Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No more biker rallies in Myrtle Beach!

Are they kidding? Apparently not.

It's right at the top of the official "Myrtle Beach bike week" web page! (STAY OUT, you scuzzy characters!)

Okay, did somebody get killed or what?

Myrtle Beach has long hosted (since 1940) the third-largest biker rally in the USA, a 10-day event in early May, as well as another "full rally" in late September. These routinely attract hundreds of thousands of tourists. Various websites are still advertising the 2009 Bike Week dates. No doubt, some folks will just show up out of mere habit.

In trying to research this story, I have a hard time finding any information...although I did find out it's 115 days until Spring Rally! Were the bikers themselves told that MB has put the kibosh on their vacations? I can only imagine how that will go over, as many working-class people have to request their vacation-time as far in advance as a year (I once had to, at a former job) and probably can't change them now. That really sucks.

Articles from the Myrtle Beach Sun are hard to locate online, as are most newspapers these days. (*Thank God for bloggers! Keep up the good work, mainstream media!*) I did find one blog that seemed to know something; Cyril Huze posted this last June:

Via Myrtle Beach Sun News, below the highlights of the measures taken by the city to end motorcycle-related vending inside the city:

“Myrtle Beach City Council hit the gas on eradicating motorcycle rallies by passing a three-mill property-tax increase dedicated to an anti-bike-rally campaign 
All seven council members at Tuesday’s meeting voted in favor of the tax increase, which will raise about $1 million a year. One mill equals an additional $4 in property taxes for every $100,000 of assessed value for all owner-occupied homes, and $6 for every $100,000 assessed value of commercial property and second homes.City staff members are tasked with coming up with a list of strategies for ending the rallies, and city leaders will choose which ones they want to try and which ones the city can afford.

It’s news that will please the hundreds of anti-rally residents who showed up at last week’s council meeting. City leaders say they want to actively market May as a family vacation month, replacing bike rally participants.

 At Tuesday’s meeting, council members also voted to change the city’s OZ-50 zoning so vending permits cannot be issued in May. OZ-50 covers the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and Broadway at the Beach, two spots that in years past have drawn motorcycle-related vending.

That proposed ordinance must go before the city’s Planning Commission for review before it gets its second and final reading.
Council members voted to cancel all motorcycle-related facilities permits for the month of May, as well. That ordinance also needs a second reading before it is considered official.”
And one of the Cyril's readers, Jeff Nicklus, enthusiastically comments:

TO THE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS OF MYRTLE BEACH:

What a bunch of crap. The City of Myrtle Beach wants us gone. Well guess what you idiots I have been thrown out of better places! You don’t want us there, OK, I will take my company(s) and we will stay home. That’s right your self serving, pompous, Ben Gay wearing, Stay off my Grass old fart citizens of Myrtle Beach can kiss my butt because Desperado Motorcycles and Jeff Nicklus Customs will not be seen in Myrtle Beach again! Oh yes, need I forget, neither will the $30-35,000.00 we spend annually to bring our dog and pony show to Myrtle Beach. I wonder how many families spend that much on vacations and Putt-Putt Golf in the Myrtle Beach during any 7-10 day period ? NONE YOU IDIOTS! NONE! Take the bikers out of the mix and guess what …… you are going to need to increase the property tax more than three mills per hundred to make up for this mistake.
Myrtle Beach has long attempted to turn itself into squeaky-clean Branson, Missouri, and this seems the final step in that boring, middle-class direction. They can finally drive out the riff-raff, after 68 years of fattening themselves up on their money.

In this increasingly-bedeviled economy, another insane, fucked-up move from South Carolina! (Remember, they didn't want the gay money, either.)

If anyone has any more info, please comment. There is more secrecy in Horry County than there is in Washington these days!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Associated Press
Published: January 13, 2009

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - A new Web site is telling the world that, as far as the city of Myrtle Beach is concerned, there will be no biker rallies at the beach this spring.
The Web site, http://www.Myrtlebeachbikerinfo.com, was launched last week. At the top, it says “effective 2009, Myrtle Beach will no longer host motorcycle rallies.“
The city council last month approved changes to restrictive ordinances targeting the May rallies.
The city never officially hosted the two rallies which brought tens of thousands of visitors to the Grand Strand.
But city spokesman Mark Kruea told The Sun News of Myrtle Beach that the city no longer wants to be the center of the motorcycle universe each May.

--WNCT News, Jacksonville, NC

John Powers said...

Mike Davis writes about cities, one book is Planet of Slums. Great observer, he is, and he shows how clearly counter productive and delusional gated communities are calling them Evil Paradises. Eurozine interview Myrtle Beach doesn't get it.

South Carolinians are proud of Beach Music and Carolina Shag. Don't they remember that it was only at the beach white people could interact with black culture? Myrtle Beach as Kiawah-lol!

Daisy said...

John, good points!! Just like San Francisco became ashamed of the hippies and beatniks, cordoning them off into certain neighborhoods, now Myrtle Beach is ashamed of its bikers and assorted rebellious rednecks who weren't skeered to party with the help. (I guess that was the problem!)

