Thunder Beach Asks TDC for $100k, Walk out with $40k

by August 10, 2011 • 58 comments

Amongst other things, this morning’s TDC meeting included some spirited discussion on the viability of a Fall Motorcycle Rally.  The spring rally, according to organizers, gets better every year.  But the growth of the Fall rally has been stunted because of the date of the event.

Last year, Thunder Beach organizers were vying for the Columbus Day weekend to hold their fall event.  This is a weekend, that historically, included family-related events such as the Panama City Beach Seafood Wine and Music Festival.  The TDC did not support the date change, thus it didn’t happen.

This is the argument for Columbus Day Weekend

Here are the dates of the large Fall motorcycle rallys:

Joe Biggs, the Thunder Beach organizer argues that currently, where Thunder Beach falls in the schedule, it heavily competes with other events for vendors.  This is, in my opinion a very valid point as there is a clear gap, that if the Panama City Beach event could be moved back just one week, vendors could travel from Reno, to Las Vegas, to Panama City Beach, to Daytona.  They are coming down here anyway.

Biggs said that if the fall event can’t be moved, it’s still not going away, but if it could be moved to Columbus Day weekend, it could be as big, if not larger, than the spring rally.

The argument against Columbus Day weekend

“Columbus Day weekend has always been that last shot for families to come down to the beach, and we all know that families and bikers don’t mix,” said board member Gary Walsingham.

“We’ve all tried to get families down here in the fall and we’ve never been able to get it to work,” retorted past board chair Marty McDaniel and owner of Oaseas Resorts, “but we have an obligation to grow business in the fall and this is the best way to do it.”

Oaseas Resorts is the onsite property management company for Shores of Panama, a large venue sponsor for Thunder Beach.

Came for $100k, left with $40k

McDaniel made a motion to grant $100k to Thunder Beach to help promote the fall event, an amount never before given to an event as sponsorship dollars.  The motion was seconded by member Ken Nelson, but was voted no by everyone except McDaniel, Patronis, and Nelson.

Board member Andy Phillips followed that failing vote with a motion to grant Thunder Beach $40,000 to be used towards marketing.  This vote went through with all voting in agreement with the exception of Mayor Oberst.

My opinion, take it for what it’s worth

I have had a rocky history with Thunder Beach.  But, I’ve always recognized it for bringing people to our beach and generating tourist dollars during the shoulder season.  I’ve always recognized it as very successful, while still maintaining a constant level of annoyance with the traffic, noise and sometimes rude behavior.

With that said, I think a move to Columbus Day weekend would be great for the event AND the area.  Even with the Panama City Beach Seafood Wine and Music Festival, I still don’t think that weekend has ever been a large draw for out of town visitors.

I could be wrong.  Please prove me wrong if I am as I’m going off of personal experience and not a stack of reports.

But, if we have a chance to elevate this event to bring in more people, which I strongly feel that we do in this case, I say we do it.  Although Biggs has made no comment to this effect, if he was to move the fall event elsewhere, or the whole event elsewhere, businesses would definitely miss Thunder Beach.  Putting ourselves in a situation where we could lose a fantastic event that draws thousands (even if no one can agree to the real number) of out of towners is a mistake.

What are your thoughts?  I know historically, our readers have had a love/hate relationship with Thunder Beach.  What do you think, should it be moved?

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1 Shane Cook August 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Please keep the bike weeks and emerald coast cruzin carshow no matter what it takes. I love these events and my friends and I come down to everyone of them each year. I believe that the city fathers could well get a good return on their money if they would give more and allow the date change. Why not at least give it a shot and see how it does? I would hate to see us lose this event. I know several other condo owners that rent these weeks every year and that right now is a blessing. So please support Thunder Beach both spring and fall.

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2 margaret August 10, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I think it would be interesting to see just how much to local businesses these Bike Week events contribute…sure there is the inevitable vendor purchasing, but just how much can folks on bikes actually schlep back home? Not discounting the help they give the area economically, just curious. That said…my main pet peeve with bikers is that somehow parking rules are magically suspended during bike week. What gives with all the parking on side walks in Pier Park? I thought that was a big no no….maybe cordon off parts of certain lots for bike only parking….then people would be less cranky. I for one don’t appreciate having to try getting my bike (the old fashioned pedal kind) out from a bunch of motorcycles just to get home.

