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The Life and Dangerous Times of a One Percenter

Book Review by Kevin Thomas and Bill Hayes

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Now available here on Bikernet!
Now available here on Bikernet!

Most 1%er Motorcycle Club books are written by law enforcement types who have infiltrated clubs in order to make arrests and take those criminals down, by God! Other 1%er books are written by club insiders by themselves with the help of a ghost writer. Terry The Tramp: The Life and Dangerous Times of a One Percenter falls into the latter with a twist. This 1%er book is crafted by none other than all around motorcycle expert K. Randall Ball, otherwise known as Bandit of

The preface alone is worth the price of admission and tells the history of the modern motorcycle industry that began after WW2 and its effect on society. Ball chronicles the story of Terry 'The Tramp" Orendorf and the Vagos Motorcycle Club in a gripping and realistic manner. Several times I had to put the book down and take several deep breaths or an even longer break of a day or two before I could pick it up again.

The core subject of this book is freedom. The word freedom is easily thrown around, but what does it really mean? This country is sold to the rest of the world as a beacon of freedom and hope. Freedom is still the word associated with the idea of the United States of America.

Terry the Tramp is a familiar tale of a group of like minded motorcycle enthusiasts banding together against the world and pursuing their version of freedom. Not just the idea of freedom, but the active living breathing choice of being a free man. The price paid was enormous. Run ins with other clubs and the law ultimately forced the one percenters to band together as a group in brotherhood against the law in order to survive.

All told, Terry the Tramp is a great rollercoaster ride of a book based on the true life adventures of Terry Orendorf of the Vagos M/C as told to someone who lived the life
and also survived the ride.

--Kevin Thomas
Author: K. Randall Ball
Format: Hardcover, 272 Pages
Item: 149893
ISBN: 9780760340059
Publisher: Motorbooks
Illustrations: 34 B/W photos
Size: 6.25 X 9.25
Edition: First
Published: October 30th 2011
Price: $27.00

Bandit (left), with a skinny Dismal Dan, while someone worked on his Sportster. This was taken about 1974. Those hills in the background are now covered with homes.
Bandit (left), with a skinny Dismal Dan, while someone worked on his Sportster. This was taken about 1974. Those hills in the background are now covered with homes.

Between the five minutes that she (Jennifer, Bill's partner and editor) spent at the house in between the Texas trip and the Dubai trip, she at least got to see the cover! But on the other hand, I've been reading it!!!!

I'll be submitting the review in about a week or so...great stuff, KRB!!!! Right off the bat I loved the way you began things with an honest assessment of where Terry is now (I kept thinking, if only William Morrow/HarperCollins had just waited a few months on the Doc Cavasos book and had you write it, it would be a viable work instead of an essentially irrelevant paperweight!).

The beginning of Terry... was perfect...a great tone was set!!! And, as always, it's so great to see the kind of writing that doesn't "speak down" in any way to the audience. The love and respect in this book goes far beyond its immediate subject matter!!!

--Bill "Press" Hayes
National Press & Publicity Officer
Boozefighters MC

Now available here on Bikernet!
Now available here on Bikernet!

BIKERNET CONTRIBUTOR REVIEWS TERRY THE TRAMP BOOK—It’s been at least six months since I read Terry the Tramp, but it’s a hard book to forget. That said, I’m going to write this review from memory… Not something I have a lot of these days.

In late 1970 I returned to California, after a one-year stint in southern Michigan, custom painting bikes, and buying up as many old Harley-Davidsons as I could find. It wasn’t long before I’d made friends with other guys in the West Covina area that rode hogs. One of them introduced me to “Dresser” Sam, a real good guy when it came to helping out FNG kids like me that didn’t know shit about working on a Harley. 

I spent a lot of time over at Sam’s wrenching in his garage on some of the Pan, and Sportster motors I hauled out of Michigan. Sam was and probably still is a pretty good motor builder. There were Vagos that used to drop by Sam’s for motor work. I remember a fair sized Vago named Duffy that used to show up in a white ’58 Coupe De Ville when his bike was down. 

There was other Vagos too, “Jerry the Jew”, “Speed” “Parts” and other Vagos I don’t remember the names of now. Maybe I’d heard of “Terry the Tramp” back then at Sam’s, but I can’t remember. A year or two later I moved to El Monte, not far from where Keith Ball does a great job of describing the surroundings Terry the Tramp grew up in. 

For someone that knows the area it’ll bring back some memories. For those that have never seen the place especially from back in the day, Keith paints a perfect picture describing Terry’s early beginnings and how the town at the end of the Santa Fe Trail shaped his future. The wild shit, fights etc. that used to happen at the Denny’s next to Earl Scheib, and Sears El Monte, I used to ride by the place all the time heading out of town.
I have vivid memories of the area, but all a person has to do to is read Terry the Tramp and Keith’s words will leave them thinking they were back there in the day. It’s a time warp, I couldn’t put the book down, I read it from cover-to-cover.

One of the most interesting, and I imagine hard to write about accounts was the Vagos’ bum murder wrap in New Mexico. I knew of a fellow custom painter in Baldwin Park at the time named Art Smith. It has to be the same Art Smith involved in that mess. 

Terry the Tramp is a must read… Even for bikers that don’t usually don’t like to read this motherfucker is great book.

—“Krylon” aka “Crazy” John 

You can buy this book discounted on Amazon, directly through Motorbooks, or get a signed copy (click on the cover above) from the author. 

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Reader Comments

I recently finished reading this and lent it to my neighbor. It's a cool read, thanks Bandit!

San Jose
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Editor Response Terry's life was amazing. Anyone who can be a leader of any group for 27 years has many special talents, besides being tough as nails.
Awesome book, not a dull moment!! From the history to the events and how the club evolved.... Amazing! I could live vicariously through reading it, very much like being there myself.

Would recommend it to everyone!

Lomita, CA
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Editor Response Thanks brother.

spring , TX
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Editor Response Just go to any book store, or if you want me to sign it, click on our home page.
THIS BOOK IS EXCELLENT! It is written with great intelligence and insight. More TRUTH here than you might hear elsewhere!

Although I am a college student at the University of California at Berkeley and have a lot of assigned readings, I found it nearly impossible to put this book down, once I began reading. Mr. Orendorff takes us on a fascinating journey inside the 1%er lifestyle in Southern California.

The story unfolds along a timeline from the 1960s unto the present day. It is amazing to me that Mr. Orendorff was able to survive and lead the Vagos MC for over 26 years! A great idea for a Holiday gift for your favorite biker!

Ron Raider
Berkeley, CA
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Editor Response Thanks brother, you made my day.
--Randall Ball
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