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Bikers Cruise Hollister Despite Canceled Event

July 02, 2006|From the Associated Press

HOLLISTER, Calif. — Thousands of bikers on Saturday roared into the town made famous in Marlon Brando's 1953 film "The Wild One," despite a City Council decision to cancel one of the country's most celebrated motorcycle rallies.

The bikers cruised Hollister's streets on personalized choppers, racing bikes and tricked-out Harley-Davidsons.

Dozens of police officers, many from other cities, patrolled the streets. Bars in the town, about 50 miles south of San Jose, were packed before noon.

"We're the taxpayers. We're not hoodlums," said Jack Stout, 51, of nearby Gilroy, who has logged more than 40,000 miles on his 2003 Harley-Davidson Superglide and plans to come annually even if the event isn't officially sanctioned.

The Hollister Independence Rally has been a summer destination for bikers for decades. But earlier this year council members voted to cancel the Fourth of July weekend event, saying it was too expensive and too dangerous.

Bikers showed up anyway, saying they couldn't bear to let Hollister go without its signature event.

"They'll never stop it. It's been going since the '40s," said Tony Morris, 53, who rode in from the San Francisco area. He's been making the annual pilgrimage to Hollister since the 1960s and considers it tradition.

Hollister is normally a quiet city home to boutiques and mom-and-pop restaurants. Many business owners, angered by the city's decision, hung signs in the window welcoming bikers and offering specials on bottled water, pizza and beer.

Vendors set up large tents, where they sold steak sandwiches, leather vests and T-shirts that said "Hollister: Canceled, 1947-2006."

"I think it was a big mistake ... ," said restaurant manager Serena Chapman, 32. "I think the town will lose a lot of revenue. If they had managed it smartly, it would have been a good event."

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