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3 chet August 12, 2011 at 6:46 pm

If you think about the fact many of the motorcycles you see cost as much as a good car and the bikers stay at local hotel, motels and they eat at all the restarunts buy local gass buy from the venders at the events, come a long way for the event and when do you ever get 60,000 or more people in one local area for a week or so and you only hear of a very very small percent causing problems. Many of the Bikers are some of the nicest people around and most would help someone out in need. chet63@cox.net

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4 Robert D. McGill August 11, 2011 at 9:51 am

I strongly support Mr. Gary Walsingham’s statement “that families and bikers don’t mix”.

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5 ken August 13, 2011 at 7:08 am

Why not? Maybe it doesnt mix with your family, but that doesnt mean the biker crowd doesnt respect the towns which hold the rallys. Some of you should speak with the business owners in Myrtle Beach to see how much they appreciate the bike week rally revenues.

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6 Joe Mast August 11, 2011 at 10:07 am

I find it interesting that everyone wants the money and the potential to bring additional tourists to the area and more money but not the bikers.

I live on the Gulf of Mexico in Ft Walton Beach and I find that families leave plastic bottles, bags, floating devices, trash, etc. all over the beach without picking it up that is truly annoying.

I attend at least one Thunder Beach Rally per yaer and sometimes both. I would be willing to place a bet that if the Rally were held in conjunction with the Seafood Festival, the Festival would make more money than they ever have. Just saying.

Thanks to those willing to sit on these boards and make the tough decisions.

Respectfully
Joe Mast

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7 Bernard August 11, 2011 at 10:09 am

I believe this is an event we could do without. The Spring Bike rally is well organized and made up mostly of MATURE Bikers. Other than the loud noise they are okay.
The September group is a younger and more rowdy crowd. The event is not well organized and the only people who end up making money are the bars and liquor stores.
Why in the world would TDC give them any money? That is totaly obsurb. As far as Columbus day, I say NO, leave it for the families. Instead of spending monies on the bikers and Spring Breakers, lets spend advertizing monies on trying to bring the European Tourist to our beautiful beaches. European beaches are mostly rocks and small stones, no such thing as white sand beaches.
We have an “International” airport, lets make good use of it. Invite Luftanza, Italia, British Airlines, Air France and others to Hub here at our aiport. The old saying “Built it and they will come” sure does apply here. Lets built an International Section for all those foreign birds to land.
Than lets bring in and amusement park or theme park to make Panama City Beach a 12 month a year vacation center for FAMILIES.
Wyndham resorts is here in PCB, they just purchase ResortQuest, lets invite them to help and take part in this project along with Walmart, Sears, JC Peney, and others Chain stores owners.
This is my two cents worth.

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8 ken August 13, 2011 at 7:20 am

You are not going to get European tourists to a town that is made up of toothless rednecks serving you cheap fried food at every restaurant in town. This town is more suited for the biker crowd than you’d like to admit. This is no exclusive island off Fiji, its a beach town with fast food and mediocre hotel rooms…….this is the town you’ve built.

If you dont want the younger “rowdy” biker crowd, then urge the TDC to help promote a better organized event that brings better vendors and more events.

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9 Jellen August 13, 2011 at 10:23 am

Ken, it sounds like you have been going to only a certain type of place in PCB. There are many beautiful condos for rent on the beach that would be outstanding in any world-wide venue. Not every restaurant serves only fried food although there are many of those. More healthy food venues can be encouraged. Summer is a good time to attract European tourists who have more vacation time than Americans.

I think, though, that PCB could attract a more sophisticated American tourist if it reduced promotion of single interest events such as college spring break and motorcycles. Those activities don’t have to be stopped but they shouldn’t be the only things a sophisticated traveler associates with PCB. Some people visit here and don’t visit the fast food places and mediocre motel rooms you focused on. PCB should emphasize and encourage the venues that bring in people who really do have money to spend and are not as budget minded. There is room for both kinds of tourists here.

