Law enforcement officers plan to close a road leading to a planned motorcycle club rally in Palo Pinto County this weekend "for public safety reasons," Palo Pinto Sheriff Ira Mercer said Tuesday.
"They've had their rallies here on Memorial Day weekend for years," Mercer said.
The rallies are held on 23 acres in the town of Mingus, located about 65 miles west of Fort Worth. The land is owned by Cossacks Motorcycle Club Inc., according to public tax records.
Mercer said police and deputies plan to close Parsons Road, which is the only street leading to the property.
"We will be on both ends of it with armed security," he said. "We will have other contingency plans ready in the event a large number of them do show up."
Mercer added he had talked to leaders of the Cossacks and asked them to cancel the rally because of what happened in Waco, where nine people were killed and 18 injured in a shootout Sunday near a Twin Peaks restaurant involving dozens of members of rival motorcycle groups.
Mercer said organizers have been cooperative with the request.
"I believe I have prevailed upon their national leadership to call this rally off," he said.
A sign in Mingus on Tuesday said, "Cossacks have agreed to cancel the Mingus blowout for the safety of Mingus." It was not clear who posted the sign.
In any case, nobody except for full-time residents will be allowed to access the only street leading to the property, the sheriff said.
Mercer said Cossacks have organized the event for years but that other groups, including Bandidos, have shown up.
"We've had very few problems [in the past]," Mercer said. "You know, minor stuff and some drunks."
He said the closing of the street leading to the property requires the approval of county commissioners, but he didn't expect any problems.
"For public safety reasons we feel it's necessary to close that road this weekend," Mercer said.
He added he planned to meet soon with federal law enforcement agencies as well as officers from nearby counties to finalize a security plan.