HOLLISTER, CA - The bikes rolled back into Hollister, California last Friday for the now annual Independence Rally hosted by city. The of this historic rally was San Benito Street right in the middle of the city’s downtown. Motorcycles filled the city’s main street for a four block area where vendors sold everything from t-shirts to motorcycles along the side roads.
This year marked the seventh anniversary of historic American Motorcycle Association sanctioned Gypsy Tour Event held in the city where "evil bikers" (the 1%) invaded the city in 1947. After staged photo outside Johnny's Bar was published in Life Magazine in 1947, followed by a Harper's Magazine's article "The Cyclists Raid" and the Marlon Brando movie "The Wild Ones" hit the theaters, the legend of the outlaw biker was born. However the events in Hollister in 1947 bore little resemblances to the movie or the article, the bikers did not run amok nor become violent.
As we have learned from the movies, "when the legend becomes the fact, print the legend."
This year the rally would be ran by Reno promotion group RoadShows. In an agreement with promoter Reno-based RoadShows, which runs the Street Vibrations events in Nevada, the promoter agreed to pay $140,000 to cover city costs such as police, fire and public works. And last week they did just that when the group handed the city a check to cover all the expenses. The city of Hollister had a falling out with a previous promoter, ConvExx, which runs the Bikefest Rally in Las Vegas. According to the city that group still owes the city roughly $90,000.
Thousands of bikes lined a four block area of San Benito Street and rally-goers checked out their favorite bikes up and down the street. While motorcycles revved morning to night throughout the weekend, attendees purchased leather jackets and souvenir T-shirts front vendors on each side of the street. Other vendors offerings included insurance promotions, sunglasses, THC infused juices and beef jerky.
Many of the forty thousand attendees made a be-line for the bar where the legend was born, Johnny's Bar and Grill. "I do a month and a half worth of business in a week," said Charisse Tyson, owner of Johnny's.
The city of Hollister was very happy with the turn-out for this year’s rally and is looking forward to continuing to work with the Reno promoter RoadShows in years to come. Next year’s rally is scheduled for June 28th through July 1st. But if you can't wait there is always Sturgis in August and of course Reno's Street Vibration in September.
See you in Reno.
All Rally Photos by Big Valley News & Photo