How the state's largest biker rally got its start in Austin

KVUE takes a look at the origins of the ROT Rally.

AUSTIN, Texas -- The state’s largest motorcycle rally is underway in Austin right now. While you’re sharing the road with tens of thousands of bikers, KVUE wanted to find out how the ROT Rally started in the first place.

For answers, we went straight to the ROT Rally co-founder, Jerry Bragg.

ROT stands for Republic of Texas. According to Bragg, it all started back in 1994 with a call from Harley Davidson.

"In 1994, Harley recruited five of us to put on a rally in Austin. It was very, very successful,” said Bragg.

He says Harley representatives called them afterward to find out what made them so successful. “We told them we threw out the rule book,” Bragg laughed.

Instead of only allowing Harley Davidson vendors, Bragg and his fellow bikers allowed all different kinds of vendors in as well as all different kinds of motorcycles.

The following year, Harley Davidson moved their rally to another city but so many bikers wanted to keep the event in Austin that Bragg and his co-founder started the ROT Rally.

Originally, there were around 4,000 attendees. Now, they expect close to 40,000.

As Braggs explains, ROT Rally has become something of its own city at the Travis County Expo Center.

"We have our own EMS, we have our own first aid station, we have our own port-a-potties, our own water supply and our own hot showers."

When asked what it is about Austin that keeps people coming back to ROT year after year, Braggs said it’s the turnstile festival format and the Hill Country views.

This year, the ROT Rally is also making history.

"Doug Danger is going to take Evil Knievel’s motorcycle and he's going to jump them with the blades spinning,” explained Dragg.

Danger will be riding the legendary 1972 Harley Davidson XR 750. He is scheduled to jump on Saturday, June 10 at 3 p.m. 

He will be attempting to fly the Harley over a distance of more than 100 feet.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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