As I was riding home after leaving my daughter and grandbabies at the nearby Rock Springs Café I spotted an unusual western fence that caused me to pull over and contemplated the next cover photo for my facebook page. I could see that the clear, blue sky framing the wrought iron would make for a perfect backdrop. I pulled up to the house and saw a couple of people out front working on the yard, so I drove to the other side of the property in order to get a clear shot.
As I was snapping photos, a gentleman came to the fence and slowly opened it. We discussed the fence décor and his property and I told him what a great facebook cover I thought this would make. A slow smile came to his face, he put out his hand and introduced himself as Sonny. I had further inquiries about his property and he invited me to see 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?” He asked. I replied earnestly, “Oh no, my roommates have motorcycles.”
He spoke about the horses and stable as we were walking into a small building that housed books, movies and motorcycles. Sonny 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.
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 here 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 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