And, Bernard, you lost me when you mentioned the big box mid–to-budget-level retailers. That doesn’t help.

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10 Cathy August 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I am so very tired of reading what some residents in PCB are saying about their own town. Is this the only thing you can say: Toothless rednecks?
I have to tell you I’ve eaten at just about every restaurant in the PCB area and we have yet to be waited on by a toothless redneck. * I only see people like you & I working, trying to make a living.
Cheap Foods….. No, just really great seafood!
Tourist…… We’ve had the pleasure of meeting people from just about everywhere visiting PCB.
Mediocre Rooms……. Wow, you are way off base here! PCB has some of the most beautiful places to stay along side the ocean one can find in Florida. Yes, there are many out there better on the islands but, we are talking about in the United States.
Actually, YOUR comments have nothing to do with Thunder Beach staying in September or being moved to October.
Gee’s!

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11 David August 11, 2011 at 10:15 am

Thunder Beach may draw the crowds, but it’s not a crowd that’s going to improve PCB’s image. I’m not saying that bikers aren’t nice people – but they’re not aiming for that image either, so I don’t see why they’d get their feelings hurt. What I am saying is that I’d take a spring breaker quietly vomiting in the bushes over a motorcycle rider revving his engine, any day. But either way, they’re not elevating the image of PCB. A nice, quiet Columbus Day weekend on the beach could do more to draw future family crowds than any amount of burn-out competitions or vendors selling leather chaps.

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12 Karen in PCB August 11, 2011 at 11:06 am

PCB’s image will never change as long as the TDC and others continue to market heavily to Spring Breakers. I visited here for years before relocating here. I couldn’t stand them then and feel the same now…they bring nothing to PCB to help improve our image! I work with families ALL the time and they do not like being here with their little ones while the older teens and Spring Breakers get drunk and behave unacceptably. Wonder why Destin during Spring Break doesn’t have these problems? Because that type of behavior is not acceptable. It would be awesome to have more families and much less Spring Breaker visitors.

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13 Casual Observer August 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Not sure what part of “Thunder Beach” you didnt understand in the topic…we aren’t talking about Spring Break here.

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14 Karen in PCB August 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Duh! No kidding. My point was I would rather have Thunder Beach here anytime than Spring Breakers.
They bring extreme revenue to everyone with businesses related to visitors.

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15 jamnolfin August 12, 2011 at 1:01 am

Wonder why Destin during Spring Break doesn’t have these problems?

Because everybody comes to PCB during spring break. We took the RV to Henderson Beach last March right in the middle of spring break and it was just a regular weekend there, PCB was slammed. I live between Destin and PCB and PCB is just more fun. Theres no locals in Destin and nothing but chain stores and restaurants. I like both locations and 30A and they all 3 have something to offer. I like all the events in PCB and thats what makes PCB so unique.

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16 ken August 13, 2011 at 7:23 am

“A nice, quiet Columbus day weekend on the beach could do more the draw future family crowds……”, yet it hasnt. Try something different.

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17 Pam August 11, 2011 at 10:46 am

I am shocked that the TDC would give $40,000 to the Bikers. I am a condo owner and it seems the TDC often forgets where the money comes from… it is from bed tax that we are forced to pay…. for them to WASTE on many things. TDC is definitely practicing Obamanomics!!!! Entirely too much WASTE. Why not use this money to bring families back to the beach for Spring break? Many families vacationed on our beaches before the TDC invited all of the destructive Spring breakers!!!!

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18 Greggt August 12, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Just a note Pam, we just write the check, our VISITORS pay the bed tax!

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19 Karen in PCB August 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

If Pier Park designates specific parking for bikers that would solve so many issues for all…including the bikers because they/we too hate trying to find adequate parking. You can squeeze alot of bikes together, all would be happy!
It’s ridiculous that the “planners” of Pier Park did not even consider motorcycle parking while planning the parking areas!

