Thunder Beach Will Be Huge. Thanks Myrtle Beach

by April 22, 2009 • 33 comments

2890942751_ccc7337011If you’ve been aching to don that new leather vest and harness boots, ache no more. On April 30th Panama City Beach shall rumble, heralding the return of the Thunder Beach Spring Rally. From end to end, families, riders, celebrities, artists and some of the most spectacular bikes in the world will cover the beach.

Regarded by many as the “most biker friendly free rally in the United States”, the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally is always a big event. But this year’s event may be the best and biggest Panama City Beach has ever experienced and Myrtle Beach may have a lot to do with it.

As many of you know, Myrtle Beach is Panama City Beach’s largest competition when it comes to bikers and rallies. But by the looks of recent law changes, they might be getting out of the business. Recently, a 3 million dollar property tax increase was passed in Myrtle Beach to fund anti-rally efforts. That’s not the half of it. Myrtle Beach has also added new laws declaring unpermitted rallies and events to be public nuisances, created a midnight curfew, closed bars at 2 am, required all motorcyclists to wear helmets (not a requirement under state law), towing and impounding all motorcycles that do not meet noise standards, checkpoints where motorcycles will be monitored for noise, and traffic diversion such as barriers and closed streets. So what does all this mean? Basically, it means a bigger rally for Panama City Beach, and I’m sure the local businesses will take it.

“We’re definitely expecting huge turnout this year.” Says Corky McCollum, A Thunder Beach Productions coordinator. “We’ve got bigger events, more venues and the total numbers of vendors have increased considerably.”

The schedule for bike week is substantial and the venues cover the entire beach. The list of venues include, Shoppes at Edgewater, Club La Vela, Sandpiper Beacon, Boardwalk Beach Resort, Sharky’s, Pier Park, Rockit Lanes and Frank Brown Park.

And the events this year are family-friendly. There will be demos all over the beach particularly the Harley Davidson Drill Team at Pier Park. They’ll be teaching and doing all sorts of stunts. If that doesn’t make you want to jump into your chaps, at Club La Vela, Speed Channel’s Jay Barbieri, host of American Thunder, will be hosting a televised “Build Off” allowing two bikers to pick any parts from their accessory demo rig to amp-up their bikes. Suckerpunch Sally, an old-school bike manufacturer will be giving away one of its beautiful custom bikes during a VIP party at Ebro Greyhound Park. At Frank Brown Park X-game enthusiasts can witness firsthand the amazing jumps seen on television as stunt bikers hit ramps and the “Ball of Death”. Live bands will be playing at all the venues. Everyone is welcome to come out to enjoy the events and, if nothing else, gawk at some amazing bikes.

Without doubt, the Thunder Beach Spring Rally is expected to be a success. So I guess, if things go as planned, we should all head to Hallmark, get a nice big thank you card and send it to Myrtle Beach. I’ll be the first to sign it.

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1 Rob N April 23, 2009 at 7:53 am

I will be heading down on Tuesday I cant wait!!!!


2 PCB Family Man April 24, 2009 at 7:21 am

As a gulf front condo owner, I would much rather have the bikers one week every now and then (spring/fall,) than have the destructive kids that come down for spring break for 4 – 6 weeks straight. However, I kind of like what Myrtle Beach is doing to “tone down” their bike rally’s. But, if you are not a biker, do not go to PCB during a bike rally and stay on the beach if you want to get some sleep, because those loud bikes ride all night. With that being said, PCB needs to “tread lightly” with this biker deal, because now that Myrtle Beach is pushing them away, bike rallys may come to PCB more frequently, which will lead to more problems, because PCB has a proven track record that they do not now how to control a potentionaly good thing, i.e. Spring Break.


3 ryan April 24, 2009 at 11:29 am

The worst two weeks in PCB by far. Way too much noise and drunks rev their bikes all night long. Can’t they at least write tickets to all the loud bikes? I think it’s time we follow Myrtle Beach. No one visiting these new high dollar condos wants to be around a bunch of 50 something bikers acting like they are 18.


4 Jim April 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

We enjoy PCB every year, and as an average leave between $2000-$3000 per couple. Do the math, the bikers leave a lot of tax $ and create jobs.Sorry, we bother you,other places see the tax money and I’m sure the sponsors could find another location.The business owners in Myrtle Beach are very upset as are most of the homeowners now that their taxes have doubled to offset the loss of their rally.I question why anyone would move near the beach in PCB if they didn’t like the noise and tourists, since this has been the focus for a long time.


