Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said he’s still a supporter of Hollister’s annual motorcycle event but said another cancellation would “kill the rally.”
With the Hollister council set to consider a formal cancellation of the event at Monday’s meeting, Velazquez shared his thoughts on the promoter’s problems garnering necessary sponsorship to make it go along with his belief that the best outcome is having a nonprofit group run it.
The mayor alluded to the Hollister Independence Rally Committee, made up of local volunteers, which organized the annual event from its inception in 1997 to 2006 when the city canceled the rally for the first of two times due to rising costs.
“It kills the rally,” Velazquez said of a prospective cancellation Monday in light of the promoter, Nevada-based Roadshows, being unable to get confirmations from several national sponsors. “It’s unfortunate. We can’t keep doing this on and off. But at the same time, if the promoter’s not going to do the rally, what do we do here? Nobody else is stepping up to do the rally.”
He mentioned how some people have talked about organizing it, but nobody steps up or else they want the city to pay for it.
“We’ve been down the road in the past but that didn’t work out,” he said. “It’d be great to see a group like the HIRC committee in the past. They were doing it because they loved the rally.”
First and most important, it takes someone who knows what they’re doing, he said.
This time around, as the council considers a possible cancellation at the 6:30 p.m. Monday meeting at Hollister City Hall, the mayor said it’s more of an issue on the promoter’s end rather than the city. Previously, the police costs charged by the city had escalated to well over $300,000, making it difficult for any promoter to make it financially viable. Now, those city costs are at $160,000. But as promoter Randy Burke from Roadshows pointed out, he hasn’t been able to get multiple major sponsors on board for 2018 that were here in 2017.
The mayor attributed that problem partly to the declining motorcycle industry.
“You don’t see those numbers anymore,” Velazquez said, comparing attendance to the early 2000s. “It’s the same group of people that come back, and they’re getting much older.”