Bikers roar into Hollister
for Fourth of July weekend
By Anna Molin, Bay City News Service
June 30, 2006
HOLLISTER (BCN) - Hundreds of bikers and law enforcement
officers are descending on Hollister this weekend as motorcycle
fans roar into the town made famous by Marlon Brando in the 1953
outlaw biker movie "The Wild One."
There's just one problem: the Hollister City Council decided
earlier this year to scrap the annual Fourth of July weekend event,
which at times has drawn more than 100,000 biker enthusiasts to
the town of about 35,000 people.
Hollister police Capt. Bob Brooke said today about 100 bikers
are lingering downtown this morning, many fewer than police have
seen in years past when several thousand have turned out early
for the weekend festivities.
"It looks like a normal day with a few more motorcycles
driving around and some bikes parked outside stores and restaurants,"
he said, before pausing to yell at a biker to stop driving on
the sidewalk. "We don't know how many to expect. Maybe more
people will decide to come down when they get out of work."
The city's main drag, San Benito Street, will stay open for traffic
unlike years before when police have shut down the thoroughfare
to allow some 200 street vendors to set up and bikers to roam
undisturbed. This year, the City Council chose to stop issuing
licenses to street vendors as part of the overall cancellation,
a decision fueled in part by the event's rowdy crowd, including
motorcycle gangs Hells Angels and the rival Mongols, and in part
by the lack of an event organizer.
Hollister Independence Rally, a local nonprofit, had promoted
the event since 1997 but filed for bankruptcy last year when it
failed to reimburse the city some $360,000 for providing security
and crowd control, Brooke said.
Police are operating on a $150,000 budget to manage crowds this
weekend, he added. But with the help from at least six outside
law enforcement agencies, including the state Department of Justice,
the California Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives, the state parole board and the Modesto
and Kingsburg police departments, Brooke said he hopes the city
"You plan for the worst and hope for the best," he
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