SHADY JACK LARRISON
In the fall of 2005, I met Shady Jack Larrison. Jack was a former St. Louis detective back in the 60’s. He was an undercover and would infiltrate various criminal groups in the area. He left that lifestyle to pursue his own dreams. We had a lot in common..
Jack owned 10 restaurants and bars at his peak. After losing most everything in a divorce, he started a biker bar and campground in Villa Ridge, MO. The Feds raided his business with various charges. The town later shut him down for being an “unsavory character”.
Jack was homeless and living out of his truck when he bought the condemned buildings on North Broadway for practically nothing. With the help of some friends, he built an entire bar and brought the rest into working condition.
Shady Jack was looking for tenants in these 100 year old rehabs. Each unit had no heat or air conditioning.
At our first meeting, Jack told me he wanted to put on fights. I said that was great, I know how to fight and train fighters. But, it would be 2 years before I had a fighter ready. Assuming 20 guys that wanted to fight walked into my gym without experience they wouldn’t be ready to fight for 2 years. Jack told me he wanted to put fights on every weekend. You can’t put on a quality fight every weekend. It would end up being a tough man contest. That was exactly what Jack had in mind.
In May of 2006, I moved into the warehouse turned dojo called North Broadway Jiu Jitsu. After a hard day of training, we would go have a beer with any number of the outlaw biker clubs. The Invaders, the Saddle Tramps, and Hell’s Angel’s could all be seen at the bar. They all respected Jack.
After a night of drinking when I wasn’t there, one of my guys got knocked out by an enforcer from one of the biker clubs. The next day Jack informed me that I had to resolve the situation or things could get out of hand. I felt like a cast member in the tv show ‘Oz’. I had to take a stand or risk being a bitch forever? This enforcer was a tough man who had done years in prison. Something tells me the conflict resolution class I took in college wouldn’t apply. Even if I could kick this guy’s ass, so what? He will shoot me.
So I had a 'meeting' with the enforcer. The cliff notes version of the meeting went something like this. "A fight is a fight", I said. No big deal. It was just a couple guy’s in a bar with too much to drink and bad stuff happens after midnight, right? We just want to make sure it’s not going to be a problem all the time. He agreed that a squabble like that was no big deal to a man who had done 10 years hard time. This could easily escalate if we don't agree to squash this now. "Fair enough". I said. Problem solved. Every time I see the enforcer we shake hands and raise our glasses.
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