With bikes, beer and a new element of family friendliness, the Republic of Texas Biker Rally (ROT Rally) is back for 2014 and bigger than ever.
Expo Center Busy with Music and Events
The nation’s largest ticketed motorcycle rally returns to the Travis County Expo Center June 12-15th.
This year, event organizers have stepped up their game by booking top notch music acts for the main stage.
Thursday night features Black Star Riders: The New Thin Lizzy. Friday’s headliner will be Reverend Horton Heat, whose frantic fusion of punk rock and rockabilly will get people’s blood flowing. Saturday night’s headliner is the Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar. The former Van Halen front man will kick off the annual Saturday night adults-only brouhaha that ROT Rally is famous for.
That only covers the main stage headlining acts. The Paradise Bar will feature its own line up of musicians, who will be working hard to entertain event goers over the course of the weekend.
The floor of the Expo Center will be taken over by featured motorcycle builders like Bronson Willard of Southern Metal Choppers, famed custom bike builder Arlen Ness, and his grandson Zach Ness. Lathan McKay will be displaying his Evel Knievel memorabilia collection. The cool thing is that McKay’s collection isn’t limited to posters, costumes and motorcycles. He will also be displaying video clips and x-rays. After all, Evel Knievel is as equally famous for his broken bones as he is for his daredevil motorcycle stunts. Evel Knievel’s son, Robbie, will also make an appearance.
Speaking of daredevils, the 2014 ROT Rally will be showcasing Doug Danger. Since the age of five, Doug wanted to jump motorcycles. At 17, he performed his first professional jump and hasn’t looked back, or down, since. I’m looking forward to seeing what this nationally televised daredevil has in store for ROT Rally this year.
Steve Trevino returns as event emcee. He will have his hands full announcing acts like the music headliners, adult themed t-shirt contests, the Ride in Bike Show and, as rumor has it, a comedy showcase (it looks like Christmas has come early for your intrepid writer). Steve was born and raised in Gregory/Portland, TX, just north of Corpus Christi. He has worked closely with Carlos Mencia, been featured on Craig Ferguson, and has headlined comedy clubs across the nation.
One of the more touching events each year at ROT Rally is the Military Bike Giveaway. Each year, a featured bike builder volunteers to create a custom motorcycle that is raffled off to a lucky active duty service member or veteran at ROT Rally. This year, the builder will be none other than Zach Ness. There is no cost to enter the raffle, just proof of military service. As a vet, it’s nice to know people care about and appreciate what has been given up by military personnel.
Under 18? No Problem
Taking part in the action at the Expo Center is still an 18+ affair. Last year, despite a broken motorcycle, my fiancé and I still made it to the rally. She duly noted the lack of kid noises and found it pleasant.
Though this is a motorcycle rally, actually owning or riding a motorcycle is not a requirement to attend. But keep in mind that free parking for cars is a pretty decent hike from the Expo Center. Bringing a car to a motorcycle rally is like bringing a knife to a gun fight – it’s disadvantageous.
ROT Rally organizers didn’t want to leave families out of the loop completely this year. They managed to claim the Austin American-Statesman and Texas DOT parking areas at 305 S. Congress Ave from June 13–14th so families could check out vendors and motorcycle displays. This is over 50 acres of all things motorcycles. Wristband holders get to take advantage of special parking and all-access perks at the event.
The downtown festivities will feature a showcase of the nation’s top custom bike builders, a variety of vendors, and demo rides from Harley Davidson, Indian, and Yamaha Motorcycles.
Don’t worry, fellow Austinites. Our beloved food trailers will be on site, as well as live music. The annual motorcycle parade will culminate there and vendors will be open late to accommodate parade participants on Friday the 13th. Don’t be scared.
No Reason Not to Go
Kids or no kids, bike or no bike, the 2014 Republic of Texas Biker Rally has a little something for everyone. I am extremely excited about this year’s event. I am even more excited that my motorcycle is in operating order.
All event information can be found on the ROT Rally website. Weekend and daily wristbands are available for purchase.
Will I see you at ROT Rally this year? What will you be driving?