Seven decades of raising Hell
San Bernardino, Calif., Mar. 16—Back in 1948, as the United States Supreme Court was busy ruling that religious instruction in public schools violates the U.S. Constitution and the world was watching its first color newsreel on television, a group of bike-riding guys in SoCal were estab-lishing themselves as a motorcycle club. While zealots have gone on to declare that the Supreme Court’s fateful decision some 70 years ago is what is wrong with society today and colorful tele-vised news now consumes our everyday life, that same California club has grown into the single most rec-ognized motorcycle club in the world.
The Hells Angels MC, established in San Bernardino on March 17, 1948, set out to celebrate what would be considered a “platinum jubilee” if they were a monarchy. Instead, the ’Berdoo Moth-er Charter just had themselves a big-ass party that drew guests from around the world as the weather witch darkened the skies and sent a little precip’ down to keep things interesting, which did nothing to deter riders who filled all available parking spots with kickstands. The hospital across the street showed their hospitality by opening up their parking lot to the club’s guests, and everyone was neighborly. So it went for the entire event as the community of riders and non-riders showed their respect for the club’s longevity. The city itself was even cool about issuing permits.
The ’Berdoo HAMC clubhouse is vast and comfortable and, in anticipation of a full house, was decked out to accommodate partiers both inside and out. Vendors like HA Leather were kept busy selling leather outside while the club’s wildly popular memorabilia was purchased inside where the place served as a museum of artifacts and art commemorating 70 years of the club’s history. Congratulatory gifts from well-wishers around the world, spanning the decades of historical events, decorate the walls and halls of the building. As a sort of time capsule, it was interesting to check out the photos of bikers from ages ago, which offered a sense of reverence for the club life represented in the keepsakes.
To further celebrate the seven decades of brotherhood, each entry ticket came with a chance to walk away with a customized Road King built to commemorate the club’s anniversary. Painted to resemble an old bomber and emblazoned with a pinup girl perched on the tank, it gave us a smile to learn that the new owner was a petite little gal from NorCal that had ridden down to the ’Berdoo bash on her own bike. At 5’4”, Natalie has every intention of keeping, and riding, the big ol’ bagger. There are plans for a bit of lowering, however.
By the time partiers decided to call it quits and wandered off into the early morning, weather had gotten considerably wetter. After a killer night of music, motorcycles, good company and good times, there had been exactly zero hassles: no headaches or problems whatsoever. ’Berdoo HAMC Vice President John was beaming. “Everyone just had a good time and we’re really grateful for the support.” If you missed out on the party, don’t be bummed… you can still purchase anniversary and regular support gear from www.81Berdoo.com. Leather shirts and vests can be purchased from www.HAleatherUSA.com.