"Boomer", AEE Chopper's Mascot
By Dave Brackett
When I got out of the service in January of 1969, I went to look up old friend Tom McMullen. He now had a chopper shop in Buena Park, Ca., selling chopper parts and building custom chopper style motorcycles. Tom immediately hired me to run the welding shop, design new products and build custom bikes. While Tom was showing me around, we went in one of the back buildings, and there was a baby lion. Tom and Rose had just bought him as a baby, and he spent most of his time with them, including his days at the shop.
As he grew, he became more friendly toward people, and soon looked forward to spending lunch hour playing with the employees. Tom had him fixed and removed his front claws and baby fangs, so he could not hurt people or tear up things. Unfortunately, having him fixed meant he would never grow a mane. The lion was called "Boomer", I am not sure why, but he soon became a fixture at AEE Choppers. He rode in the van for pick ups and deliveries. He lounged around the sales counter, surprising customers, and started to be featured in advertising and bike articles. In our 1969 catalog, which showed employees photos and their jobs, Boomer was listed in charge of "Complaints".
Boomer loved being with the gang at the shop, one day he somehow got out over the wall behind the shop, he was free to go anywhere, but he walked around the block, and stood by the front door of the show room, till he was noticed and let in. When Tom and Rose got airplanes, Boomer was often seen flying with them, he would watch out the window until things got too small to recognize, then he would lay down till we landed.
If Tom and Rose had to go away for a while, I took Boomer home with me, he was house broken and perfectly trained to be in the house, or walk on a leash. If for some reason, he could not get your attention to let him out, he would go in the bath tub, I don't know why he did this, but it was easy to clean up.
For a while, we had a mini bike race track behind the shop building, and the guys would race mini bikes at lunch time. Boomer loved to chase the bikes, but soon learned he could cut across the corners and nail you as you exited the turn. Sadly, Boomer kept growing, and was soon over 250 pounds, he still wanted to play with people, but he would hurt you because of his weight.
Around this time we moved to a new bigger building, and there was a storage room inside the building with steps to the top for more storage. Cats like to be king of the hill, so Boomer inherited this new perch and loved to look out over all the activity in the building. His association with people started to become limited, because of his size, and he also developed an infatuation for women. He loved to knock them down and sit on their bodies and lick their faces. He meant no harm, just wanted to play.
Boomer was now over three years old and three hundred pounds. He could no longer be trusted with people unfamiliar with him. Tom decided to get rid of him, I took him to a friend in Yucca Valley, Ca. who had several exotic cats and a compound, Boomer was happy there, but soon started bothering the wife who was small and unable to handle him. They asked if I could take him back.
I picked up Boomer, who was glad to see me, and took him to a compound in San Bernardino, Ca., where animals were kept for the movies. He seemed to fit right in and the handlers loved him. I stopped by a year later to visit Boomer, and tried to play with him, but he was now over 400 pounds, and I could not handle that. Sadly, the friendly lion who grew up playing with people, could no longer be with them. I cried when I left, but he was in a great place, they took good care of him.
I assume he has now passed on, but what great memories of sharing the life of an exotic animal, who was a friend to employees and customers at AEE Choppers for several years. Boomer loved us all.