Hollister - The city of Hollister is a great example of how the media can manipulate their readers into believing anything. After a staged photo taken outside of Johnny's Bar in 1947 and a story of the 1% evil bikers invasion of the city during a sanctioned Gypsy Tour Event of the American Motorcycle Association, the legend of the rebel without a cause wild ones American Biker was born, even if they were riding English bikes.
Well motorcycling is still alive and well in the city of Hollister and this last weekend over 40,000 bikers passed though the city for the Hollister Freedom Rally. The free event attracted hundreds of vendors to feed the bikers and provided goods from souvenir t-shirts to leathers and accent lighting kits. If it had anything to do with motorcycles, someone was selling it in downtown Hollister.
The rally is a salute to the Gypsy Tours of the 1930's and 40's. Unlike 70 and 80 years ago, today's rally comes with corporate sponsorships and is managed by an event production company based out of Las Vegas. ConvExx is the same team that has produced Las Vegas BikeFest for the past 14 years and has also produced many of the top trade shows in the United States including the SEMA Show and the SHOT Show, both based in Las Vegas.
There were custom bike shows, tattoo contests, poker runs as well as poker walks and it wouldn't be a motorcycle rally without bikini clad woman competing for the title of Ms. Hollister Freedom. Through out both Friday and Saturday bands took to the stage for free shows. On Friday night the Fabulous Thunderbirds rocked the main stage for the first concert of the rally. Then on Saturday the Guess Who entertained from the same stage. Both of those shows required a ticket but the prices were very reasonable.
As ConvExx has done at the Bikefest in Las Vegas, celebrities were invited to hang out with their fans. In the biker's world there are no bigger celebrities than the stars of the FX biker drama Son's of Anarchy. Tommy "Chips" Flanagan and Mark "Bobby" Boone Jr. were on hand to take photos and sign just about anything fans would put in front of them (I'll leave that to your imagination).
Hollister Police Chief David Westrick said late Saturday afternoon there had not been any serious issues with crime on the second day of the Hollister Freedom Rally. The chief said there had been “typical” issues during the event such as a “little overdrinking” and a couple of driving-under-the-influence arrests the night before. “We’ve had nothing so far that’s even newsworthy,” he said.
Next year's rally is already booked for Hollister for July 1-2-3 but if you can't wait there is always Sturgis in August, Reno's Street Vibration in September and the mother of all West Coast Rally's the Las Vegas Bikefest in October. Bikefest is taking early registrations online until August 1st..
BVN will see you there....
All photos by JW Porter