Contract dispute puts ROT Rally in jeopardy with Travis Co. Expo Center

Travis County

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Republic of Texas Rally, or ROT Rally, might not be returning to Central Texas next year. The biker bash hinges on stalled negotiations and a vote coming up at the Travis County Commissioners Court Tuesday.

County leaders will decide whether to lease the space to the Travis Central Appraisal District instead of ROT Rally which brings thousands of bikers from across the country to Central Texas.

The county could lease the location to the appraisal district, where people can go to contest their property appraisals.

President of ROT Rally Jerry Bragg says that’s a problem.

“If it were to happen at the same time, we wouldn’t be able to hold our event, period. It’s just too much disruption,” said Bragg.

And another sticking point is the price. The old 5-year contract between ROT Rally and the county was for $30,000 a year. This new contract is $100,000 a year more, totaling more than $150,000 a year.

“So there will be increases in the contract but these are contracts that we need to execute and fulfill to ensure that we’re operating a facility in the black,” said a spokesman for the county, Hector Nieto. He says the price for water, electricity, parking, equipment rental, and facility rental have all gone up. 

He says the appraisal district has offered to pay the higher price, but for using a smaller part of the complex through the summer. Bragg says, in the event there’s no middle ground: “We retire. It’s over.”

Both sides say they’ve sent messages to each other since at least May, but a meeting to hash out the details hasn’t happened. 

“We want them at the table. We need them at the table in order to communicate properly with them,” said Nieto.

Bragg said it was the county that hadn’t returned emails and calls. He plans to make his case to the county commissioners Tuesday.

ROT rally officials tell KXAN they have reached out to other locations around Central Texas but nothing meets their needs.

But Bragg says other cities have reached out to bring ROT Rally to their city. Those include Flagstaff, Arizona, Nashville, Tennessee or Houston.

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