The history of the center patch design goes back to 1990, when 13 original charter members were then members of St.Louis Metro-East Chapter, Illinois 13. Member Bob Sampson was commissioned by the members living on the Missouri side of the river to come up with a breast patch that would identify those members from Missouri.
The design was a colorful patch, which stood out and could easily be seen and identified. The patch was in the shape of a shield. It displayed the International colors and mounted Knight in the outline of Missouri and the words “Gateway City” with an Arch depicted St. Louis’ status as the Gateway to the West, surrounded by the US flag and the confederate flag. The reason for this was that Missouri was a divided State during the Civil War. To the left of center were the words “Blue & IL 13”, to the right of center was the word “Knight” and over the top and center was the word “Member” and “St. Louis” below the state. There were only 50 of these patches ever made and they have never again been reproduced.
In 1991 the 13 members began forming what is now known as Missouri III, which at that time took in St. Louis City and St. Louis, Jefferson, St. Charles, Franklin, Washington, Lincoln and Warren Counties and was chartered by the International as the St. Louis Metro Chapter.
The charter members again commissioned Bob Sampson to design a set of back patches for the chapter. It was decided a couple of things were required:
- The colors had to sand out in a crowd
- Had to consider rider safety, especially at night
- Had to tell the history of the area
- Had to be easily read at a distance
- Had to simply be different from the International in some small way
It was decided to use the original breast patch design.
- The colors orange and blue were picked for two reasons:
- They stood out in a crowd and could easily be identified.
- They were easily seen at night be vehicle headlights.
- Block lettering was selected because it could very easily be read by anyone from the back including law enforcement.
- The shield shape because it reflected the shape of the International patches in use around the World.
- The outline of the State of Missouri depicting the chapter’s state.
- Inside the state outline was the International logo indicating affiliation with the Blue Knights International and required by the International. The word “Missouri” replaced the original “Gateway City”.
- On each side of the state were two flags as shown in the breast patch, the US Flag and the Confederate Flag. Again, the two flags representing the history of Missouri’s stance in the Civil War as being a split state. However, during a meeting of potential members of the newly forming chapter; one member thought that the Confederate Flag should be dropped because it may be considered racist. The members took a vote, agreed and changed the Confederate Flag to the US Flag.
- The number of white stars around the sides and top of the patch represent in what order the State of Missouri became a state.
- Naturally, the words “St. Louis” naming the chapter’s location.
A full color copy of the back patches was submitted along with all the necessary paperwork required to become a chapter. The International approved the back patches making Missouri III the only chapter in the entire International to have a unique st of orange patches.
Within the first year of existence the chapter had grown to 91 members and the rest is history. Bob is still a member of the Blue Knights and currently with Illinois XIII.