Motorcycle rallies around the country are getting squeezed as costs for permits, fees and expenses rise out of control. With corporate & political support fading, organizers are going back to basics to keep rider celebrations fresh.
Hollister, marketed as the “Birthplace of the American Biker,” is once again bucking the system and setting new trends. This year, the 74th reinvented Hollister Rally will take place July 4th – 7th and features the theme “It’s All About the Ride.” Bikers from all around the world are invited to check out the separate venues: Camp47 at Bolado Park, Corbin’s Open House Party & Bike Show, Johnny’s Bar & Grill, the Veterans Memorial Building Welcome Center, and Hollister Indian Powersports.
Rather than have one large event at a single location, Hollister “It’s All About the Ride” will provide a more rider-friendly experience, concentrating on what motorcyclists enjoy most. With hundreds of miles of back roads and lots of biker history and hangouts already on its resume, Hollister only needed a few tweaks: a biker campground option, better access to downtown and a variety of spread-out entertainment.
To make this happen, local business owners and rally supporters banded together. Mike Corbin, owner of Corbin Motorcycle Seats and Accessories, Peter Lago, owner of the iconic biker hangout, Johnny’s Bar & Grill, Rey Sotelo, general manager of Hollister Powersports Indian motorcycle dealership, Bob Richards, owner of 41Live, and Brian Holt, owner of Florida-based The Official Gear Company are working as one to create an exciting, uniquely homegrown event. Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys is helping with financial support and advertising resources. The law firm produced a series of videos to showcase Hollister and the surrounding area: russbrown/CArides.
“Downtown Hollister is a cool slice of history; we want people to be able to enjoy it and continue the tradition of Hollister Rally,” says Holt, who is hosting the Welcome Center at the Veterans Memorial Building at 649 San Benito Street. Holt said there will be a display of Indian Motorcycles, as well as Ron Simms’ Custom Cycles and Byrd Coop Customs. He said the California National Guard will be showing military vehicles and World War II-era motorcycles, as well as more modern military equipment. There will be food vendors and official t-shirts, patches and pens. Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys will be giving away free bandanas.
“It’s all spread out because we really want to make it all about the ride,” reminds Holt. At Corbin’s, you can tour the factory and watch your seat be made from scratch. You can camp out at Bolado Park & see concerts, which hasn’t been done in the past. You can go to Hollister Powersports for demo rides or come down to the Welcome Center at the Veterans Memorial Building to sign the Salute Our Heroes wall. Then you can go to Johnny’s where the history began with the 1953 movie, “The Wild One” with Marlon Brando.”
Rey Sotelo said there will be Indian motorcycle and Can-Am demo rides around Hollister all three days of the rally. Rides last about 20 minutes, with 10 or so riders venturing out into the country, which isn’t all that far from downtown.
“We have to keep it at about 20 minutes because we get so many people wanting to ride,” Sotelo said. “Last year, we did close to 500 demos over the three days.”
He said there will be rally deals ranging from $500 to $1,000 off on the heavyweight and midsized Indians, and there will be demo credits on the Can-Ams, as well. He said that he and Bob Richards of 41Live and other major promotions will be featuring live bands, two bars and plenty of RV and tent camping at Bolado Park, south of Hollister on State Route 25. Sotelo says the move there will free up the party to go on until midnight.
“Besides the music, we’ve got a full liquor license, an outside bar and inside the bar,” he said. “The inside bar opens at 4 p.m. We have an outside stage where the bands will play. There will be motorcycle games, plenty of food, and vendors. Campsites are already filling up. We’re getting really positive feedback from what we’re trying to do out there.”
He said the few hotels in Hollister fill up quickly, so those who would like to stay overnight or throughout the three-day event can reserve sites now at Bolado Park by calling Hollister Powersports at 831-630-5200 or online to wildoneproductions.info. He said there are a limited number of full hook-up RV sites, which are going fast, but there’s plenty of tent camping and dry RV campsites. A VIP package for $50 includes three days of camping, t-shirt, and drink tickets.