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ROT Rally

Austin, TX
June 13-16, 2019

ROT Biker Rally General Info

ROT Rally 2019 in Austin will be the 24th annual event. The Republic of Texas Biker Rally, the official name of the event, is on the LightningCustoms.com's 2019 Major Biker Rallies List.

The below is just informational on what is and isn't going on and is not what we hope for. With the Lone Star Rally being the only motorcycle event in Texas with over 30,000 people, Lone Star gets some 400,000 attendees, we'd love to see ROT get back to what it used to be - a larger pretty bad ass rally.

Is it Worthwhile to Pay to Go to ROT Rally? What are the Opinions and Reviews of ROT Rally?
These are two of the most frequently asked questions. To give you the bottom-line answer first - ROT is probably good to check out if you are looking to party and camp all weekend. If you aren't going there for those reasons, it might not be.

What are our opinions in this article based on? We've been going to the Republic of Texas Rally religiously for the last 15 years and have spoken with tons of attendees and vendors. Since it is also in our backyard here in Austin, we are also able to hear the opinions on ROT from all of our friends and acquaintances in the area and across Texas. Subsequently, the above and below is not based just on our preferences of what we want to see and do at a rally, but on a huge number of diverse people's opinions over a long period of time.

Granted, a lot has drastically changed in the motorcycle world and with rallies over the last 15 years. For many of the events that have been around for over a decade the attendance is down or the rally is no longer going on.

ROT Rally attendance at the Expo Center, which is the official venue and where you pay to get in, has dropped from approximately 45,000 people to maybe 15,000. The majority of these people are camping.

The much higher numbers often cited (150,000-200,000) is a total number of "participants." These people include the tons of riders that come to enjoy all of the awesome things in Austin and the surrounding area that are free (who don't go to the Expo Center). It also includes a huge number of the local non-riders just checking things out in downtown.

We note this to clarify the disparity in numbers because it is confusing in general. Also, if you are thinking the official ROT venue has 150,000-200,000 attendees when there are only 15,000, you might expect the attractions of a giant rally, which there aren't.

The drop in attendance has meant that there has been a drop in the number of people camping. That being said, the camping is a lot of fun and it is R-Rated, so it can be pretty wild.

We get input and comments about ROT being a "golf cart rally" rather than a "motorcycle rally." Whether you think golf carts are good or bad, the answer is that there are a lot of them. There is a rental company at the Expo Center.

The cost to attend the 2018 ROT Biker Rally was $89 and it included primitive camping. So if you are going to camp all weekend in a tent it is really good deal. Now, if you are going to bring an RV or trailer, the cost of luxury is more. With it regularly being in the high 90s or over 100 degrees, and even hotter when you are near or on the blacktop, the luxury might be worth it.

For both those camping and those not camping there are other things to check out at the ROT Rally. Notably, for a long time the band lineup had been declining to little known bands or unknown members from relatively well known bands from the 70s-90s.

That did change in 2018, when ZZ Top played. The cost of tickets went up $20, which is about the same price as you'd pay to see them play any other time of year. It looked like it was really going to jumpstart ROT again, but it didn't really appear to do much. Actually lot of the people we spoke with said that there were less people in total at ROT.

There were some pretty cool bikes on display, not from the huge name builders they use to get, but still pretty cool. Shooter Jennings (Waylon Jennings' son) played and he is always good to see live. There was a bike build off, motorcycle giveaway, entertaining midget wrestling, roller derby girls, and supermoto and flat track racing.

There are vendors, but very few big rigs. The big rigs used to bring out solid displays, cool bikes, and lots of products to check out and buy. Without them it has decreased the value of going for a lot of people because there is simply not as much to see or buy. It is also correct that the number and quality of vendors have dropped.

The cost for one beer at the motorcycle rally was $8. The good news is that you can BYOB.

They did offer day passes in 2018, which was cool. The best day of most rallies is Saturday and it is the same with ROT. The Saturday day pass in 2018 was $69 online or $79 at the door, so there was the ability to save a little money. That being said, if you aren't camping, there isn't really enough to do for more than half a day. Note: with a day pass you can't go into the camping area. Thursdays are always really somewhere between slow and dead at almost all 4-day rallies. Normally a rally really starts picking up Friday in the afternoon. ROT does follow this pattern.

It does have something that is a little different and that is the parade going downtown in the early evening on Friday. If you like riding in a parade, the one to downtown Austin to party is a pretty cool one. The partying downtown, which is free, is the biggest draw at the entire rally as Austin is a lot of fun.

On the other side of the coin, this means getting a day pass for Friday really isn't worth it. Most everyone who isn't camping leaves and the attractions are minimal. For vendors this means that just when attendees start to showing up for what should be the second best day of sales, everyone leaves to go downtown. In 2017, it was such a ghost town that even ROT shut down there merchandise booths, a huge source of revenue, by the time it was dark on Friday. When this happens, a rally is showing that Fridays aren't a big day for sales.

Based on the above, ROT is worthwhile if you are going to camp. If you aren't going to camp, it might be worth it to get a day pass on Saturday, but definitely not worth going for four days. The majority of people who weren't camping who did buy a four day pass expressed a lot of disappointment.

2019 ROT Biker Rally Other Info

-NOTES: All Weekend is a "No Refusal Weekend"
-BYOB for sure
-Day Passes do not get you entry into the camping area
-FEES: 2019 fees are TBA
-View Our Texas Motorcycle Events

Go back to:
-2019 Major Biker Rallies
-Motorcycle Rallies Calendar

Above article written by Lightning Customs