5 Ron April 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm

During last fall’s Thunderbeach, I had my little teardrop camper out in the yard working on it. My street happens to be a “cut through” street from Back Beach to Front Beach. There were times when there would be 20 to 30 bikes stopped in my driveway and yard. I looked like a venue at times. They were from all over and if they enjoyed their stop as much as I enjoyed their stopping then it was a great time “had by all.” Sorry, didn’t notice any drunks, obnoxious behavior or foul language, just gear heads and builders, riders and admirers having a good time. I’ve recently moved and I’m going to miss Thunderbeach. I usually got my lawn chair, some cool ones and sat in my front yard and watched the entertainment and didn’t have to buy a ticket. The same can be said for the street rods when they’re in town.


6 Joe April 28, 2009 at 6:22 am

Absolutely awful. Can’t wait to sell my condo and leave this town.


7 Michele April 28, 2009 at 6:37 am

Really??!! Oh, I get it, this is one of the upscale events that PCB wants to highlight to attract more families and change the town’s image! I agree, PCB better be careful with this one. Does this town never learn?


8 Andy April 28, 2009 at 6:47 am

It’s a loud event, but its a revenue worthy one. Does anyone know how much a Harley costs? I do. My father (who is far from trash) has one and enjoys the camaraderie these events provide and not to mention, it’s a lot closer to Panama City Beach than Myrtle Beach for him. The bike parade is for charity too. Did anyone remember that part?

It’s only for three days and at this stage in the economy, we should all be supportive of any event that brings people here to spend money.


9 Rob N April 28, 2009 at 6:56 am

PCB is what PCB is!!! If you want to live and vacation somewhere else. You guys are grown ups and its still a free country! I come to Thunderbeach every Spring and fall. Its like going to a festival. Not the usualy family beach vacations that are the norm! Very few times do us old white working guys get to have fun…


10 Steve April 28, 2009 at 7:04 am

Why are you excited that once again, PCB is the town that people go to when they are unwelcomed by another beach town that wants to improve their image?? Myrtle Beach is laughing to have bikers heading out of their beach town. “If noone else wants us, we’ll go to PCB.”

Meanwhile, families continue to hear that the image is changing in PCB until they arrive with young children wanting to know what stores like Purple Haze and Condom Knowledge mean. Family friendly? That’s a joke!


11 Maureen April 28, 2009 at 7:18 am

Oh, and there are no drunks during spring break, Ryan. Yea, right. How many know just how much a touring bike costs, not to mention a specialty bike, or a chopper? Harley or Honda, or any other big name. Many of these bikers are professionals in their regular lives (appearances can be deceiving) and have plenty of money to throw around and they actually bring in business. Lots of folks who don’t even have bikes will come to PCB for this event and the additon of Jay Barbieri is a big plus this year. As one poster mentioned, 2 weeks of bikers, 1 week in spring and 1 in fall, versus 4 to 6 weeks of spring breakers non-stop is so much more tolerable, if you’re bothered by the noise and traffic. No Hell’s Angels with this group. There is always a fringe, if you will, with any large group of individuals with a common interest. Don’t let that 1% cloud your minds about bikers as a whole. My husband is a biker, but I bet no one reading this could guess what he does Monday through Friday, or on weekends when he’s not riding his bike.


12 Lisa April 28, 2009 at 7:26 am

Classy. This town doesn’t know what classy means. Myrtle Beach is trying to improve and class up their community, Lauderdale managed to do it….. but not us! We are still all about the money. Doesn’t matter who brings the money in….. spring break and thunder beach are what this city boasts! PLEASE! You can’t have it both ways. Once this terrible market turns around, it will be interesting to see what kind of people stay here and who is finally able to get out!


13 Joe April 28, 2009 at 7:56 am

How long before the TDC invites the Somali Pirates to hold their next convention here?


14 Kim April 28, 2009 at 8:31 am

Welcome Thunder Beach Riders ! We’re glad you came, hope you come back, and be safe while you’re here.

Ignore the few locals who are disenchanted with the real estate market and blaming it on this event. It has nothing to do with you or the event.