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20 Brian August 11, 2011 at 11:11 am

Just becuase the vendors will come does not mean the bikers will come. I think the new stage at pier park and an columbus day music event is a better plan.

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21 Karen in PCB August 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Have you not noticed the increase in numbers of participants every
time we have a Thunder Beach event?
It continues to grow, big time. What do you mean “if they come”?
They look forward to it!

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22 BeachBum August 11, 2011 at 11:13 am

If you have to have the bikers, leave them where they are. PLEASE leave the Columbus Day weekend for the rest of us. I don’t come to PCB during either bike week because I don’t like to be there when the bikers (or motorcyclists as some want to be called) are there. Between the noise, the parking, and the trash, it is just too much to deal with.

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23 ken August 15, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I would say the same thing about all the kids in town for the baseball events. You cant sit in a pool or get into an elevator at a condo property without kids screaming and running around the place. You cant go out to dinner without having to wait for hours for a dirty table. We all have our ideas of what a vacation should be. So keep in mind that your opinion may not be the same as others.

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24 Trey August 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

I have nothing against Thunder Beach per se, but once a year is plenty. If we are ever going to change the look and feel of PCB, we will have to begin to look less at Spring Break and Thunder Beach and more toward genuine family oriented structures. I think what Dan Rowe is trying to achieve with their fall events series is PRECISELY the approach that should be taken. Spread things out over a few weekends, and bring in big talent that makes it clear that we want families here. And I agree with Walsingham . . . big bikes and little tots just aren’t a good mix. Why not leave Thunder Beach for the spring, and let’s try Rowe’s new approach for the fall shoulder.

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25 proc johnston August 11, 2011 at 11:23 am

We don’t care when they have bike week as long as we know ahead of time so we can stay home. My family, including the dog, absolutely despise bike week. They try to see just how loud they can be and how outlandish they can look. Just let us know.

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26 Hunter Palmer August 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I am appalled they got $40K. I a strongly for getting rid of Thunder Beach altogether and replacing it with a more locals friendly event. If it has to continue I think it should be moved to Columbus Day just so all of us locals can get out of town for a three day weekend and go spend all our money in Destin, Apalach or Biloxi instead of having to hole up in our homes for three days until Thunder Beach is over. September and October should be our time in between tourists and snowbirds. Thunder Beach only benefits the condo owners, hotels and the bars.

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27 D Chitwood August 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Most of the bikers are lawyers and doctors, & etc. other professional people. I really apprectiate their business when they come to PCB. I do not think that they should be compared to the Springs Breakers that tear-up my place when it is rented to them. Sure the motorcycle are loud but its not unbearable. The Springbreakers are loud, ruded, and destructive. I thnk that Thunderbeach should be advertised more to bring the bikers to PCB Thunderbeach more and it would help the economy a lot at PCB. Everyone needs to think about that.

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28 beachrunner August 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Bull

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29 Greggt August 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Well said D Chitwood, bikers are welcome at our place anytime. Spring Breakers do not tear up our place mainly because we refuse to rent our condo out during this time to the heathens!

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30 Jellen August 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

Why pit Thunder Beach against Spring Break? That’s not all the world has to offer PCB. Why not use the funds to market to other demographics? “lawyers and doctors, & etc. other professional people” (as you mentioned) have other interests besides motorcycles. In fact, many in that demographic don’t own motorcycles. Why not market to financially secure people who like to travel to beaches? They have money to spend. There is a HUGE market out there. Why ignore it?

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31 Jeanne August 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I know that Thunder Beach brings $$ into the economy, I appreciate that. But, living on the beach, we have to leave town for every Thunder Beach Rally. We enjoy other festivals and attractions, but because of a health condition, the noise levels make it impossible for us to stay home whenever Thunder Beach is in town. So, I think turning over our home to these folks two weeks a year is sacrifice enough without giving them money too!! Just because there is still BP money doesn’t mean it should be squandered.

