The saying "get in where you fit in" can certainly be applied to the Lowrider movement. Many riders find kindred spirits in other riders, and end up joining their respective car clubs. This was not the case for a young teenager named Gabe Mijares of Woodland, CA, who proudly rolled the streets in a '50 Chevy Pickup Truck. "At that time, I felt my truck was presentable," says Gabe. Frustration began to set in for the young rider, after all, he had owned his truck for quite a while, and yet no one had approached Gabe to ask him to join their club. This might make your average Lowrider pack it up into the garage and call it quits, but then again, Gabe is not your average Lowrider. Feeling that his truck was worthy of flying a plaque, he did just that, by deciding to create his own car club at the tender age of 16.
In 1993, the teenaged Gabe shared his idea with his cousin, Tory Salazar, who was an even younger 14 years old at the time. Tory agreed that it would be a great idea to start their own club, but those dreams were dashed for a few years as Gabe decided to join the Marines in 1995. This decision proved fruitful for Gabe beyond the experience and financial gains that come with enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces, as it was during his four year term as a Marine that Gabe met his future wife, Lisset. Undaunted by his time away, Gabe was determined to pursue his dream of starting the club, and Lisset was fully on board as well. "She was a big influence in getting the club started," says a beaming Gabe. Tory was also still willing to help Gabe, and the three of them began their quest together.
The name, Socios, came from one of Gabe and Tory's uncles, who had a band in the '70's called "Los Socios de Tijuana." "We went with that name because we thought it would only be right to keep a name that the family started," says Gabe, who is still the Club President. Even though Gabe and Tory didn't start a band, the name Socios definitely made for a great car club name.
The club started with 6 original members, all of whom were just a couple of friends that liked to hang out. In fact, there were no rules or structure within the group, and it was pretty informal. "It was just a couple of people who wanted to get together, cruise around, and go to the car shows," explains Gabe. With no structure, the club had a 'let's go with the flow' attitude. "I had no idea how to run a club," laughs Gabe. "I wasn't even in a club before Socios started. It was just something that we just started and basically just rode with it." Along the way, the club started seeing how the other clubs were being run, and they gained some valuable ideas on how to structure their own club. "We took a little from here and there," says Gabe.
When the time came to design the plaque, Lisset took charge, and took design cues from some of the classic plaques she had seen at the shows. She got down to work and cut-and-pasted a few designs, and blew them up in a copy machine to see how it would look. They even put the paper rendering in the back window of a couple of the Club's rides, just to get a feel for how it would look. Once the club was satisfied with her design, it was time to sit down and pick out the club's official colors. Not wanting to have any colors that could be associated with gangs, the club chose black and silver. "The reason we picked those colors was because we wanted a neutral color scheme," says Gabe.