Troy Staehler is but one of the many people who will be the future of lowriding, love him or hate him. Troy and his brother George founded Rollerz Only Car Club 20 years ago, and what a long, strange trip it's been. Troy has seen the club grow from its humble beginnings in L.A.-at the time featuring many non-traditional lowriders, including trucks, motorcycles and Euros-to being an international lowrider club.
There are 44 Rollerz Only chapters, including Japan, Germany, Sweden, Canada and the Philippines, with new chapters coming on line constantly. The club has some 1,300 members worldwide. Since we wrote about Rollerz last year, they've added chapters in Middle Tennessee; South County, California; Central Coast, California; Seattle, Washington; Pasadena, Texas; Reno, Nevada; Eugene, Oregon; Pensacola, Florida; and Amarillo, Texas.
The membership in Rollerz Only is as diverse as any club. From warehouse workers to executives to peace officers, like many other clubs there are all different walks of life represented in the club. Rollerz realizes that first and foremost it's a car thing... and all are welcome. The presidents choose and recruit within their area and decide what cars will and won't cut the mustard for the club. Anyone interested in finding out what the criteria is for joining the club can go to www.rollerzonly.com. Manny Farol, the webmaster for the Rollerz website, has grown the site substantially. Now people worldwide can check out what's going on with the club and even purchase Rollerz Only gear.
Troy and "Hootie," the club's head of security, are constantly on the road going to shows to promote, recruit and more importantly talk about the sport of lowriding. The two of them paint an intimidating picture, but in reality they're quite approachable. Troy is always talking with other car clubs, giving and getting advice on how to advance the sport. Traveling also gives Troy the chance to visit with chapters all over, giving them each his support.
It wasn't always that way, though. There was a time when Troy didn't attend shows and pretty much stayed to himself. After talking to various people, though, he figured that it would be beneficial to be more accessible. Now Troy's constantly promoting and his daily driver is a 15-passenger van wrapped with the Rollerz Only logo. "OG Abel" did the graphics and has done many murals for Rollerz car owners. "Mr. Cartoon" did the original logo back in 1988 when the club was founded.
Troy also made it a point to make sure that his club supports the Lowrider Magazine Tour, even when, like a couple of years ago, a handful of other clubs wouldn't. Attending shows is a requirement that Troy takes seriously because he, like most good generals, knows that there's strength in numbers. Troy oversees everything Rollerz-like shirts, plaques, etc.-but each chapter has its own president and governs themselves within the club's guidelines.
Rollerz Only has also taken that dedication to their club displays, and in 2006 at San Antonio, Texas, they rolled out the red carpet, literally, with 45 cars in four rows. Rollerz members lined the aisles with an impressive display of vehicles, including Army trucks. The Rollerz Only dedication to showing has netted them 1998, 2002, 2006 and now 2007 Lowrider Magazine Club of the Year honors. And this is a feat that Rollerz Only is very proud of, as anyone in the lowriding community knows.
There are many members who travel literally thousands of miles a year to show their vehicles. People like "Biz" from Minnesota, Roger from Texas, Orlando with "Game Over," "Chelo" with "Prophecy" and Gene Bare with "Inferno" have the dedication of long-haul truckers. Anyone going for a title knows the dedication it takes, and quite a few Rollerz cars are multiple-title winners, like "Rollin' Malo," "Outer Limits," "Trokita Loca" and "Casanova," just to name a few.
For the last five years, the L.A. chapter of Rollerz Only has been doing toy drives for the Christmas season and other chapters have been doing various charity work at Christmas and during the year. Giving back to the community is another way that Rollerz does what it can to help out. And when it comes to getting together and just having fun, they know how to do that too. From picnics in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Niagara Falls in Canada to a dinner and dance in Chicago, Illinois, there's never a shortage of reasons to get together with fellow Rollerz members. Troy is still planning the club's 20th anniversary festivities for the Lowrider Super Show in Las Vegas this year. The Stratosphere Hotel will be the jump-off point for a fun-filled weekend.
The sheer mass and brashness of Rollerz Only sometimes overshadows the fact that these are just a bunch of men and women who are passionate about lowriding and their club. From the statement on the backs of their shirts to their sometimes f@#* the world attitude, we realize that Rollerz Only is like every other lowrider club... proud of who they roll with and what they roll in.
In the end, that's the way every single lowrider is. It's the thread that makes someone want to build a totally different vehicle from mainstream America. The first time you hit the switch on hydraulics you're hooked, but everyone goes about it differently. Rollerz Only is but one of many clubs and there's a club for everyone. But for this year, Rollerz Only is crowned "Club of the Year" one more time.