By Shannon “Dazzlin” Venturo
After riding with many great people in her early days as a new “biker chick,” and a lot of miles by herself out on two wheels, “Dazzlin” decided that she wanted to start an all-female motorcycle club. “It was early 2014 and I was blasting down a mountain with two other women: Carolyn Shirley “Cupcake” and Georgia Watkins “Fireball.” It was raining cats and dogs at the time, a terrible downpour. The rain was so bad we were forced to pull into a neighborhood bar, soaked and cold and ready for a cocktail. At that moment I just knew that these two women were my “tribe,” my “Ride or Die” chicks. Add my Daughter Cerah “Kitten” and we are then on our way to a group of like-minded women. “Cupcake asked, “Are we starting a real MC? With patches and stuff?” Heck yeah was the answer! And so began Bling Devas M.C.
Bling Devas are special women. Each has a professional career, families, significant others etc. They have big responsibilities, health challenges, life hurdles and roadblocks, pushes and pulls and competing priorities. But what they find in the sisterhood and biker lifestyle is an additional group of resources, love, commitment and support. A biker family can be an extension of your blood family, a substitution for that family or a perfect blend of both. We encourage our friends and families to ride with us. However, chicks lead our pack when we ride. Men don’t worry though. The view from the rear ain’t bad to look at all day!
Bling Devas M.C. is an all-female motorcycle club established by Shannon “Dazzlin” Venturo in Las Vegas, Nevada and we are members of The Southern Nevada Confederation of Clubs. “Dazzlin” is also a second term officer on the COC board. BDMC is committed to advancing women’s presence in the motorcycle set, while respecting the decades of traditions and protocol of the biker lifestyle. We are asked often, “Who do you support?” Often this means, what clubs do we support, or who our “Dominant” is. Our answer is always the same. “We stand on our own. We support all of the clubs in our COC and those who extend respect and relationship to us. We have no enemies on the road. We hug our lane and don’t involve ourselves in the issues that don’t involve us. We keep it zipped and mind our own business. We are out here to ride our bikes, not meddle and get caught up in politics.
Q- The motorcycle culture can be viewed as being male dominated, what are your views on this as a female rider, do you think there is a gender barrier?
A- 68 year old, original patch holder, “Fireball” shared her chronological credibility. “Males definitely were the dominant riders for most of the forty years I have been riding. Even up until six years ago. Things began to change when women started riding together, making a statement that we are here to stay. Ten years ago women really would not have been able to ride next to men like they do today or join the COC, especially not sit at the desk at a COC meeting as an officer. There are still men who don’t recognize women as riders or real bikers. Those men will most likely never change their minds. But there is also a huge group of brothers out there who extend respect and are open minded to the change and progression in the set. Those men need to be recognized and appreciated.”
Q- As a female, what does it mean to you to be able to take the front seat and not the fender? A- “Risque” Vice President: “I ride my own. Thank God I don’t have to be on the back. I’m in control of my actions and my own destiny. I become one with my bike. Occasionally riding on the back to give your man the satisfaction is ok, but one in a million rides. Just not my cup of tea to be a backpack.” And- “Empowered, bold, independent, strong, in control and free!” replied “Mystique,” our Secretary.
Q- What is that feeling like when you grab the handle bars?
A- One of the very first Prospects for BDMC, Treasurer “Blossom” said, “Buckle up them boots. Slide that cut on. Hop on and grab those handlebars. I’m headed to my freedom zone. Feeling the vibrations and thunder of my motorcycle, there is nothing more exhilarating. Setting out into the open air, becoming one with yourself and bike. The feeling is incomparable to other experiences. It takes away all the daily pressures and gives one the opportunity to relax. It provides me clarity yet power. I am in control, breathing the open air, rolling into those turns. Nothing can take this away from me. Many think we are absolutely nuts to attempt to grab those handlebars, roll that throttle and blast off. I say, don’t knock it til you try it. Believe in yourself. We all have it inside of us. It’s just a question of how bad you want it.
United States Air Force Captain, weapons expert and Road Captain “Trigger” said, “When I get behind the bars it’s what freedom is all about. It clears your mind, re-energizes your soul and makes you feel powerful. The freedom to go wherever you want to go, and power of the bike just makes you forget that real life exists.”
Q- Do you get a feeling of empowerment by being a female rider?
A. “Being a female rider gives me such a feeling of empowerment. By nature I take a backseat unless I have to lead, which I can and will as a result of this totally different inner feeling. I feel strong and powerful, in charge and bad ass! Maybe it’s the danger aspect. But whatever it is…….I love it!” said Historian, “Pixie.”
And another perspective:
BDMC Prospect “Blessed”, who was in a terrible motorcycle accident two years ago and is just back on two wheels again, said:
“I get a feeling of pure freedom, and an adrenaline rush, of being in control of such a magical machine, it makes me happy, and I feel more confident. I gain a feeling of freedom on the road, it makes me feel completely in that moment, no cell phones, no distractions, just me and my bike and the road; it is a stress release for me. Riding has been the driving force behind life changes for me, and definitely a challenge after my accident, but I know how strong I am; like they say, you don’t know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have.”
