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Since Burkitt became interested in motorcycles about 14 months ago, he has practiced his passion for tearing apart bikes to rebuild them taller, sleeker and faster.
As a prospect, Burkitt is allowed to wear only a "Mo." patch on his cut-off. And he's not allowed inside the clubhouse during the Tuesday-night meetings, when the older members talk business around the large wood table behind a heavy metal door. He waits outside at the picnic table.
"Every meeting, every fuckin' ride, every fuckin' run. Every fucking club function, he's there," Monk says.
Shifty agrees that Burkitt will make a good leader one day. "He listens, he doesn't go off half-cocked, and he uses his head."
Monk says the soft-spoken Burkitt is respectful but still learning how to walk and talk like a Forastero, especially when they go on rides through town.
"We're like, 'Man, quit being so fucking quiet. You want to know why you never get laid, motherfucker? Because you act too goddamned nice to these girls. You can't act like that, man. You've got to be a fucking dickhead. If you want to get some pussy, you can't act like some shy boy. Nice guys finish last. You've got to tell them how much of a slut they are and how fucking much of a pimp you are. And then they'll fucking want to fuck you.' He's starting to catch on."
In May, the Forasteros planned to surprise Burkitt by giving the prospect his patch during their annual Memorial Day weekend run at a campground just west of St. Joseph.
Unaware that he was to receive his patch the following weekend, Burkitt tells the Pitch he wasn't drawn to the club to meet women. He asked to join because of his love for choppers.
Burkitt was drawn to motorcycle riding because of an old friend of his father's named Jerry Fletcher, who frequented a bar Burkitt's father owned called the Rathole Tavern. Fletcher's Forasteros brothers called him "Dresser," and Dresser and Shifty once owned a motorcycle-parts shop where Burkitt hung out.
At 74, Dresser is the oldest Forasteros member in Kansas City. Yet he's also one of the newest, having been approved by the other members in 2004 after spending most of his adult years in the Arlay's, a club for owners of "dressers" -- decked-out Harleys.
Burkitt says he used to see Josh Monk (John's younger brother and an El Forasteros member since 2003) riding his chopper past Dresser's shop every morning, looking out from behind the tall gas tank and handlebars. Burkitt started saving money from his job at the railroad. He bought his first motorcycle in April 2004.
"I didn't even know how to ride a motorcycle," he says.
A friend had to ride the Harley home for him. "I started going down the road a little bit, trying to get the hang of it. I think by the next week, I had the tank off of it and the thing completely torn apart."
He got new handlebars and pipes, took off the lights and turn signals, and lowered the seat down to the bump stops. "I took off all the reflectors, all that sissy stuff. For a while, I rode with no seat because it sits you down lower and looks cooler."
Burkitt idolizes Moose, the old-timer now in the Forasteros Sioux City chapter, who is one of the country's legendary chopper builders. Moose began his life's work in the mid-1960s, taking apart and rebuilding motorcycles to make them look like they were in motion when they were parked. He scoured the Midwest looking for parts. Moose says his first bike, a '47 Knucklehead, cost him $35. Now bikes come standard at $8,000-$9,000.