Just because there isn’t a rally doesn’t mean there won’t be a ride.
With Hollister heading toward its second consecutive year without a sanctioned July 4 motorcycle rally in the Birthplace of the American Biker, several business owners are once again organizing their own activities for the traditional weekend party taking place July 4-7.
This year’s events will focus on the experience of the ride, rather than a rally in one central location. It is the second straight year with privately run activities, while several business owners are taking on the organizational efforts since there is no City of Hollister-sanctioned rally.
Over at Corbin Motorcycle Seats and Accessories, there will be events throughout the weekend like last year. His site will be surrounded by vendors, while there are plans like an Open House, a bike show, music and other entertainment.
“We’ll have a lot of nice, quality vendors,” said owner Mike Corbin. “We’ve actually been doing this in Hollister for 21 years.”
That’s on top of events at Hollister Powersports, Johnny’s Bar & Grill, the Veterans Memorial Building and Bolado Park where there will be camping and other activities, he noted.
Corbin, Peter Lago from Johnny’s and Rey Sotelo from Hollister Powersports are taking on most of the organizing in light of the city’s cancellation to the traditional rally. That event has been on again, off again since the 1997 rally that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the “invasion” of bikers into Hollister, which inspired the famous movie “The Wild One.” The city is in talks of possibly revamping the rally for 2020, but there’s no guarantee that will happen, either.
That reality has dampened Corbin’s spirits.
He enthusiastically talked about Sotelo renting Bolado Park for expanded offerings there.
“He’s going to have camping and food and booze and music out there,” he said. “Anybody that would like to come and camp, it gives them the chance to do that.”
“To tell you the truth, it’s as good as ever,” Corbin went on. “Organically, we’re doing as much as we can without the town. The motorcycle people are doing a good job keeping it alive.”
Lago said one way to sustain the future is opening up the event so it’s not just focused on the Harley-Davidson culture.
“The future seems to be pointing in that direction,” Lago said of motorcycle-themed events. “If you open it up to the whole riding community, they seem to fair better.”
Lago said a focus on the “ride” aspect is key, too, and mentioned how Sturgis follows a similar strategy. Long term, the hope is to spur more like a two-week ridership bump in the region surrounding the event. He mentioned how there are a million registered bikes in the Bay Area alone.
“If we spread this thing out and give everybody destinations to go to, we believe it’s safe and manageable,” Lago said.
To emphasize that theme and get the word out on this year’s events, organizers have launched a new website, itsallabouttheride.org, where there’s a central place for information on the 2019 event and rally tradition. A goal is to give riders an array of destinations to visit while in San Benito County for the week or weekend.
He would like to see a sanctioned event return. But he said he wants what’s best for the city and surmised the community should try and do more to include the nonprofits like other big motorcycle events – and like Hollister did for years before running into financial problems with the event.
“It’s not really a rally anymore,” he said. “It’s a ride.”
See more on this year’s July motorcycle events below:
See videos below from prior July motorcycle events in Hollister: