5 Ways to Mentally and Physically Prepare for Thunder Beach

by September 14, 2009 • 2 comments


Aside from an investment in ear plugs or Gord’s Chrome Polish, there are other ways pro and anti-Thunder Beach participants can prepare for the twice-a-year event that can make it an overall better experience for everyone.

1. Signage – Don’t expect bikers, or anyone for that matter, to know your rules if you don’t have them visible. Know your boundaries and set them. If you don’t want the bikers to do burnouts in the parking lot of your establishment, you’d better say so. But beyond the rules you set, there also needs to be a reminder, posted throughout the city, for bike safety. Use signage to express your limits as an establishment as well as to remind those in vehicles to be conscious of those on bikes.

2. Be Informed – Know the Venues. Anyone who does not care for Thunder Beach knows how frustrating it is to want to go to your favorite restaurant only to find all the parking spaces taken up by Harleys. Know the venues so you either know where to go or where to avoid. If you are a biker, knowing the venues helps you keep bikes off the neighborhood streets which in turn makes Panama City Beach residents happy. Residents should know the venues and so they  don’t accidentally take a van-full of kids into the heart of a raucous event. Currently, the posted venues for the event are Frank Brown Park, The Shoppes At Edgewater featuring Rock’it Lanes, The Boardwalk Beach Resort, Club La Vela, Sharky’s Restaurant & Tiki Bar, Pier Park, Pineapple Willy’s

3. Staff – As we near the end of the season, cutting back on staff is the last thing you want to do before this type of event. Let this be your rehearsal for Spring Break. Not that Bikers will be anywhere near as rowdy as breakers, especially during the Fall rally which is subdued compared to its rowdier Spring sibling, but having a knowledgeable staff that knows how to handle crowd control makes everything run smoother and can give you peace of mind on those thunderous nights.

4. Make Early/Alternate Plans – If you don’t like the bike weekend and want to avoid the whole scene, make plans to go out rather than sit at home and sulk. Head into to town for Panama City Downtown Friday Fest, take the kids over to the Skate Factory just off Harrison avenue or go see a show at the Marina Civic Center. There’s lots to do when the bikers take over the beach.

5. Expect a Bad Apple, But A Relatively Good Barrel – Don’t let one bad apple make you cringe at the thought of the entire event. No doubt, there are a million Thunder Beach horror stories you or anyone can tell, but I can assure you there are equal if not more positive stories about the thunderous occasion. Bikers, for the most part, are good people who spend loads of money to come to Panama City Beach and enjoy their favorite hobby with others. Yes, the pipes are loud, but you have to consider that even the loud pipes you love to hate are for safety purposes. Go into the weekend expecting a few bad apples in an overall good batch and you’ll have greater peace of mind for it.

Thunder Beach Weekend starts September 24th and goes through the 27th. For more information on the event please stop by www.thunderbeachproductions.com

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1 Jellen September 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Your tips are good, but the need for these tips is exactly why Thunder Beach is bad for Panama City Beach. It sounds like the bullies are coming so the townspeople need to buy protection (earplugs) and hunker down or get out of town (make alternate plans). Certainly, non-bikers, whether they are local taxpayers or visiting tourists, had better not plan on using all of the civic amenities (Frank Brown Park). The bikers are coming so don’t expect to have quiet nights or the freedom to move about freely. Sad. That’s the image PCB is presenting to the larger world of vacationers with money. An upscale PCB? I don’t think so. Every time an event like this is held, more peole cross PCB off their list of potential vacation spots.


2 Bruce September 29, 2009 at 8:26 am


Sorry to think that you believe that people cross PCB off their destination list because of Thunder Beach. Very narrow minded. You might want to think about the fact that most of these bikers are family men and women. Most return during the summer season with families in tow. How do I know this, I am one that returns with his family, also bikers talk and with talking to many, they state that they return with their families also. To add more, I noticed that alot brought their families with them to this Fall Rally. You (PCB)might want to think about what you intend to sell to pull in families (with children over 10 yrs of age), there are NO amusement parks, only a (one) water park. You have tons of putt putt golf, go carts, arcades, but nothing for night time for older kids. You have pier park, ok that is for grown-ups. PCB is not a upscale beach (yet). Remember, bikers have come from all over the USA to Thunder Beach which puts it on the map when they go back and tell friends and family how beautiful the beaches are at PCB. Guess you never thought that word of mouth does travel thru bikers. Bikers today consist of Lawyers, Doctors, Soldiers, etc…, not just thugs. You might want to remember that, these people (bikers) can afford the bikes of today and when they go to rallies, they evaluate what the place looks like and return with their familes for vacations. I appreciate and thank the residents of PCB for letting us (bikers)come into their community and enjoy the beach and ride the coast. But if PCB does not want Thunder Beach, I will bet dollars to donuts that there are other beaches towns that would love the revenues from the permits, lodging, food, gas, shopping, etc… spent by bikers. I only live 90 miles from PCB and go to several beach areas in the panhandle and talk to residents and have been told by others that they would love for Thunder Beach to come to them and hope that PCB runs it off.

When you insult people because of perception (bikers), they remember it. You don’t want them here on their bikes, but welcome them if they come in their cars. You can bet they will not come in their cars if you don’t want them here on their bikes, you lose money (year round). Maybe PCB needs to poll bikers during Thunder Beach to see just how many return during the summer season and see how much you make on bikers (year round).

I will finish with a saying that my former SGM told me. Be Careful What you Wish for, it may come true and then later you might regret the Wish that you made.