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Life & Arts

A Biker 'Family Reunion,' Annual ROT Rally Draws Thousands to Austin

On Friday evening, downtown Austin rumbled with the sounds of thousands of motorcyclists converging on Congress Avenue for the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally.

For 20 years, Austin has hosted the ROT Biker Rally, one of the largest and most highly anticipated events of its kind for bikers and bike enthusiasts. With glossy bikes and unique apparel on full display, the rally, particularly the Friday night parade, offered a showcase of biker culture in all its diversity.

Jerry Bragg, president of the ROT Biker Rally, said the event attracts attendees from all 50 states as well as Mexico, Finland and Canada.

Eric Hutchins of Lago Vista, TX.
Credit Carlo Nasisse for KUT News
Eric Hutchins of Lago Vista, TX.
Lenny Watkins, attendee of the 2015 ROT Rally.
Credit Carlo Nasisse for KUT News
Lenny Watkins, attendee of the 2015 ROT Rally.
Lance Ross of Houston, TX.
Credit Carlo Nasisse for KUT News
Lance Ross of Houston, TX.
The Gypsy Motorcycle Club of Houston, TX.
Credit Charlotte Carpenter for KUT News
The Gypsy Motorcycle Club of Houston, TX.
Mike Garwood AKA “Scorpion.”
Credit Charlotte Carpenter for KUT News
Mike Garwood AKA “Scorpion.”
Cindy Job and her granddaughter, Jaydin Barnard.
Credit Carlo Nasisse for KUT News
Cindy Job and her granddaughter, Jaydin Barnard.

"I liken our event more to a family reunion than a motorcycle rally,” Bragg said. “People have been coming for years. They camp next door to people they met 10 years ago. We always hear stories about the camaraderie, fellowship, and fun that they have together."

Friday night's lively — and loud — procession of motorcycles wound through 11 miles of downtown, and for many, ended with live music and festivities on Sixth Street. Bragg said the free parade and party is a way to “pay back the city and the citizens” for hosting the four-day event.