Hanging out with Hells Angels
By: The Duluth News Tribune, Superior Telegram
Things we observed while playing blackjack Thursday with Hells Angels members at Black Bear Casino and other notes:
* Two Hells Angels members said they flew to the rally from California and are bikeless. Why? Because the recession has affected them, too. They couldn’t afford to take any more time off their jobs, which are “in oil” in Ventura. What will they do without their bikes? Charter a fishing boat. One said he wanted to catch pikes, and walleyes, so we directed them to the St. Louis River.
* Men with the label “prospect” on the fronts of their jackets brought the Angels their drinks. The prospects didn’t have the trademark winged skull on the backs of their jackets.
* When one of the prospects brought an Angel too much beer, he gave it to someone else at the table.
* They played at the $3 blackjack table and nursed a stack of $10 to $20 bills. When one busted, he borrowed $10 from another guy.
* Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Mark Baker confirmed that Hells Angels founding member Sonny Barger is participating in this week's USA run in Carlton. “He has been identified as being there,” he said.
* The Lost Isle bar and restaurant, site of a public meet-n-greet on Tuesday night, was less welcoming late Wednesday. The parking lot area, cordoned off with trailers that block the view of the bar in Carlton, had a biker positioned at the driveway. Across the dirt road, a law enforcement vehicle faced the entry — a setup that lasted until at least 1:30 a.m.
* Black Bear Casino was the place to hit the Hells Angels jackpot Wednesday night into Thursday. More than 150 motorcycles were lined up in front, some in a semicircle near the door to the casino. Just inside the door a small group of Hells Angels maintained a presence.
* Members of the motorcycle club gathered in the lobby, greeting other members. Many wandered through the casino, one in board shorts, another in Adidas lounge pants, but always topped by leather vests or jackets with the winged-skull Hells Angels insignia on the back. There were men from New Hampshire, Connecticut, California, New York and Washington, D.C.
* Hells Angels there appeared to range in age from the low- to mid-20s to the 60s.
* One member was seen with a “Filthy Few” patch, allegedly given to members who have committed murder for the club.
* At the Spur station on Highway 210, employee Channing Lucking said she was excited to see the Hells Angels, and that one had offered to buy her ice cream.
* Harley Davidson motorcycles range from about $12,000 to $32,000 and are the preferred ride of members of the motorcycle club.
* If you’re looking to see packs of Hells Angels traveling together, think like any sort of motorcycle enthusiast: The best bets are up Highway 61 toward Two Harbors or in the Jay Cooke State Park area.
Compiled by Christa Lawler, Jana Hollingsworth and Brandon Stahl