Few Problems As Bikers Roll Into Laughlin

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Thousands more motorcyclists rolled into Laughlin on Friday for a biker rally shadowed by a deadly brawl two years ago.

Police reported one serious crash in Arizona but few other problems as they braced for a full weekend of two-wheel see-and-be-seen cruising in the Colorado River town about 100 miles south of Las Vegas.

"We're early in the rally yet," said Carrie Conner, police spokeswoman in nearby Bullhead City, Ariz. "The highway is full of bikes. We expect to have a busy weekend."

Conner reported several crashes, including one that left a motorcyclist badly hurt Thursday on U.S. Highway 95.

Michael Seems, 46, of La Quinta, Calif., was flown by medical helicopter to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he was reported in good condition, a hospital official said.

Conner said the Mohave County sheriff's office reported heavy motorcycle traffic Friday in Oatman, Ariz., a popular daytime destination a 25-mile ride southeast of Laughlin and Bullhead City.

Las Vegas police Sgt. Rick Barela reported few arrests during the first full night of cruising on Casino Drive in Laughlin.

"The weather's pleasant," he said. "It appears that everybody's enjoying themselves."

Rally organizers expected tens of thousands of motorcyclists to fill the town of 8,000 residents and 11,000 hotel rooms. The rally has drawn 24,000 to 27,000 people the past two years, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Visitors this year were finding police checkpoints on desert highways, and strict rules enforced by hundreds of uniformed and undercover law enforcers, Barela said.

He reported 22 arrests on the Nevada side of the river since Wednesday morning - mostly for misdemeanors, such as disorderly conduct and driving under the influence.

The 22nd annual Laughlin River Run comes less than a week after nine rival Hells Angels and Mongols gang members were indicted in Las Vegas on murder and other charges in a bloody brawl at the Harrah's Laughlin casino in 2002.

Three died and more than a dozen were hurt in the brawl, which also was cited in the indictment in December of 42 Hells Angels in five states on federal racketeering and firearms charges.


On the Net: http://www.laughlinriverrun.com/