ROT Rally

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Date(s) 06/11/2020 - 06/14/2020
Host Travis County Expo Center
Location
7311 Decker Lane
Austin, Texas 78724
More Info Official Website

ROT Biker Rally General Info

The ROT Rally 2020 in Austin will be the 25th annual event. The Republic of Texas Biker Rally, the official name of ROT, is on the LightningCustoms.com’s Major Motorcycle Rallies List.

The below is just informational on what is and isn’t going on at ROT. It is not what we hope for. With the Lone Star Rally being the only motorcycle event in Texas with over 25,000 people, it 400,000 attendees, we’d love to see ROT get back to what it used to be – a larger pretty bad ass biker 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 worthwhile if you are looking to party and camp all weekend. If you aren’t going there for those reasons, it really isn’t.

What are our opinions in this article based on? We’ve been going to the Republic of Texas Rally religiously for the last 16 years and have spoken with tons of attendees and vendors. Since the event 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 motorcycle rally, but on a huge number of diverse people’s opinions over a long period of time.

Now granted, a lot has drastically changed in the motorcycle world and with most 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 10,000. 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 10,000, 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 everywhere. In the camping area and adult nighttime parade area, there are a lot more golf carts than motorcycles. There is a rental company at the Expo Center.

The cost to attend the 2019 ROT Biker Rally was $99 and it included primitive camping. So if you are going to camp and party 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. Not a lot, but there are things. 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 and the price went up. 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.

In 2019 it went back to the rally circuit bands and the hybrid bands of musicians from 25 plus years ago. The price didn’t go down even with a lesser music lineup.

There were some pretty cool bikes on display, not from the huge name builders they use to get, but still pretty cool. At last year’s ROT Biker Rally there was a bike build off, motorcycle giveaway, bike show, supermoto and flat track racing, and contests. So if you are going for the cool traditional attractions at a large rally, you will be disappointed as there isn’t enough to enjoy for half a day.

There are a lot less vendors and the ones there aren’t big names as well as 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 in a big way.

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

Thursdays are always really somewhere between slow and dead at almost all 4-day rallies. Normally a motorcycle 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 by far the biggest draw at the entire rally as Austin is a lot of fun. Again, it is free.

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 is a wreck because just when attendees start to showing up for what should be the second best day of sales, everyone leaves to go downtown. We’ve seen it such a ghost town that even ROT shuts 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 for vendors.

Based on the above, ROT is worthwhile if you are going to camp. If you aren’t going to camp, it really isn’t. The majority of people who weren’t camping who did buy a four day pass expressed that it was a huge disappointment. Go to their Facebook reviews and you will see the same.

2020 ROT Biker Rally Other Info

-NOTES: All Weekend is a “No Refusal Weekend” in Austin
-BYOB for sure
-FEES: 2020 fees are TBA