The Original Wild Ones – Book Review

the original wild ones

Bill Hayes’s The Original Wild Ones – Tales of the Boozfighters Motorcycle Club published by Motorbooks is the best motorcycle book I have read so far. As you can see by my archives I have read quite a few; including Bill’s second book American Biker. This book (Bill’s first) is the MOST fun, the MOST entertaining, the MOST nostalgic, definitely the MOST endearing and possibly the MOST educational even though it is not meant to be a factual retelling of history. These are “tales” after all. A good colorful depiction of the origin of motorcycle clubs told by a member of the current day Boozefighters. 

Okay, this may not be a history book-in the purest sense-but, like salt around the rim of a Margarita glass, there are a few important grains that just have to be attached to the good stuff to enhance the flavor.

You never dilute 80-proof gold; you simply add to it.

In a way, discussions of Hollister 1947 are like talks about good-looking women and bikes. Some subjects just never get old and there is always a new twist.

Hollister can’t be ignored because it was, without question, the linchpin of this entire lifestyle. It was like the Super Bowl I, the Packers and the Chiefs. It was like the first pizza delivery by Mama Theresa in 1889. It was like Irene “La Belle” Woodward, the first seriously tattooed American women, hitting the circus circuit in 1882. There are some things that have definitely changed the entire social structure of the U.S. of A.

The equation is easy: Hollister equals the American biker, and the Boozefighters MC is the sum total of both.

Shortly after returning from World War II vets started riding motorcycles and forming clubs to fuel their wild side. Traveling together like squadrons they formed the original MC’s. A few bikers stopped in a small town in Hollister, CA in 1947 and had themselves a good time. The usual drinking, racing and disorderly conduct ensued. Nothing big. No raping or pillaging of the citizens of the town. Documentation supports the most heinous crime was the urinating into a car radiator by a member of the Boozfighters MC. Yes another member of the Boozefighters MC did ride his motorcycle right through the front door and into a bar. But it doesn’t seem that the establishment cared except that they requested the motorcycle be moved to a wall and not block the patrons from the bar. A photographer staged a picture by piling up a bunch of empty beer bottles around a motorcycle and asking a drunk to sit on the bike. The picture made the cover of Life magazine and stories appeared in newspapers across the country about the riot that never was. In 1953 Stanley Kramer produced the original biker flick The Wild One sensationalizing the Boozfighters visit into Hollister and their fun loving antics. The movie was shown in theaters across the country. Art imitates life and life imitates art! Young men saw that film and related to, or envied, the characters played by Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin. A counter culture was born and the blueprint for today’s Motorcycle Clubs was formed!  This sequence of events is the origin of biker culture!

The founding Boozefighters-the original wild ones-definitely had an aura that primarily focused on good-natured fun, with all the serious, antisocietal criminal behavior of, say, Spanky and Alfalfa with a pack of firecrackers.

However, there was never a question that they were tough. The entire generation that emerged from World War II was. They had to be. Just look into the faces of FDR, Truman, or Eisenhower sets  the tone for the times. It took a very hard line to land at Normandy, blast through the Pacific theater, and then come home to fire up a flathead or a knuckle, grab a frosty Pabst, and head for the sunset.

“The Original Wild Ones” is a term reserved for the members and associates of the founding Boozefighters. “Wino” Willie Forkner and his friends fought to keep our country free and returned from war to ride their way into history and legend! Author Bill Hayes has unique access to BFMC Historian Jim “J.Q.” Quattlebaum, surviving founding members and club documentation. He wields his pen (or keyboard) in  a style that colors in the tales and history of the BFMC with blazing hues. This book is published by Motorbooks Publishing and like all their books is a superbly produced and bound ink and paper volume of reading pleasure for your octane enhanced biker brain. The forward is written by Editor-In-Chief of Easyriders magazine Dave Nichols. Visit www.BikerTruth.com  and purchase a signed copy of The Original Wild Ones by best selling author Bill Hayes before real books become a memory just like real bikers, bikes and tales from a time when men were men and squares were square! Click Here!