- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2003

LAUGHLIN, Nev. (AP) Motorcyclists began rolling out of this Colorado River gambling town yesterday, ending a rally marked by heavy police presence and marred by one fatal crash, but free of the deadly violence that erupted between rival biker gangs a year ago.
Some said the presence of 500 uniformed and undercover police and a ban on biker gang insignia has made them think twice about attending the 22nd annual Laughlin River Run next year.
"It's like your dad is watching all the time," Ron Morgan, 59, of Los Angeles, said late Saturday as he watched police stop a car and tell a woman not to stand up in the sun roof while cruising Casino Drive.
A year ago, two Hell's Angels and one Mongols motorcycle gang member were killed and at least 12 were hurt in a brawl involving guns and knives inside Harrah's Laughlin casino. Another Hell's Angels member was fatally shot on a California highway after leaving Laughlin.
This year, a motorcyclist died in a crash just outside Laughlin on Saturday, and several were hurt in another crash two hours later near the same spot. A motorist was charged with drunken driving in the second crash, said Angie Wolff, a Nevada Highway Patrol spokeswoman.
This year, police reported 30 arrests on charges ranging from drunken driving to indecent exposure, compared with 88 arrests last year.
Police and organizers believe the rally this year was a success. But others noted that Laughlin's 10,817 hotel rooms did not sell out in advance for the first time in many years.
"When you can get a room at any hotel, that tells you something," said Gary Ethridge, 36, a chemical company manager from Menomonee Falls, Wis.
"If they keep this up, people won't come back," said John Martin, 55, of Huntington Beach, Calif.

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