Commissioners postpone vote on future of ROT Rally at Expo Center

Come June, Austinites may not hear the roar of motorcycles around the city.  

ROT Rally's contract is up for renewal this year. But organizers say they don't like the terms.

"We're here today to see if commissioners will allow us the privilege to continue to negotiate our contract. Right now the terms we have been given are untenable," said Jerry Bragg, ROT Rally president.

The terms include a $20,000 increase to rent out the facility for the weekend of June 13 through the 16th. The president also disagrees with days designated for setup in the contract. But there is also a scheduling conflict. The county is looking at allowing the Travis Central Appraisal District to use the expo center from May through August.

"It would put 8,000 cars right in the middle of our event which is a non-starter for us. In the area they are talking, we don't even allow automobile traffic, it's foot traffic only. We can't coexist with them but maybe there's a way we can work it out,” said Bragg.

Commissioners court spokesperson Hector Nieto said they offered a contract to ROT Rally organizers back in May.

"We never heard back from them. A staffer tried multiple times to reach out to them," said Nieto.

So instead they offered the space to the central appraisal district.

"We have a responsibility to taxpayers to make sure we operate the Travis County Exposition Center in the black," said Nieto.

If the contract for TCAD is approved, it could also affect other stakeholders, like the Heat Wave show.

"The event center is for events, it's not an office complex," said David MacDonald, owner of Heat Wave Inc.

"Our interest is to make sure that we have an opportunity to rent the entire grounds for our 30th anniversary Texas Heat Wave July 26-28 2019," said Chris Schneider, promotions director for Heat Wave Inc.

Nieto said the county is still willing to sit down and work out a deal.