Bikers ready to kick off ROT Rally 2017

ROT Rally begins (KXAN photo)
ROT Rally begins (KXAN photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin is about to get much louder. The Republic of Texas Biker Rally kicks off Thursday morning and riders from throughout Texas and the region have already made their way into town.

“There’s always been a big turnout here and it’s always been awesome,” said Paul Seekford from Conroe. This is Seekford’s 9th year coming to ROT Rally. He loves the crowd and hopes all of Austin sees what he and the other bikers are all about. “They’re just thinking we’re a bunch of yahoos that come in and throw a big party, you know. We just want to hang out and have fun.”

The Goulders rode in with their friends from Dayton, Texas. The excitement over the start of the ROT Rally has them feeling nothing but good vibes.

“It’s fun,” said Janis Goulder. “It’s a blast.” “Get away from the kids, get away from the job. Let your hair down and have a lot of fun,” said Von Goulder.

ROT Rally kicks off at 8 a.m. Duane Mclendon of Baytown has been waiting a long time for this. “I missed it last year, so I’ve been waiting since then to get back up here,” he said. His favorite part of ROT Rally is the sense of freedom he finds spending time with other riders on the road. “When they go home they go back to their normal life,” he said, looking forward to letting the stresses of life go for a few days.

The Goulders say the best part of the weekend for them is meeting new people.

“We’ve made friends every year we’ve come here – people that are just total strangers,” said Von Goulder. “When we leave, [we’ve] got friends, [we’ve] exchanged phone numbers.”

Friday night’s motorcycle parade will shut down 54 blocks of downtown – most along Congress Avenue and 6th Street. Bikers will leave from the Travis County Exposition Center at 7:45 p.m. and be downtown by 8:15 p.m.

The Republic Of Texas Biker Rally runs through Sunday.

From Austin Police:

Beginning Friday, June 9, 2017 at 6 p.m. through Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 12 a.m., Congress Ave. will be closed for the Republic of Texas Biker Rally parade and events.

The parade will begin at 7:45 p.m. from the Travis County Exposition Center heading south on Decker to FM 969/East MLK Blvd. They will then turn left on Webberville road, left on Springdale road, right on Oak Springs Dr./Rosewood Ave., left on Hargrove, right on Pleasant Valley Rd. (over the bridge), left on Chestnut, right on Rosewood, right on 11th St., left of Congress Ave.

Street closures on Congress Ave. include: Congress Ave. from Cesar Chavez to 11th St. and the side streets of Congress Ave. will be closed between Brazos and Colorado streets at 6 p.m. However, cross traffic on 5th and 6th Streets will remain open until 7:30 p.m., at which point they too will be shut down. In addition, from 7:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Sixth St. from Red River to Congress Ave. will be closed.

Towing on Congress Ave. will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 9, 2017. If you are towed, you can contact Southside towing at (512) 441-7094 or by visiting AutoReturn website at https://www.autoreturn.com/austin-tx/find-vehicle/.

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