Residents in and around the City of Austin, the capitol of Texas have enjoyed the spectacle of worn riders cruising city streets on an array of motorcycles. The Republic of Texas Biker (ROT) Rally officially kicked off Thursday at the Travis County Expo Center, and the event’s parade takes place Friday night as the city closes some of Austin’s roads Friday evening and night.
While similar events in Sturgis, South Dakota, and Daytona Beach, Florida, draw more attendees, they are not ticketed events. The first R. O. T. Rally was held in 1995, and it has been an annual event ever since. It constitutes one of the largest annual tourist events in Central Texas, with an estimated economic impact of 30-35,000,000 dollars per year.
Not surprisingly, the rally’s roots are traced back to Harley-Davidson, who recruited local riders to organize a rally. However, this being a motorcycle story, it has its share of twists and turns.
The initial rally so successful, representatives from Harley called organizers to find out what they did.
“We told them we threw out the rule book,” ROT Rally co-founder, Jerry Bragg told KHOU.
But this success didn’t stop Harley-Davidson from moving the event to another city in Texas the following year. Wanting to keep a motorcycle event in Austin, Bragg and a co-founder started the ROT Rally. Originally, there were around 4,000 attendees, now they expect close to 40,000. Another highlight for this year’s event is an attempt at a notable motorcycle record.
"Doug Danger is going to take Evil Knievel’s motorcycle and he's going to jump them with the blades spinning,” explained Dragg.
Danger will be riding the legendary 1972 Harley Davidson XR 750. He is scheduled to jump on Saturday, June 10 at 3 p.m. The rally runs through Sunday.