same traditional three piece patches on their vests you see on most bikers.
"The upper is your club name, the middle patch is the logo if you will, and then the lower rocker is where you're from," said Whiskey.
Whitfield has worried about stereotypes -- especially after Waco.
"The public doesn't know one club from another one. They see these ominous patches, tattoos, long hair," said Whitfield.
But he said the Iron Order has always been about fellowship and helping others.
The club recently raised money for a member's family that lost everything to a fire.
"We're so grateful to have an extended family like Iron Order," said the recipient.
"We look at that as the core value of our club -- put our brother before ourselves," said Whitfield.
That hasn't squared with many people's typical image of a biker.
"People think we are something that we're not," said Whiskey.
The Iron Order has been out to change that. The Iron Order -- like other large motorcycle clubs -- has been monitored by the ATF nationwide.
Locally, we checked with Metro police and the Iron Order has not been on their radar. They have not been linked to any recent criminal activity here.