Motorcyclists cruise through the downtown at the 2008 Hollister Motorcycle Rally this weekend.
music in the park san jose

Event organizer Seth Doulton of Horse Power Promotions called
the rally a

success

and although he did not have attendance estimates or T-shirt
sales information calculated Monday morning, he said he thought the
show would be more profitable than last year’s.
photo gallery of the rally.
Coming soon: a video and an audio slideshow.
Visitors who come to Hollister this week probably would never know that tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts were packed elbow to elbow up and down San Benito Street over the weekend for the Hollister Motorcycle Rally.

For three days, the roar of engines mixed with the sound of rock and the smell of barbecue as downtown Hollister was turned into a motorcycle Mecca.

“I love the smell of bike exhaust in the morning!” said Alan Logan, who drove his 2006 Harley-Davidson VRSC from Oakland to get to the show.

Stretching along San Benito Street from South to Fourth streets and spilling out onto Monterey and East streets, the rally featured hot food, cold beer, live entertainment and custom motorcycles.

Bands like the Mofo Party Band and Just Cream kept the audience grooving and events like the Merchant Poker Walk and Bike Blessing broke up the pace of the weekend. Shows such as the High Rollers “Wall of Death” dropped jaws when daredevils rode horizontally around the walls of a massive barrel.

Aside from the events, motorcycle-themed merchandise took center stage with booth after booth selling T-shirts, leather jackets, silver jewelry and faded blue jeans.

Holding shopping bags bursting with denim and leather, Julie Hernandez of Aromas said her husband turned her onto the biker culture.

“Lets see, I got a couple new T-shirts for the kids and this little leather vest,” Hernandez said, holding up a leather corset-style vest. “I look good in leather, what can say?”

Event organizer Seth Doulton of Horse Power Promotions called the rally a “success” and although he did not have attendance estimates or T-shirt sales information calculated Monday morning, he said he thought the show would be more profitable than last year’s.

“From a business perspective, it doesn’t matter how many people are there. It matters what kind of people are there,” Doulton said. “After talking with a lot of vendors, they said they did pretty well this year.”

Some of the more notorious motorcycle clubs were at the event including the Hells Angels and the Banditos. Sonny Barger, the Hells Angels celebrated former leader, was on hand again this year for a book signing.

“I think they lost a key day by putting the rally this Friday,” Barger said, his voice harsh from a laryngectomy surgery. “It’s a great event for the city, even if they try to drive it out. But everything is about merchandise these days.”

When asked if being a biker has changed in 40 years he’s been riding, Barger said, “I wouldn’t know – I’m a Hells Angel.”

Law Enforcement of every acronym was on hand for the rally including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, California Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency. Heavily armed and usually traveling in large groups, the officers and agents kept watch over a relatively peaceful crowd.

Locals Jim Pleyte and Will Sutton were on the streets Saturday and said although the rally is not as rough-and-tumble as it once was, it’s still a great time.

“The rally is more organized and less dynamic than when they used to ride the bikes through town,” Pleyte said. “It’s a great event for Hollister. It puts us on the map.”

Sutton said the rally gives Hollister a way to stand out from the crowd.

“The rally proves Hollister is not a beach in So-Cal,” Sutton said.

People traveled from all over the United States to come to the rally. Darrell Hinde and three companions rode 500 miles from Las Vegas to get to the festival.

“I’ve been coming to the rally for the last three or four years,” Hinde said. “The riding is great. I’ll come here, spend a few bucks, have a good time, then hit the road.”

Monday morning after the event, all that remained were a few tents and some scattered road cones. For city officials, all that’s left was to count up the cash from merchandise sales and hope to turn a profit.

“I think they’ll do all right,” Doulton said. “I think we’re on par with last year.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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