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32 Nigel August 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I would say that the Food & Wine Festival would be geared more towards locals, anyways (I know I wouldn’t go to an out-of-town destination just for their F&W Fest (Disney’s Epcot F&W Fest being the exception).

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33 Cathy August 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Isn’t 40,000 grant a little much for promotion of an event that’s taken place in PCB for ages? Not to mention Thunder Beach promotes it’s self in any city it goes too. It has a “following” crowd. One question I do have: If Oaseas Resorts/Shores of Panama are the “sponsor” of this event, do they not shell out some promotional cash for this?
I see no reason why it can’t remain being held in September unless there is a reason I can’t find in the article. We have vacationed the very week in PCB Thunder Beach was happening & it never bothered us. In fact we got a kick out of seeing all the bikes & talking to the owners. Some do object to the noise and anyone knows as with any event you will have some slight issues to deal with but, that is to be expected. We have also vacationed in PCB in October, thinking we would find the place less occupied. WOW, were we wrong……. we never knew that Alabama & Georgia School Fall break was then. It seemed to be a huge turnout of family’s with children. To me that’s just to family orientated to hold with the Bikers showing off their bikes. I can’t see it harming the Seafood & Wine Festival, it’s for adults & will be in a separate location.
I guess I feel like this…. I’d rather see the bikers in September without many children being there than have bikers and crowds of families/children all trying to be there in October… I just don’t think that’s a good mix. Your right about one thing, Thunder Beach has always been an issue in one way or another with residents and vacationers.
Hope this year it’s resolved fast.
Cathy/Tennessee

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34 PCB Rob August 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Columbus Day weekend is one where my girlfriend comes down for a long weekend visit. She comes from up north where its already started to get chilly and this is always a great visit. Last year she came down and we went to see REO at the festival. She came down in the spring the same weekend as Thunder Beach and it was not fun. The roar of the bikes plus long waits at restaurants sent us to South Walton. Yes, bikers were there, but not like in PCB. I understand its a big moneymaker, but quality of life for resideants definitely suffers.

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35 Steve and Mary Ann Larson August 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I have lived in Bay County for almost 15 years, been a Realtor for 30…my husband is retired Navy Veteran and we have been forced to take employment elsewhere for a couple years due to the Florida economy. We own a motorcycle and have traveled to Thunder Beach as well as lived there during the event. I beg to ask that the council compare the income that comes from this event versus the noise and traffic to the many triathialons that block our roads, scattered trash everywhere and I am sure spend NO WHERE near as much money as the influx of Bikers during Bike Week. My husband is a District Commander for the American Legion Riders/Patriot Guard for Southeastern Kentucky -the motorcycle members are the fastest growing portion of the American Legions in this Country. If you take into acccount that the bikes they ride cost more than the family car now a days….and I would much rather be seated in a restaurant next to them than a family with a passle of unruly boisterious kids! And kids meals do not bring in the food dollars or room rates….most are free or unpriced! So stop and think what you are saying here…last family weekend ? I think NOT ! Most Alabama, Georgia and Florida schools have already gone back in session….they are not coming after Labor Day. Panama City Beach needs jobs, full hotels and as many visitors that we can get – who knows they might like it enough to come back and buy a place ..and heaven only knows we sure can use that to get our property values and appraisals back in normal range in Bay County. Please remind this City Council that lack of business and falling property value is exactly why growth and the county budget is stalled- so stop fighting the very people who are trying to contibute to the economy! And for the rest of us – remember this issue when the next election rolls around.

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36 Karen in PCB August 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm

OMG! TELL IT LIKE IT IS!!!…that is exactly how I feel about why we need events here in PCB!!! It’s called money/revenve…people stop your whinning, especially if you are a vacationer and not a local resident. You can come vacation anytime, we live here full time. Yes it’s noisy and sometimes irritating but it’s only for a long weekend…I could not have said it any better!!! And I totally agree with your comparisons too!

