Basketball team welcomes motorcycle club sponsor
April 7, 2023
Nearly 50 members of the Redrum Motorcycle Club roared into the Gila River Indian Community on April 1 to visit the Gila River Basketball Team, which they sponsor. The club was greeted with signs, smiles and a traditional songs performed by Chi’Chino Spirit before everyone gathered in the District 3 Service Center gym for a few basketball games.
“It’s just great to support community,” said Cliff Mattias, International President of Redrum MC. “That’s really what Redrum is about.”
Founded in 2006, Redrum is an Indigenous-based motorcycle club focusing on brotherhood, motorcycling, community, respect, fundraising and supporting family. The idea of the name was initially developed as “RedDrum,” but during the formation of the club it became Redrum MC. It isn’t a reference to the book or movie “The Shining” and is not meant to be read backward.
Redrum MC has chapters throughout the U.S. and in Australia, New Zealand, Morocco and Brazil. Arizona has four chapters: First Nations Valley of the Sun, First Nations San Carlos, First Nations Dine Nation, and First Nations Mestizos.
The stop at GRIC was part of the seventh-anniversary ride hosted by the First Nations Valley of the Sun chapter.
Redrum MC contacted Gila River Basketball in December of last year and offered to sponsor them after hearing what the team has done for the youth.
“We’re always open to any sponsors,” said head coach Brent Escalante, District 3, “but like the Redrum, that was really a sight to see today, to see them come in like that, and it just really felt good for them to speak to the kids as well.”
The Gila River Basketball team began in 2014 when Escalante created the team for his own children. He has since opened the team up for all ages, and now nearly a hundred youths represent the team in tournaments and leagues with much success.
“We have kids from kindergarten all the way to seniors in high school,” said Escalante. “Anybody who wants to come out, we’re always more than welcoming to anybody to come out.”
Jacob Pico, who joined the team last year, said, “So far, we’re going good; we just kept growing. All this time we create this bond, with the younger team too. It’s just this huge basketball team representing this reservation and just going out all over to play basketball.”
Mattias said, “We saw all these trophies and how amazing the team is doing and the coaches; it was an honor for us to be able to raise some funds to help support this program. It’s something that we want to continue.” He added, “I grew up in the streets of Brooklyn and a lot of us didn’t have this sort of community that can come together and really support.”
Alena Hutchinson, 12, said, “They came to support our Gila River Basketball team and it was fun. We did a 3v3 with them, and being on the team, it’s like a whole family.”
Gila River Basketball is now preparing for upcoming nationals and the Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI) tournament this summer.
Escalante said he greatly appreciates Redrum MC for reaching out and offering sponsorship funds that will go towards new and additional jerseys for the team.
“For them to come here and support us,” he said, “that really means a lot to, not just to me, but to the whole team, my wife and the other coaches as well.”