82 years of Racing, Riding and Raising a Little Hell

   82 Years  



The Moonshiners Motorcycle Club was established as the Compton Moonshiners Motorcycle Club near Compton, California in 1934, by a group of guys who were all about racing, riding and raising a little hell. The Moonshiners MC was one of the many Southern California clubs made famous by their actions in 1947 at Hollister CA. The club has been mentioned in several books written about the earlier days of motorcycle clubs in Southern California.


The Moonshiners MC got its name from one of its founding members, Tennessee Floyd Bagshaw, who was a second generation moonshiner from the hills of Tennessee. During the height of Prohibition and worried the revenues were getting close to him, Tennessee Floyd left his past indiscretions behind and rode his motorcycle to Compton California to look for honest work. Unable to find decent work, it wasn't long until Tennessee Floyd went back to his old ways and what he knew best, making moonshine. In the years that followed, Tennessee Floyd and a few of his closest buddies used their bikes to run their shine all over Southern California. Club folklore has it the guys sharpened their riding and racing skills by running from the law on the dirt back roads. After Prohibition ended, the bootleggers, Tennessee Floyd Bagshaw, Vegas Jack Vegestri, Frank McClery, Kenny Hylander, George Manker and Jon Davis Jr. formed the Moonshiners MC to race on dirt tracks in Southern California for a little extra cash. Unlike many clubs of the times the Moonshiners MC refused to join AMA. Because of that refusal to conform, they weren’t allowed to race in the AMA events as Moonshiners and were labeled an "Outlaw" motorcycle club. However because of the AMA larger cash payouts a couple of the Moonshiners MC members simultaneously were members of an AMA motorcycle called the 13 Rebels MC only for AMA race purposes, then went back running as Moonshiners after the race. The "outlaw" spirit shined through with the Moonshiners, fighting the establishment at every turn. 

Kenny Hylander was one of the Moonshiners MC best outlaw racers. Kenny helped to form the 13 Rebels MC in 1937 in order to race in the AMA races. Kenny can be seen in both Moonshiner MC and 13 Rebel MC photographs.

Another member, Fredolf “Swede” Johnson who rode a Zundapp (German) motorcycle was an accomplished racer across Southern California from the late 40’s to early 60’s. He raced along side racing great Bud Ekins and both were sponsored by the famous Johnson Motors of Pasadena CA. Because of his winning record he is listed in numerous racing publications. He left racing in the early 60’s to run on of the biggest Honda motorcycle dealers in the Northwest.


On December 14, 1939 the Moonshiners MC was awarded the "Top 13 Diamond Club Award" trophy, which indicated they were one of the "Top 13" "Southern California Outlaw Federation" outlaw motorcycle racing clubs of 1939. After being awarded the trophy the Moonshiners MC wore the SCOF Diamond 13 patch on their jerseys. The racers included: "Tennessee Floyd" Floyd Bagshaw,  Jack Vegestri "Vegas Jack", Frank McClery, Kenny Hylander, George Manker and Johnny Davis Jr. The SCOF Diamond 13 is still wore by the members to this day.

In the early 1940's, the Moonshiners MC was known to hang out at the All American Bar in Los Angeles, California with the other Southern California motorcycle clubs of the time, including the North Los Angeles MC, Road Runners, Glendale Strokers, Side Winders, Sinners, Pack Rats, Desert Donkeys, Gripsters, Jesters, Dust Makers, Dirt Diggers, Market Street Commandos, Satan's Sinners, Boozefighters, Yellow Jackets, Top Hatters, P.O.B.O.B and the 13 Rebels. The Moonshiners MC was one of the many motorcycle clubs made famous when it took part in the infamous 1947 biker invasion of Hollister and the 1948 biker invasion in Riverside. Unlike the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club who was blamed for the riots, the Moonshiners MC was able to evade the law and slipped out of both towns during the chaos. Much of these earlier clubs history is intertwined with each other, due to the racing events the clubs were involved in. The Moonshiners, 13 Rebels, Boozefighters and Market Street Commandos were a few of the clubs whose members simultaneously belonged to each other's clubs for racing purposes. 


Today's MOONSHINERS keeps alive the traditions of the club's beginnings. We strive to continue the long history of racing, riding and raising a little hell, add booze and brotherhood and it makes for a great time. Like many of the very early clubs, through the years the club patch has changed slightly, but keeps the original design. The design it that of a gun toting hillbilly, drinking moonshine and riding a motorcycle in the moonlight. Both our racing jerseys and our clubs patches are made by NLAMC of Southern California in the original style which is a very unique early '40's style of chenille and chainstitching. Each patch and jersey is handmade one at a time in the USA using the original techniques and patterns of yesteryear and produced on machines dating back to the turn of the century.  

Many of the club members, like those who came before them, are current or former military members of the military. We are all proud supporter of the U.S. military and continues in the efforts to support those who have sacrificed in service of their country.