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37 Cathy August 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Last year we were staying in a Thomas Drive condo…. the bikers for Thunder Beach started to arrive on Wed. for the event & finally by Friday there were lots of them. We actually asked several people when all the bikers would arrive? To me it just was not that big a thing. It was interesting to walk around & look at all the bikes and chat with the owners most being what seemed middle-age with nicer bikes hauled in for the event in boxed trailers. I never once was that bothered by this, not even noise wise. We did drive up to the far side of Front Beach (98) West end of the beach one night and there were lots more up on that end & it was a sight to see, seemed a different crowd to us.
It is money/revenue for PCB & that helps with many things…. a few days (5) will not kill anyone involved, it did not hurt us.

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38 ken August 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm

amen

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39 PB September 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Steve & Mary, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am not going into the history of my motorcycling, but I have been all over the country US my bike and even did numerous Iron Butt runs for the troops. Even though I live in Ga. (wife has a house in Myrtle) I got involved in the Myrtle Beach controversy and attended Horry County commission meetings as a motorcycle magazine rep. Bay Co. certainly doesn’t need to make the same mistake in underestimating “bikers” as the city of Myrtle Beach did. They paid for it considerably the past few years. The “bikers” tip well and even leave the place cleaner than the “Spring Breakers” and bring more to the economy of the area than most people realize. Look at Daytona. Even after 911, Biketoberfest patrons saved Daytona when the rest of the tourist slacked off coming. I used to come to the Seafood Festival in PC and Florida Fest in Appalach., but they both became expensive to try out seafood. I could get the same priced seafood at a nice sit-down restaurant. I come down a lot for the ride on the gulf.

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40 MJ - Motorcycle Event News August 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I am available to help market the rally, and lodging sponsors via MotorcycleEventNews.com and a newsletter that goes out to far more subscribers than the newsletter I was producing for Thunder Beach (before they decided to do their newsletter and social media in-house via their two-woman sales team.)

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41 Laura August 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Jason – I would like to comment on your statement: Even with the Panama City Beach Seafood Wine and Music Festival, I still don’t think that weekend has ever been a large draw for out of town visitors.

My husband and I along with my sister and her friend attended the 2010 Seafood and Wine Festival. We had an great time at the festival, the seafood was wonderful and enjoyed the weather (we are from Missouri). The tickets and food prices were inexpensive, so much cheaper than going to events in St. Louis. We bragged so much about our stay to our friends that since the beginning of the year we had six couples committed to return in 2011. The announcement of the festival not taking place was disappointing. We are however still heading to PCB with our friends for an exteneded weekend and plan on having a great time still. We love PCB!

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42 Sharon Ernst August 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Just make sure you continue the fall Thunder Beach, whatever time you decide to have it. I personally would like to see it a little later. Even if you moved it until after Daytona, most likely the weather would still be fabulous on your beaches, and maybe people would stop in PC on their way back from Daytona. October is such a great month to have bike rallies because it’s actually nicer to ride than April/May when the weather is more volatile and sometimes so hot.

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43 PC "Beach Bummed" August 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

The so called “people in charge” of PCB always seem to take the easy road. I think the “Redneck Riveria” moniker is so entrenched in thier minds, that they cannot think past that. I know Destin/30A is NOT PCB, but “the people in charge” need to try and lure some of that money/crowd, and quit wasting there time on Bike Rally’s and Spring Breakers. One Bike Rally per year is enough. It is getting very crowded in Destin/30A and some people do not want to deal with that congestion anymore, therefore PCB needs to start “target marketing” the family/money crowds, and push away the Spring Breakers and bikers. PCB has everything it needs to “change it’s culture” (New “International” Airport, Pier Park, 26 miles of beach that is just as pretty as Destin/30A,some family attractions, houses and condos that are just as nice as the ones in Destin/30A) but PCB has the redneck “stigma” that is continually perpetuated by the so called “people in charge” in PCB. People like Mr. McDaniel have more to gain by throwing money at te Bike Rally than anyone, because he has a property management company that needs to rent rooms. I do not fault him for trying to make a good living and providing much needed jobs, but if they would spend there money marketing to the family/money crowd, his company would benefit, and so would all of us that own condos in PCB. I own a condo in a Oaseas managed building and they bring a less than desirable crowd to our property because that is who they market to. Oaseas and Royal American’s (Mr. McDaniel is the former RAH “head guy”) unadvertised slogan is “heads in the beds”. This philosphy does not usually translate into desirable renters/guest. I did not write this to bash Mr. McDaniel, but the TDC really only serves the interest of the large property management companies, not the rest of us that own property in PCB. Panama City Beach will never reach it’s full potential until “the people in charge” hold there heads high, and quit taking a back seat to Destin/30A. If PCB will trash the “Redneck Riveria” attitude, it can easily surpass Destin/30 as “the place to be”. WAKE UP PCB, let’s set our sites higher and move forward!

