News & Politics

Trucker Convoy Stragglers Get Kicked Out of Racetrack, Form New Movement, Visit the National Mall, Don’t Go Home

The People's Convoy may have disbanded, but some of its members plan to stick around.

Photograph by Evy Mages

The People’s Convoy officially disbanded on Friday afternoon. “As of 2:30pm EST today May 20, 2022, The People’s Convoy declares victory and announces its conclusion of the national convoy portion of this great movement,” it wrote in an official release.

“Victory” is a curious term for a group that has zero accomplishments since it formed in late February and crossed the country several times, but whatever, here’s what happened next:

The convoy got kicked out of Hagerstown Speedway

Speedway general manager Lisa Plessinger told the Hagerstown Herald-Mail she had had enough of infighting among members of the former convoy: “I’m not a babysitter. I didn’t sign up for that,” she told the paper, “so when they got to acting like a bunch of kids it was time for them to go home.” The racetrack’s parking lot was clear by 10 PM, the paper reports.

Some people repaired to a nearby parking lot and formed a new movement

Convoy leader David “Santa” Riddell declared himself the leader of a new group that comprises some former convoy members: The “1776 Restoration Movement” is not a democracy: “Our founding fathers didn’t believe in democracy,” Riddell said Sunday. Since then the group has been spotted in nearby Williamsport. A spokesperson for the Maryland State Police says they have left the state. I’ve seen several reports that the renamed group has moved on to Bunker Hill, West Virginia.

A few of them apparently went to DC this weekend and made nuisances of themselves

Santa said he’s a Proud Boy

“I am a Proud Boy. I make no bones about that,” said Riddell during a speech in a picnic shelter Sunday. Indeed, Riddell has been photographed wearing Proud Boys gear before, but he said he stopped wearing the far right group’s colors to avoid distracting from the 1776 group’s mission of “restoring a constitutional republic.”

Riddell likened the convoy to Martin Luther King, Jr., and to the Cincinnati Reds, whose fortunes fluctuate with on-field success: “Right now, we suck,” he said. “We haven’t done anything.” The previous leadership “cowarded out,” Santa said. He asked the audience, “Did we do it right the first time?” No, they replied. “This ain’t about Santa,” Riddell said. “This is about restoring our freedom.” It seems they may stick around a while longer.

If you want to follow the misadventures of this group, follow “Quarks McQuade” and the collective QRemedyResearch on Twitter. They’re both invaluable resources.  

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.

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