hollister riot

Eddie Davenport of Tulare, California on a motorcycle, with August ‘Gus’ Deserpa standing behind, in Hollister on July 7, 1947, by the San Francisco Chronicle’s photographer Barney Petersen
The Hollister riot was an event that occurred at the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) sanctioned Gypsy Tour motorcycle rally in Hollister, California from July 3-6, 1947.

Many more motorcyclists than expected flooded the small town to watch the annual rallies as well as to socialize and drink. A very few of the motorcyclists got out of control and caused a commotion in the town, although at the end of the event, the damage was considered minor.

The small incident, known afterwards as the Hollister riot, was sensationalised by the press with reports of bikers “taking over the town” and “pandemonium” in Hollister. The strongest dramatization of the event was a staged photo of a drunken man sitting on a motorcycle surrounded by beer bottles. It was published in Life magazine and it brought national attention and negative opinion to the event. The Hollister riot helped to give rise to the outlaw biker image.