BASTROP COUNTY (KXAN) — The Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally that has drawn tens of thousands of attendees in years past got underway Thursday at a new location and with a capacity limit.
The event moved to Mere’s Reserve in Bastrop County after taking place last year at the Circuit of the Americas. It runs through Sunday.
This year’s rally was limited to 2,500 people per day after Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape denied organizers a permit for 3,000 attendees.
Pape cited concerns over the venue’s limited space and nearby Farm-to-Market Road 969, which has only two lanes.
County law allows for events under 2,500 to proceed without a permit.
A rally representative expressed disappointment but told KXAN they would be enforcing the capacity limit with a single entrance to the site via FM 969 and by keeping tabs on the number of tickets sold the day of along with pre-registration and camping figures.
The representative said security would be provided by a private security company licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety. They did not say how many officers would be on-hand, citing safety reasons.
Organizers said “two to three” peace officers would also be regulating traffic flow and stated a traffic control plan had been submitted to and approved by the Texas Department of Safety.
Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook moved to deny the event a liquor license but said it would ultimately be up to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The rally representative said Thursday the license was not approved.
Traffic was light, and attendance was sparse around noon Thursday, with most motorcyclists and campers expected to arrive closer to sundown and Friday.
KXAN spoke with attendee Paul “Shark” Zuniga, a custom paint shop owner visiting with his family from the Houston area.
Zuniga attended the larger rallies of that past at the Travis County Expo Center.
“I’ve never really had any issues. It’s been laidback for us,” he said.
“As long as everyone comes together and has a good time, and everybody is safe, that’s all that matters to me.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated from a previous version to include new reporting.