Memorable Encounters in Black Canyon

Credos from the Road – by Stacey Lane

After meeting my daughter and grandchildren for breakfast at the nearby Rock Springs Café, I was riding home to the neighboring town of Black Canyon City and spotted an unusual western fence that caused me to pull over and contemplate the next cover photo for my Facebook page.   What caught my attention was the crisp blue sky framing the carefully crafted wrought iron fence that would make for a picturesque backdrop.  I slowly pulled down the street and up to the house where I spotted a couple of people out front working on the yard.   I then drove across the street to the other side of the property in order to capture this perfect shot.

As I was snapping photos,  a gentleman came closer and slowly opened the fence framing that swirling blue sky.  We discussed the fence décor and the property and I told him what a great Facebook cover I thought this would make.  A slow smile came to his face before he put out his hand and introduced himself as Sonny.  I had further inquiries about the property and with that he then invited me inside to see and learn more.

Just before we passed the gate Sonny turned to me and said; “One thing I would like you to know before you come in is that I am a part of the Hell’s Angels. Is this a problem for you?”  Sonny asked. I replied earnestly, “Oh no, my roommates have motorcycles.”

Sonny spoke about the horses and stable as we were walking into a small building that housed books, movies and motorcycles.  He told me that he likes to write and then I saw the book that Ralph “Sonny” Barger authored; Hell’s Angel – The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, then realizing where I was at and who I was with.

Sonny has a very patriotic sense of freedom, his way of life is an American way that requires a never-ending devotion to the “idea of” and the “practice of” freedom so individual to each of us. He is a part of the fabric in our community and brings a sense of mystery and intrigue. He contributes both directly and indirectly and has brought a lot to Black Canyon City to include the filming of Dead in 5 Heartbeats, filmed primarily in Black Canyon City using restaurants, bars and local scenery.

Sonny wanted to make a film that was authentic to the motorcyclist’s lifestyle and based the film on the novel, Dead in 5 Heartbeats, written by Sonny Barger, with Keith and Kent Zimmerman. The movie was produced by Sonny and with Independent Film maker, Jeff Santo. It was also shot in just 24 days. Jeff Santo was a perfect candidate to capture brotherhood as he understood the importance of honor, loyalty and dedication as he grew up around the Chicago Cubs. His father, Ron Santo, was also a legend and was recently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

With over 200 actual motorcycle riders participating in the making, the film is a unique blend of reality and fiction. Filmed in real clubhouses, it provides a bird’s eye view of the happenings inside a biker’s world authentic to the lifestyle. Being a teacher, I enjoy learning, especially about a culture I didn’t know much about. The film demonstrates a meaning of brotherhood that had been foreign to me and now is a part of me along with a day I will always remember.

To learn more visit www.sonnybarger.com or www.deadin5heartbeats.com

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