Hollister bike rally commences unofficially over weekend

City Council voted to cancel rally in March

Bikers gather in Hollister despite rally cancelation

HOLLISTER, Calif. - The week of the Fourth of July is a big one in Hollister. It is when the annual Independence Rally is held where bikers roll through town.

But with the city not sanctioning the event this year, the turnout was not as good as previous years.

"We usually try to do it once a year, I mean try to make it a yearly thing. Unfortunately it got canceled this year," said Carlos Moreno, a biker who came from the Fremont area.

The Hollister City Council scratched the rally in a 3-2 vote in March. They could not find a primary promoter to plan and manage the rally in time.

The show still went on. At least three individual organizers put on events, with other Hollister vendors joining in. The official decision to cancel, however, was felt in the crowd.

"I think it was about 60 percent, and that's probably a little lean, maybe 60 to 70 percent down," said Bob Richards, one of the organizers.

Richards thinks Hollister has gotten beat up over this issue. He says the real challenge lies in how for-profit promoters negotiate costs with cities to organize big events like the bike rally.

"The model is broken," he said. "It's just too expensive for a promoter, an outside promoter, to come in and pay for the security, the administration and the trash, which would be our biggest three, and still make money doing it."

Promoters foot the bill for public safety, all payable to the city. It is not just promoters who struggle with paying fees. One clothing vendor tells KION they have to pay extra for a "special event" temporary business license.

"You have to pay your promoter fees and people want discounts and it's hard to bargain with them and make money still. You end up either like losing or breaking even," said Mykala Sanders, the owner of Red Door Salon and Boutique.

The lack of crowds this year, do not help either.

"It sucks, I mean, you should bring it all back in. People like to come see this, if it's once in a lifetime," said Ricky Trinidad, a Hollister resident. "People like to come here to see the bikers, we haven't seen them for a long time."

This is not the first time the rally has been canceled. Just look back to 2006 and between 2009 and 2012.

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