Q- Do you think there is still prejudice from men today?
A- Said Prospect Tammy, “I personally do not experience much prejudice from men, whether it’s being a female rider or in life in general. I do follow some women’s biker social media pages where some women speak of experiencing this at times. Maybe it’s because I had good guy friends growing up and I am not easily offended. BUT history shows women have made huge strides in the motorcycle world and in life. I will say that men who like “fender fluff” can be intimidated by the female rider. I know it’s very real in the MC world that is predominantly a male setting.” Bling Devas are solid female bikers, working to earn respect by paying it forward and mile-marking out on the open road. And there are amazing brotherhoods that are making room and encouraging us to ride next to them. We are making huge strides with gaining/earning respect. It’s a new generation, new times, new traditions, new protocols all while respecting the rich history.
BLING LIFE is our mission statement, and the rich culture that “Dazzlin” identifies is why it all just works! BLING is an acronym for what we strive to be as a Deva.
B- Beautiful inside and out
L- Loyalty to your club and family
I- Integrity. Do what is right when no one is looking. Keep your word! Don’t talk about it, be about it.
N- NO DRAMA! None! Zero! Work it out with your sister. Talk to her, not about her.
G- Give back to the community we ride in. Our charities focus around Veterans with unseen injuries like PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, homelessness of our vets and children and food insecurity. Each year BDMC sponsors a Peanut Butter Drive during September, National Hunger Action Month. This past year, with the help of volunteers and other motorcycle clubs, they collected over 44,000 pounds of peanut butter to donate to local food banks and veterans’ shelters. One pound of peanut butter can feed six nutritious meals.
They also sponsor a “Share the Warmth” event annually, collecting blankets, coats, socks etc., to distribute in the streets to our homeless in Vegas. And other events like “Soup for the Soul,” providing a warm meal on a cold day in the streets, or toiletries drives and distribution, are at the center of who Bling Devas are. “Community involvement will truly define who you are as a person and a citizen. Being kind and generous with your resources just makes the world a better place,” said Dazzlin.
BLING LIFE is not about sparkling and shining, or the thousands of Swarovski crystals on their bikes. However, they look darn fine out on the asphalt. There is nothing wrong with looking beautiful, wearing lipstick and lashes, and being suited and booted. Gone are the days where women had to wear baggy clothes and Dickies. We can have helmet hair and not care or we can ‘beach wave’ our locks and tie on a blinged-out bandana. We certainly make a statement when we are riding together. People can’t help but smile. Our goal continues to be to inspire and motivate other women to get out and ride their own.
We welcome all levels of riders to come out and hang around with us. To become a Bling Deva though, you have to possess incredible riding skills. We ride in all kinds of riding conditions including long miles, rain, cold, heat, sand and gravel. We cross state lines and international borders. You have to want to pound pavement. We will help you gain experience though. We will encourage and support you as you get better with each mile you ride.
Q- Did you intend for the motorcycle to become a lifestyle rather than just a hobby?
A- President and Founder “Dazzlin” says, “I wanted to ride a bike for years before I actually bought one at age 46. I would go into the Harley dealership to buy a bike, get intimidated and walk out with a new t-shirt. Then one day my daughter Kitten said to me, when are you gonna buy a bike and not another t-shirt, Mom? I told her, “Tomorrow!” And I did! And that started a hobby which has now become a lifestyle! I love it. I love riding with my wind sisters, friends, family, other clubs. I work hard and play harder. I fell in love with the set and the movement. I work actively to make a difference with state, local and federal legislation that affects all of us on two wheels. I can’t imagine my life now without a motorcycle. So I guess the lifestyle roped me in. It’s my choice now for sure!”
Bling Devas M.C. is currently just in Nevada, however we have several patch holders now in Arizona and love that we have crossed state lines. We look forward to that sisterhood growing as it is led by two of Dazzlin’s lifetime friends, Jewelz and Chingona, with a few solid prospects. As we grow, we will keep the door small, as it’s always going to be about quality, not quantity. You have to be a badass chick that loves to be around, and is not threatened by, other bossy, beautiful and successful women. Catty behavior is not in style, ladies. Reach back and uplift women. Be the kind of woman that will straighten her crown before she knows it’s crooked. Tell her she needs lipstick! Smooth her windblown hair for her.
Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Yes it’s DEVA with an E. It’s the spiritual Deva, not the bratty kind of Diva. You will recognize us out on the road by our beautiful white cuts, inspired by a meeting I had with legendary biker chick Gloria Struck. She has been riding for over seventy years and plans to ride until she is a hundred years young! Come ride with us if you’re in Vegas.
Bling Devas Forever-Forever Bling Devas. BlingDevasMC@yahoo.com