Thousands of people gathered at the Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday for the funeral of Ralph “Sonny” Barger, longtime president and founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club.
It was an event the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office warned on Friday could become dangerous.
But those in attendance cried, shared stories and remembered the 83-year-old Modesto native who died in June 29 from cancer.
“Even though he was blind in one eye, and he packed his oxygen, well, when his kickstand went up, you better catch up,” one speaker said.
As of early evening on Saturday, no significant incidents had occurred at the funeral, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office said. Sheriff Patrick Withrow advised residents at a press conference Friday to avoid the area of the speedway, located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, and said rival organizations to the Hells Angels would likely be in the area.