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This is a '70s style event where alcohol meets full-frontal nudity.

By Jeff Najar

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The rumble of heavy iron greeted me as I headed into Austin, Texas, on a warm and windy Wednesday night for the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally (ROT Rally). Over 200,000 made the annual pilgrimage to the Austin area to party like it was 1999 and with a good number of them entering the rally.

The ROT is a throwback rally where the Harley faithful connect at the Travis County Expo Center for music, stunt shows, vendors and custom bikes. This is a 70’s style event where alcohol meets full-frontal nudity. You never know what you will see, but there are a few things that, unfortunately, can’t be un-seen.


Suspension Technologies sped through the night to set up at the ROT Rally to introduce their NASCAR-inspired performance shocks to the Harley enthusiasts. In addition to shocks, the team showcased their mechanical reverse pulley and Harley trike options.

The theme of the ROT Rally has been the support of our veterans. And 2019 was no different, with Roy’s Toys Customs from Denver, Colorado, customizing an 883 Sportster into a fire-breathing 1200cc missile.


They chose a pair of Suspension Technologies Black Hills Series shocks to complement the black drivetrain, wheels and chassis. They went with a suspension option instead of a hardtail because they felt it would accommodate the majority of veterans’ riding abilities. The custom sled was awarded to a veteran attending the rally on Saturday night.

The custom bike show tent contained a full-service bar, the AMD Bike Show Qualifier and the KIRSH Paint Slinger Shootout competition. Since the heat index topped 3 digits, the adult beverage way stations sprinkled throughout the facilities were popular and well attended.


One feature that caught a lot of attention in the custom bike show tent was the KIRSH Paint Slinger Shootout. It’s a national competition sponsored by KIRSH Helmets that brings together artists celebrating their creativity through painting KIRSH lids. The winner receives the title of King of Paint Slinger, $1,000 and a 6-pack of production lids with their designs.

The 2019 recipient wasn’t a King at all, rather a Queen; Jody Perewitz took top honors, with Shannon Best taking 2nd and Bombshell Deluxe taking the last rostrum spot. The online People’s Choice was won by Chris Garrison of CG Customs.

Enthusiasts will be able to see all the helmets in person at the KIRSH Helmets’ booth in Sturgis or a video of each lid at KIRSH’s website – The KIRSH team, including Donnie Devito, CEO, and Joan Simmons, VP of Sales and Marketing, were present to provide awards.

The ROT Rally also featured a qualifier for the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building. Larry Moore of Moore Customs will be heading off to Germany in 2020 to compete in the AMD World Championship for Team America and to secure the title of the world’s best custom bike builder.

Chrome in the Capital – The loud rumbling continued in Austin and lifted off at 6 pm Friday as the ROT Rally parade began at the Expo Center then headed South on Decker Lane to East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Thousands of bikers made their way through East Austin and ending on Congress Avenue next to the capital building.

The rally concluded on Saturday night so that the bikers had a full day to locate their wardrobes and make it back to home base. 

Next year the ROT Rally is will host their 25th anniversary. It also could be their last event, so mark your calendars; you won’t want to miss it.

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