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45 John August 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I would like to know how Thunder Beach and how corrupt it is can get tax payer money to fund his private company’s marketing. If you ever read Thunder Beach magazine it says to not go into stores or restaurants that are not a Thunder Beach’s sponsor because they are trying to steal your hard earned money.Are you kidding me??? Like Joe Biggs runs a mafia and owns the whole beach during the Bike Rally’s… Dan Rowe, the Mayor and Ken Nelson must know that this is shady. Seems like someone is getting paid on these decisions to give them the money every year. Joe Biggs is laughing all the way to the bank. It is disgusting and I bet also Illegal. Corruption on the beach.

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46 Fed Up Business Owner August 15, 2011 at 6:41 am

hear hear!

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47 PB September 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Thats not what Biggs means. There are stores, vendors, kiosks, etc. that are selling TB merchandise that are not part of the official venues. There is another group that broke away from TB and have started their own venues. Things like this undermine the intent of promoting a good rally. It takes time, effort and money to promote. They are parasites that don’t pay for the advertising and other things that TB productions does for those that are part of the TB venue.
I was selling magazine ads to a lot of stores and restaurants in an area for a new motorcycle rally to bring more interest in a small town. I pooled the ads and the more ads I got, the less it cost the advertisers. One restaurant was going to place an ad, but decided not to. He said he had made other arrangements. I knew what he was doing. He was just piggybacking on ads that others paid for.

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48 Larry Carmadelle Jr August 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I agree with Bernard.Keep Columbus Day weekend for families.PCB is a family beach, and they ought to bring in an amusement park or theme park,and maybe even rebuild the Miracle Strip amusement park in its original location,so PCB can keep some of its beach town charm.Was just there for 4 nights,and can not wait to get back.

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49 Greggt August 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Just asking Larry, just HOW would you propose “they” bring in an amusement park??? and WHO would be willing to rebuild the Miracle Strip???
I’m sure if someone would step forward to do either one “they” would be thrilled! Also have you noticed a portion of the old Miracle Strip has been reconditioned and put in at Pier Park?

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50 Larry Carmadelle Jr August 16, 2011 at 10:31 am

Greggt I was replying to what Bernard said about an amusement or theme park and yes I know about the portion of Miracle Strip in Pier Park I was just there. Thank You.

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51 Clancy August 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Thunder Beach participants spend large amounts of money on lodging, food, and area attractions. The event draws an exponentially larger group of attendees annually. THIS EVENT IS NOT SPRING BREAK ! We keep giving the TDC the “ammunition” (more and more money) and they keep shooting themselves in the foot….What’s up with that !?!?

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52 Ryan August 13, 2011 at 1:18 am

Right on D Chitwood. People are so wrong about bikers. Bikers are all doctors, lawyers and professionals. I mean don’t people notice all the Harley’s in the parking lots of doctor and attorney offices? I guess they don’t pay attention. All these guys have Harley’s in their garages between the Mercedes and Porsche.
These are probably the same people are the ones who don’t believe that all strippers are just putting themselves through med school.
And bikers are fabulous for restaurants. Haven’t you seen the girth of these bikers and their babes they tow along? Thats why buffets close during bike week.

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53 Jellen August 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

I have no “love” relationship with Thunder Beach but I do have a love relationship with Columbus Day weekend. Don’t take over that beautiful weekend when families visit. Not everyone who is interested in the beach and PCB likes the noise of motorcycles. Thunder Beach does not fit in with the rest of us. Thunder Beach takes over and pushes other visitors away. Don’t hurt PCB more, please. The two weekends already given up to this single-minded interest is enough.

