TRISTAN SCOTT Missoulian MISSOULA
Dylan and Jase Lewis tend their East Missoula Kool-Aid stand with rapt attention, listening for the distant rumble of motorcycles. They dismiss a Honda Goldwing here, a sport bike there, but when the choppy clamor of a Harley Davidson V-twin crescendos to a deafening thunder, their eyes light up with cartoon dollar signs. One of the boys flips over a posterboard sign advertising "Jase and Dylan's Kool-Aide" so that it reads "Welcome Hells Angels," and a tattooed throng of leatherclad bikers is upon them, queuing up patiently before the juice jug with outstretched dollar bills. "They've learned to listen for that sound," said Bev Lewis, the mother of Jase, 7, and Dylan, 11. As it turns out, members and prospects of the Hells Angels, the world's most revered and feared motorcycle organization, are Kool-Aid winos, and Jase and Dylan peddle their drug of choice. Dylan took this valuable business lesson to heart in 2000, wh e n t h e He l l s An ge l s Motorcycle Club last visited the Garden City for its annual USA Run an event that kicked off in Missoula for a second time on Wednesday. The last time the club was in town, Dylan and his older brother, Adam, set up a Kool-Aid command post along Highway 200 near their house, hoisted a "Welcome Hells Angels" sign in the air and cooled their heels on a card table. One of the first bikers who noticed the welcome wagon pulled over and told the brothers they couldn't use the club's trademarked name as a selling point. But moments later, as the boys were tearing down the stand, a chapter leader from Arizona drove up and granted them permission, even going as far to authenticate the operation by scribbling his signature on the posterboard. In less than two hours, they made nearly $200 after subtracting overhead costs for sugar, ice and drink packets and learned a thing or two about the theory of supply and demand. As the bikers kept arriving, the siblings scrambled to fill and refill a Coleman thermos with bug juice and water, which they siphoned from a neighbor's spigot. Meanwhile, the Angels accepted half-full Dixie cups and flipped the boys $5 bills for their troubles (a cup of Kool-Aid costs 25 cents, but most club members tip around 1,000 percent). After about two hours, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper rolled up and ordered a drink, but said he had to shut down the booth because it was causing a traffic hazard. "It really turned them into little moneymakers," Bev said Wednesday while supervising her boys in the Ole's parking lot in East Missoula. "This year they were talking about raising their prices because of inflation. Kool-Aid is 25 cents a packet now, up from around 5 cents the last time. But they decided against it." The Lewis brothers have a philanthropic side, too. In 2005, they set up shop selling lemonade and donated $325 to the Red Cross to help support victims of Hurricane Katrina. But this week, it's all about profits, and the brothers have remedied the parking problem by getting permission from the owner of Ole's to use the lot. On Tuesday, Jase and Dylan capitalized on the prospects and recruits who drifted into town ahead of other club members to set up camp at Marshall Mountain, where members of the club are staying through the weekend. They had about a dozen customers, raking in $30. After that refresher, the brothers can already recognize the poise of an Angel, and pick out nonmembers from a hundred feet away. "He's got a helmet so he's probably not a Hells Angel," Dylan said Wednesday after assessing one approaching biker. But then came the payload, in the form of Oscar, a full member of the Hells Angels California Nomads who said he bui l t up a tal l thirst on Wednesday while bench-pressing 500 pounds at a local gym. Sitting back on his Harley, with ink-sleeved biceps the size of ponderosa tree trunks, and wearing a smile wider than the nearby Clark Fork River, Oscar called to Dylan. "Come here, man. As soon as I saw you with that sign, you broke my heart," Oscar said. Dylan obliges, bringing Oscar a cup of Kool-Aid and a chocolate-chip cookie. In exchange for the morsels, Oscar reaches toward the back of his bike, where his helmet is mounted, wrapped in a black T-shirt. "Take your shirt off, kid," Oscar said. "What size are you?" "I don't know. Ask her," said Dylan, pointing to his mother as Oscar slips the oversized shirt over the boy's slight frame. "Here, come get your tips," Oscar said, handing his Kool- Aid cup to a prospective member while motioning to Jase and handing each of the brothers $2. "We appreciate the welcome," Oscar said before gunning his engine and roaring off toward Marshall Mountain as Dylan and Jase admired the gift. "It's pretty cool," Dylan said. "I'm definitely gonna wear it the next time I sell Kool-Aid." The Lewis brothers will work through today, when Dylan goes to summer camp.