Public Perception, Persona, Profile, Reputation, Stature
The beautiful Southern California haven known as San Diego, California is the second largest city in the Golden State, and is best known for its tourism, manufacturing and military installations. Many military families end up in San Diego, and some eventually call it home, thanks to its wonderful climate and the plethora of job opportunities available in the area.
Rob "Bird' Rice was born in Toms River, New Jersey but the life in New Jersey only lasted for a couple of months due to the travelling nature of his father's military career. The family moved around a lot during his childhood, spending time in places like Hawaii, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Minnesota, although they always considered San Diego to be their home. The city was already home to some of the extended Rice family, so Rob always felt a special connection to the area.
San Diego is also where Rob would be given his nickname, "Bird." During his teen years, Rob was a huge Boston Celtics fan, and was also taller than most of the kids in the neighborhood. The kids took notice of this, and the fact that he was Caucasian, so naturally the only proper nickname they could give him would be "Bird," in honor of the NBA basketball star, Larry Bird. It has stuck over the years, so much so that up until the publication of this feature, many people have never known his government name!
Although the Rice family moved around a lot, Bird and his father were able still enjoy father and son hobbies, especially working on and fixing up cars. Bird's father kept a '55 Chevy and '69 Chevelle in the family throughout Bird's childhood, and to this day, he still has them. Working on the cars not only kept Bird and his dad close, it was the avenue that would introduce Bird to Lowriding in San Diego.
In 1991, while cruising down San Diego's famous Highland Avenue, Bird met Eddie Johnston. Bird had a 1987 Toyota Truck called "Crystal Blue" at the time, and Eddie had his own mini truck as well. The two became good friends and were about to start their own mini truck club when they met David Luquin, who was pledging the Majestics at the time. David invited the two to check out the club meeting to get a feel for the club. The club consisted of 12 members at the time, and they quickly accepted the three. After attending the required meetings, Bird and Eddie became full-fledged members of the Majestics.
After being a member of the club for a year and a half, Bird became the Vice President and held the position for another year and a half. During this time, the club held their first couple of shows with the Naval Hospital in 1993 and 1994. In 1994, Bird was voted the chapter's President. The club was getting stronger in both membership and car quality, as Bird broke out his 1980 Cutlass named "California Cruiser" that year. He got the car from a member who had gotten married and could not finish the project. Bird took the reins, and the Cutlass would eventually earn him a cover feature in the February 1995 issue of Lowrider Magazine. Club member Charlie brought out his Cadillac christened "Vicious Luxury," which also got the club a cover feature in Lowrider. Other club members represented the club well, including David with his Monte Carlo and Ralph with his El Camino named "Forbidden Pleasure." These two guys took home awards with these pristine autos everywhere they showed them. This four-car entourage really helped to put the San Diego Majestics on the map, and the club began making a lot of noise. Since they were a younger generation car-club, they were not well accepted by the older, more established clubs in the San Diego area. Nonetheless, they continued to create their own lane and get stronger.