15 David April 28, 2009 at 8:45 am

Why can’t we have both tourism and regulation? Traffic in this town is bad when the tourists arrive that is a given. All tourist towns go through that. We need to control the situation that is undesirable in all events. The real problem with the Biking events is the noise! Do we know how much money our Police forces could get if they cracked down on the noise ONLY! Most real bikers are into reasonable enjoyment. Most of us are over 40 and don’t stay up until the wee hours of the morning. If you notice at all, most of the bikers are up pretty early out riding. It is in the evening when the problems happen. Why not pass a noise ordinance that after a certain time noise violators with be ticketed. Basically there is a way for everyone to get what is needed because I agree, we need to turn the image of this town around or we will lose business in the long run. Spring break is a no win investment. They do more harm and less income than any other event held in our town. Let’s address the actual problems instead of generalizing everything. The bottom line is we need the revenues from these events to build up our town to the point of being able to increase our road efficiency and attract the bigger events and recreation needed for year round tourism which will do nothing but increase the value of our property and bring needed funds to our local businesses. If you don’t like living in a tourist town you need to relocate.


16 Dennis April 28, 2009 at 9:30 am

I live on the beach and the noise bikes make is ridicules. You can hear a single bike from a half mile away. I use to ride bikes but didn’t do the “Village People” costume thing or try to make my bike louder. The bike noise pollution is very much a nuisance and irritation. It’s hard to believe it’s legal to intentionally assault people with that much noise.
Myrtle Beach has a tourist economy with a lot more to offer than sand and beer. It sounds like MB is taking positive measures to improve their image and address problematic issues with bikes. PCB should take notes.


17 Jake S April 28, 2009 at 9:37 am

What exactly is the point of the motorcycles being so loud? Attention? To annoy others? To provoke the police and residents into conflict?


18 Daniel April 28, 2009 at 10:00 am

We live here on the beach and pay taxes 365 days a year. It seems too often that we have to adjust to the inconvenience of our surroundings, as opposed to the tourist adjusting to to the peace of beach life.


19 Mike April 28, 2009 at 10:08 am

I live in Bowling Green, Ky and we have 2 Harley-Davidson meets a year a number of Corvette meets, a Buick GS, …..etc… Hopefully any growing town or city has these. Really the only problems we’ve had are by a “few” bad apples that cause it. It is like any other place that people go… you have to obey the law. Here, it is enforced and everyone knows it. We get a BUNCH of bikers but probably nowhere near what you guys will get, but I believe if the law enforcement will try to keep the trouble makers at bay, then all will go well. I see it all over… if the police is THERE and people notice that they are there, then most will be acting within the law. If there are no police anywhere in sight and no one tries to keep trouble down, then trouble will brew.

I think the worst thing that can happen is for the police to try to enforce little picky things. In a rally, the main thing is public safety and keeping trouble from brewing. There have to be RULES and they have to be enforced!! (Just ask residents of Sturgis, South Dakota). That takes manpower and pro-active involvement.

To me, from what I see at PCB is just some basic understaffing and not educating the members of the rally. If the people that come there know that they are wanted if they behave and act rationally, then you might have a lot of bikers that actually help the police report out of control crowds or individuals. PCB could probably get their local bike chapters together to discuss ways to keep the peace and have a great interaction between bikers and police departments. AND…. Maureen, you are correct… most bikers spend a bundle when they come to town. Much different than the majority of the Spring Breakers.

With bikers, much of the noise at night is probably from drunken crowds of bikers doing burnouts. Do not allow that anywhere along the beach. This should be a cause for fines and even arrests if they continue. For those wanting to race, do burnouts, etc… it is nice to have a place that they can go for that purpose… such as a dragstrip away from the residential areas of town. But if that is not provided and the laws are not being enforced, then they WILL do burnouts and raise hell along the beach roads. (This is not the majority of your bikers… but it only takes a few to cause the problems).

The noise…maybe midnight instead of 10pm… and maybe certain residential streets can be blocked to local traffic only after 10pm… but earplugs and Ambien usually do the trick for me.


20 rayzmom April 28, 2009 at 11:01 am

I will gladly welcome bikers over drunk, obnoxious, rude spring breakers ANY DAY! These folks have more respect for property, and note riding around drunk as cooter brown, and will spend more $$$ on their vacation, as well. Thank you Myrtle Beach.


