We have a fierce firestorm brewing on the Eastern Seaboard with reports of irreparable damage, twisted egos and violent temper tantrums a distinct possibility—all this part of the tragic and constantly changing odyssey collectively known as Myrtle Beach Bike Week.
It all began on January 20, when Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson made a surprising announcement. On that day the dealership made the stunning decision to move the date of Cruisin’ the Coast (that portion of the rally that they orchestrate and control each year) from May 12-20 to the beginning of the following weekend, changing it to run from May 18 through 28.
In an effort to justify the date revision, Myrtle Beach H-D event organizer, Denise Triece stated, “We are trying to incorporate Memorial Day events into the rally. The more things that we can put out and get out to the area will help our economy.”
This left a number of other biker venues in a lurch since they had already booked vendors at their sites on the original “carved in stone” date. In addition, the date change now overlaps the nearby Atlantic Beach Bikefest (a 3-day, sport bike oriented event), with both ending over the Memorial Day Weekend.
Response was immediate with the other biker-oriented businesses feeling both confused and betrayed. They vowed to only recognize the original rally dates. This revised date now slots the entire event to span three weekends and cover a total of 17 days. That’s a long bike rally. And apparently too long for those who live in and preside over the area.
Grand Strand Stand-Off
Horry County Council has the final say in the issuance of vendor permits and immediately stated they would not consider reissuing permits to adapt to the change with Councilman Gary Loftus saying he was fed up with Harley bike rally officials not playing by the rules. On January 24, the County Council met and, after listening to the complaints of the residents, is now considering pulling all outdoor vendor permits for the motorcycle rallies during the entire month of May. And without the hundreds of vendors scattered across the Grand Strand, there will be little to lure biker bucks to the event. Along with the Horry County Council and local residents, the local ABATE Chapter is threatening a boycott of the Myrtle Beach Harley shops and concerns have been raised by the organizers of Atlantic Beach Bikefest who feel the date change will hamper their success.
The Council will meet again on February 7 with this discussion on the agenda. To stay abreast of the rapid-shifting landscape, go to SpringBeachRally.com for news concerning the event being held on the original date; MyrtleBeachBikeWeek.com for the one being held during the new date; and to BlackBikeWeek.net, the unofficial website for the Atlantic City Bikefest.