Motorcyclists Heading Home Following Rally

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Motorcycles began rumbling out of this Colorado River casino town Sunday, with authorities saying there were no major incidents at an annual rally marred two years ago by a deadly biker brawl.

"It's winding down now," said Las Vegas police Sgt. Rick Barela. "Overall, it was a good, positive event."

Police in Nevada, California and Arizona saw highways busy with bikers attending the 22nd annual Laughlin River Run, but reported few problems.

"I think we had an excellent event," said Carrie Conner, spokeswoman for police in neighboring Bullhead City, Ariz. "We were busy, but we didn't have any major incidents."

Conner said the memory of violence in Laughlin in 2002 appeared to be fading, and said it seemed like there were more motorcyclists this year than the last couple of years.

Official attendance figures were not immediately available Sunday. But police said tens of thousands of motorcyclists filled hotels and casinos, taking day trips to nearby northwest Arizona towns of Oatman and Lake Havasu City.

In the past two years, the rally has drawn between 24,000 and 27,000 people, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Barela reported nine felony and 109 misdemeanor arrests since Wednesday in Laughlin - mostly for disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace or alcohol-related offenses. One motorcyclist was seriously hurt in a Friday evening crash on Casino Drive, but Barela said he had no details.

Less than a week ago, 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. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Three died and more than a dozen were hurt in the melee, which also was cited in a federal indictment issued in December, charging 42 Hells Angels in five states with racketeering and firearms violations.


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