21 Stan April 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm

It’s all about money. Myrtle Beach is family friendly but not Panama City Beach. The bikers were here during spring break and all they brought was noise to the already raucus spring breaker. I work in a hotel on the beach and we had to call the police every other night, sometimes twice a night. This is family friendly? I don’t think so!


22 little lady April 28, 2009 at 2:52 pm

it is two weeks- suck it up- this is a tourist town- if you want to live in a quiet place where nothing happens move to Vernon- they still have space available there- sheesh


23 Joe Knows April 29, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I dont ride a motorcycle or have the desire to do so but love Thunder Beach and every other special event Panama City Beach has. On consecutive weeks for a month we will have the Jazz Festival, The Charity Horse Show, Thunderbeach and The Gulf Coast Triathlon. We need those and many more including Spring Break. So hopefully in the future we can have a special event for narrow-minded, self absorbed, selfish, stupid people who dont agree with anything but what they want or like. Geez…….


24 Jason Koertge April 29, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Amen joe, thanks!


25 Bryan Durta April 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm


There are big differences between Thunder Beach and College Spring Break. Thunder Beach benefits most of the tourist-oriented businesses; College Spring Break mainly benefits a select few. And unlike College Spring Break, Thunder Beach(that is only two weekends a year and does not result in any negative national press) does not tarnish our reputation as a family-friendly destination.

And obviously Jason must have forgot to chastise your rudeness, not to mention ignorance, when you referred to people such as myself as a “narrow-minded, self absorbed, selfish, stupid [person]”.


26 John May 4, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Why don’t you old farts that have forgot how to have fun and kick up your heels just leave town when bike week is going on. I promise you we won’t miss you. I am 55 years old and I love to ride my Harley, it is my stress reliever. It sounds to me like alot of you uptight old farts need to let go and have a good time. Life is to short to be pissed off all the time. I hope that Thunder Beach get as big or bigger than Daytona, and Myrtle Beach, then what you going to do. Go buy you some ear plugs.


27 Bryan Durta May 4, 2009 at 11:06 pm


I have been supportive of Thunder Beach, but I believe it is important to keep PCB a livable place. This community can’t survive solely on tourists and the the people filling the generally low-paying tourism industry jobs. We need more people to live here year-round. This requires that we consider the reasons who other communities with a lot more successful tourism experience than PCB choose to not encourage specific tourist groups.

Your suggestion that people who don’t like their life unnecessarily disrupted by unconventional tourism should go on vacation during Thunder Beach is unworkable. Do you also believe that residents should just leave town during March also? How many local employers provide enough vacation time and extra compensation to cover this? Local residents deserve to be considered and your reference to them as “uptight old farts” who don’t know how to have a good time is childish.


28 John May 5, 2009 at 7:40 am


You need to get out more, get away from the computer and enjoy life. You are taking life way to serious my friend and go buy yourself a Harley, I think you should start out on an 883 Sportser, you might could handle it. The people who go to Thunder Beach don’t give a rip if PCB should have more people living there year round, we go to party,meet old friends and SPEND MONEY. By the way are you a democrate ,you sure sound like one, worring about what other people have and don’t have.


29 Jason Koertge May 5, 2009 at 8:23 am

ooo, I’ve been drooling over the Iron


30 Bryan Durta May 5, 2009 at 9:23 am


Am I understanding correctly that you believe that anyone who does not own/ride a bike is too serious and doesn’t enjoy life? You also seem to have a problem engaging in a logical discussion without engaging in irrelevant personal attacks.

And if you had actually read the beginning of my post, you would have seen that I have, and remain, supportive of Thunder Beach. But I am not supportive of specific tourists like you who think that the whole world revolves around their $ and believe that everyone else should like what they like.

There are plenty of tourists who have respect for the communities they visit. PCB does not need tourists with mindsets like you.


31 John May 5, 2009 at 11:00 am


I think that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I have mine and you have yours.

My dad told me to never argue with a fool or a woman,because you can’t win so don’t waste your time.

I will back for the Fall Rally to party, see old friends and spend my $$$$$$$$$.


32 Bryan Durta May 5, 2009 at 11:39 am

LOL. Thank you for your $$$$, John.