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This year marks the 65th anniversary of the famed Hollister incident that put us on the map and led to the movie The Wild One with Marlon Brando which changed America’s image of motorcycling forever. While we work to get our rally back on track I hope that all you tradition-loving bikers make the journey to the town where it all began.
Mike Corbin’s annual Rider Appreciation Day; this year held on June 30th, draws thousands of motorcyclists to Hollister. Last year his Open House drew an estimated 5,000 attendees and for a short time it looked like the good old days on San Benito Street. On Saturday July 2nd I stepped outside of Johnny’s around noon and took in the view of motorcycles parked on both sides of San Benito Street as far as I could see. The folks who drove cars were considerate enough to park on the side streets so the motorcyclists could call San Benito their own. It warmed my heart and made me proud of our citizenry.
We need our rally now more than ever. While our economy is in the tank the motorcycle industry is thriving and showing growth in all sectors. Motorcycle enthusiasts are spending their hard earned dollars on all things motorcycle.
The 2011 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally showed a 10% decrease from 2010 but an estimated 416,727 visitors make the trek and gave the area an economic boost of $816,893,000. With feasibly hundreds of thousands of attendees within a one hundred mile radius of Hollister the sky is the limit. One week vacations would be on many bikers’ agendas. Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and more wineries than any connoisseur could hope to visit are less than a two hour ride away and our weather is phenomenal.
No other city in America has the distinction of being called the Birth Place of the American Biker and I for one think ignoring our heritage is downright criminal. I’m grateful for wonderful people like “Dago” Virginia Day; the last original Boozette, and Vern Autry; an original Boozefighter who rode to Hollister in 1947 and remembers the weekends shenanigans well, who return to Hollister every year. If you make the trip here only to visit with them and enjoy their stories if would be well worth the ride. They are both in their 80’s but I pray that God will bless us with their presence for many years to come.
There has been talk that the city is entertaining the idea of a rally once again in 2013 and that they have been in touch with promoters. We’re trying to stay hopeful but in the meantime please come to Hollister, rally or no rally. There are great things going on at Corbin’s and we always carry on the tradition at Johnny’s. We have the world’s friendliest staff, great food and ice cold beer. I hope you’ll forgive the shameless plug.