THE LEGENDARY ARMOND BLETCHER | FALLEN HELLS ANGEL OF UNHUMAN PROPORTIONS

“Hell’s Angels love to fistfight. There’s never a shortage of drunks or foolhardy motherfuckers willing to take us on, and  a lot of times we’ll take on each other. Armond Bletcher stood  6″8″ and weighed 350 lbs. He was so strong he could pick up a couple motorcycles  and put them on the back of a pickup truck. In the early ’70s Armond could bench 705 lbs., but he had to arch his back to do it. He was never in competition, but he took steroids and was unbelievably big.”

–Ralph “Sonny” Barger

ARMOND BLETCHER EASY RIDER

Jesus-H-Christ this was a big ass dude. Depending on who’s telling it, Armond Bletcher was somewhere between 6′ 3″ – 6′ 8″, and tipped the scales around 300 – 350 lbs. A friend of the Fresno Hells Angel, and a feature favorite with the staff at Easyriders magazine, Armond was literally a giant among men and a controversial figure to this day. There are many colorful tales– It’s reported that as a doorman he got away with shooting a man to death, that he was a known hitman, also Frank Sinatra’s bodyguard, and that he took horse steroids to achieve and maintain his enoromous size.

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TSY SATURDAY SLOPPY SECONDS | THE 1970’s BADASS BIKER ROUNDUP, PT. II

Just too much 1970s Biker badass goodness to not go sequel on y’all, and in full color no less, bros and bras.  Check the great ozone fade in a lot of these old pics that have been used and abused, and finally landing here for prosperity.  I’m honored to give them a home. While I’m at it–  also revisiting custom bike legend Jeff McCann.  His awesome archive of work has been lovingly featured on TSY before to mad fanfare, as it should.  Let’s get to it, shall we?

Love some old school 1970s Harley Digger action.

Roberta Pedon on a Panhead chopper. Not many are fit to print, I’m glad to have this lil’ gem.

“Run to the Redwoods”  Jeff McCann’s run featured in this 1974 Custom Chopper magazine. “While I claim no credit for the success of the “Redwood Run” in later years, I was the one who was it’s initiator. Bob Dron was at “The Run to the Redwoods” and is the guy parked by the side of the road watching the passing bikes in the first photo above the title. 4 years later he purchased the Oakland Harley-Davidson dealership from the surviving Self brother. At the Northern California Dealers meetings he began lobbying for a revival of the TTT event and suggested they follow the format I had established, ie. live band, food and drink provided and use the same (now improved) campsite. When it was finally approved sometime later he called and told me they had decided to call it the “Redwood Run”, a slight variation on the nameI used. The call was a courtesy to see if I objected and of course I did not.

I attended the first event and for many years afterward. As the run grew in popularity it became profitable to a small degree. The dealers had begun contracting with the local Kiwanis Club for all site services. The local sheriff announced the dealers where going to have to begin paying for his departments “overtime” costs incurred by policing the event, to the tune of $40,000, the dealers canceled the event. The very next year the Kiwanis took out ads in several newspapers and motorcycle magazines and announced the continuation of the “Redwood Run” just as everyone had known it before.”.  Jeff McCann

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TSY FRIDAY FADE | THE LATE NIGHT 1970’s BADASS BIKER ROUNDUP

It’s Friday, folks.  No heavy lifting.  Sit back while TSY rolls-out The Best of 1970’s Biker Roundup. Badass bikes built by real bros.  Slamming Bud in tin cans.  Braided ol’ ladies with an aversion to bras, bouncin’ on back, bracin’ the sissy bar.  Sucking SoCo from a skin.  Passing out shirtless in the tall grass as the bonfire fades into dawn.   Why, oh why did it have to end?  Because it was too rad to last…

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Because he can.  And back then it might get ya’ a boob flash. In a Herculean effort to prove the 45 Magnum is a lightweight, Randy Smith hoists 203 pounds of machine off the ground, solo. The whole 45 magnum weighs only slightly more than a unit Sportster engine. 


The bodacious Roberta Pedon straddling a Harley Panhead chopper.  Think she knows how to ride?

Proudly have pics like this in the ol’ family album?  We may be kin.  via

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EPIC BIKER ART LEGEND | LONG LIVE EASYRIDERS’ HAROLD R. ROBINSON, JR.

Easyriders was a great biker mag– back in the day. In fact, it was the official reading resource of our household growing up.  Yeah, I read the articles, snuck peeks at pics of ol’ ladies (pre-silicone days, and looking like their upper half had been subjected to major G4-force wind, if you catch my drift…), but mostly I drooled over the mesmerizing artwork of legendary illustrators Dave Mann and Hal Robinson. Hal will always be remembered  for his “Red Rider” and the epic “Miraculous Mutha” cartoons.  What an amazing artist who influenced a generation of illustrators that followed.  Sadly he passed on to the other side back in ’84, but his art will live forever.

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EASYRIDERS DAVE MANN | BIKER ART

 

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My stepdad was a biker, and not exactly a warm and fuzzy guy. He rode a classic ’79 Harley Davidson Lowrider, and his little friend was always along for the ride– a .44 magnum strapped to his leg “for all the honest world to feel” (as Townes Van Zandt would say). Sounds cool, but like a lot of things– you tend to idealize it when you’re on the outside looking in. We didn’t exactly fit into the norm, nor did we to care to. Let’s just say it wasn’t a typical childhood, and we got a lot of stares. I was not invited to a lot of sleep-overs either.

Easyriders magazine was a part of growing up, and exposed me to a lot of… you know, art. Yeah, there’s other stuff in there too that a kid shouldn’t see, but I was fascinated with the illustrations by Dave Mann– and still am. They’re incredible.

Dave Mann’s dad was a lifelong illustrator and active member of the Society of Scribes in London. The younger Mann was born in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1957 he first drew pencil sketches of hot rods while feigning attention in high school. His crude sketches opened the door for Dave’s first job, pinstriping cars for Doug Thompson and Ray Hetrick’s custom car shop in Kansas City.  The wild allure of the West Coast drew Dave and buddy Al Burnett to Santa Monica, California. While cruising the seaside community he stumbled across Bay Area Muffler, an area custom car house, and there discovered completely insane chopped Harleys. The bikes drove him wild. They projected freedom, power and mobility with every chromed curve. He was immediately hooked.

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