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54 Fed Up Business Owner August 15, 2011 at 6:40 am

Marty McDaniel should have recused himself from voting on this as he is a prime sponsor for the event and his condos have biker stuff all over the place for sale. Take a look at the biker event website and see for yourself. Nah….why would he do such a silly thing like recuse himself because he has a MAJOR conflict of interest? That would be the right thing to do…..

Speaking of Marty…. also shouldn’t be mouthing off about not being able to rent rooms on a 4 day weekend when a large portion of the hotels on the beach have traditionally had a very strong weekend. If you could do as good a job as so many others on the beach, you wouldn’t even consider moving it. Sure Columbus Day weekend is not a HUGE sellout weekend, but it ain’t a regular weekend in October with MUCH lower rooms booked. C’mon TDC folks…look at the numbers and use your head….

Lastly, I hope that the MASSIVE amount of negativity that the bike rally promotes if you don’t buy their BS load of advertising will go away. DON’T GO ANYWHERE OR STAY ANY WHERE IN PC IF THEY DON’T GIVE US MONEY. They even say it all over their website. Isn’t this America? Competition breeds better business, but this jerk calls everybody that attempts to do business without his consent or kickback a crook, low-life or bottom feeder. This better stop with TDC funding or get ready for a massive amount of complaints from hundreds of business that are tired of his mafia-esque strong arming.

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55 Jeanne August 17, 2011 at 12:53 am

I’ve heard the “doctors and lawyers” argument for Thunder Beach for years. It’s an urban myth. The TDC should encourage organizations who can peacefully co-exist with others–with locals, families, international guests, whatever. Thunder Beach is loud, aggressive, and trashy. They don’t mix well with other people who also want to use the beach, dine out, or shop in Pier Park. That the TDC gives them money is just unbelievable. Are the recent noise ordinances suspended during Thunder Beach week?

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56 Cathy August 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

I’ve read several comments here referring that the bikers were doctors, lawyers etc. You know they may well be some who are but, the average people a year ago that my husband & I stopped to chat with were just average working class people. We stopped to look at a few on Thomas Drive and chatted with the owners and then again up by Pier Park. They were friendly, talkative & interested in showing us their bikes. They were older couples, middle age couples/groups and younger ones…… I would not label them as “trashy”.
It’s like this……. you will have good ,bad & ugly in all events that draw a crowd of people. Thunder Beach Biker Rally is no exception to this. And yes….. you will experience a slight bit of noise. A remedy to this is “earplugs” and scheduling vacations around the set date for this rally (if) you do not enjoy this.
My husband & I are not bikers but, we certainly love to look at them & chat with the owners. I hope they continue to host this event in September so we can look forward to seeing it!
Thanks, Cathy/Tennessee

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57 Jack Bishop August 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

You are wrong! Would you really experiment with Columbus Day Weekend and put bikers on our beach at the same time as Fall Break? We finally have the opportunity to do some real business and we would mix Bikers and Families together???

I someone would ever get an accurate count of the Bikers, and a real Economic Impact Study of the event, then a discussion could be open to movement and promotion. I don’t even think the $40,000.00 is consistent with the Image of the New Panama City Beach. For fifty (50) weeks a year we promote our Tourist Destination to Families and DINKS – (Double Income No Kids) and for the two Bike weeks we completely cater to and invite the opposite. Make Sense?

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58 Pat August 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

We are a pretty conservative family with no motorcycle enthusiasts among us. However, we’ve always enjoyed the Thunderbeach crowd. Perhaps it’s the spirit of comraderie you see everywhere you go on the beach: restaurants, grocery stores, other beach activities. We have two young sons and it’s very exciting for them to hear the rumble and see all the excitement throughout the weekend. All the Thunder Beach visitors we’ve ever encountered were very polite and respectful, just looking for a little R & R. I say bring in more good commerce!

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