The older folks in the area love to talk about what it was like in the 50s and early 60s, to go somewhere that was not segregated--or rather, no one enforced those laws in those Shag joints, which had sawdust on the dance floor and everything. (Apparently, this meant the fleas LOOOVED those places, which is why so many shag joints are still called names like "the Sand Flea") Damn, I hate to see this kind of thing happen. :(

Great link, and I'll have to read more by that guy. Another good read is Edge City: Life on the New Frontier by Joel Garreau.

Towns like Branson are 'invented'--JG Ballard thought such invented locales (and gated communities) were the wave of the future (and not in a good way)... again, I highly recommend the fabulous and prescient Cocaine Nights.

JoJo said...

Daisy, did you ever go to the rally when it was held in MB? I've never been to a biker rally; not sure I'd feel very comfortable in that element, but our friend Jef has been to Sturgis, Daytona and...is it Watsonville? The one in the South Bay. He always has a great time. :)

John Powers said...

I'm happy you caught my line of thinking Daisy. My image of Myrtle Beach is pretty outdated. There weren't so many residents back in the day who didn't make their living there.

My image of bikers these days is rather up-scale, at least all the bikers I know seem rich to me. I'm betting that the prolonged real estate crisis is going to put a crimp on beach properties; those resort condo developments are highly leveraged. In a year or two the area may well wish it hadn't cut off its nose to spite its face.

sheila said...

I remember a couple years back (well, lie 25 yrs, lol) my girlfriends and I went down there for a week. It turns out it was bike week. Thousands of bikers. At first I wasn't sure what to think...the sound of the rev is deafening. lol. But it turned out to be great! Everyone was nice and friendly and no one messed with anyone. In fact, I felt a bit 'protected'.

How sad, it seems that in these times, they'd actually welcome them.

Annie said...

it's hollister, in the south bay

Devona said...

There are some great Branson shows to see!

Anonymous said...

The Associated Press calls Branson one of the top family vacation destinations in the country and for good reason. Check out Branson vacation for you lodging needs.

Anonymous said...

Another anonymous here, first post.
I know of what I speak. Call it rascist or not I don't care but I do KNOW.
Lemme make a coupla distinctions. There are TWO (2) quite distinct & separate Spring biker rallys around Myrtle. First there is a "white" "harley" rally just before Memorial Day ... FOLLOWED by the "black" "import/metric" bike rally that incorporates the MD holiday in its schedule.
The 1'st rally brings lotsa $ into area while the 2'nd is a large $ drain. Seems more participants in 2'nd rally more prone to public obcenity & high speed displays. I attended the 1'st type rallys long before there ever was a hint of a 2'nd black rally. Me thinks MB might like to single out the 2'nd rally for closure but cannot legally do so without shutting down 1'st also. Too bad as I feel strongly the 2'nd buch is where most of the trouble/percieved trouble emanates.

Bunch of old farts at MB? Sure are ... what's changed is most are very recently South Carolinians & most of those won't claim it unless it's good for their bottom line.

I used to live at Garden City year round ... slaved in its restaurants & I attended HS at Socastee thru 1969-1970 until moving inland about an hour.

As it's become, you can hardly pay me to go near the beach now for any reason. I attended the early harley rallys long before it was socially acceptable to be seen on a harley. Hard Rock Park's toast ... let's just hope the Pee Dee Street Rodders' Run to The Sun March Car Show will survive ('bout the closest I get to the strand these days).

Not to worry MB ... the so-called "biker" rallys would likely wither on the vine anyway due to bad economy. The vast majority of today's "bikers" are simply weekend warriors putting on some kinda masquerade & who'll shed that bike payment just as quickly as any other toy. I was born in SC and still have the same old hd I've had since long before Malcom Forbes ever had an interest.

Also, me understands the "official" MB biker rally site is merely a site MB concocted to help them get THEIR message out. Me understands the bikers will return to strand; but without MB "official" blessing.

agree or disagree, flame away no matter to me ... closest I plan to be to that pricey cesspool is just east of Conway in March

DaisyDeadhead said...

No flamage forthcoming, but I would like to see some stats on the second (black) biker rally being a "drain" rather than generating income... if people are coming into the area, how can they NOT spend money?

Most vacation destinations in the south have some legacy of segregation. There are "black" vacation spots, and "white" ones, even in the same locale. And some are virtually all-white and always have been (Hilton Head). MB is different in that they usually didn't enforce those laws, and got a reputation for hard-partying among the people who didn't care about that sort of thing (separating the races)... there wouldn't be ANY black biker week if MB hadn't been supportive of black tourists in the first place.

And now, after reaming them out and taking their money, they want them out. Figures. I agree with your weekend-warrior comments, as John P also stated.

Too bad Malcolm Forbes messed it all up for everyone! :P

And hey, I figured it out about MB biker week website being a bait-and-switch thing! I am getting a lot of hits on this post, which surprises me... this lets me know that people are planning their vacations online, which puts them (mostly) in the middle class. As I said, though, I expect lots of people will just show up out of habit.

Anonymous said...

I wonder where you get your information from. In short..."NO MORE BIKER RALLIES IN MYRTLE BEACH" is a bold face lie. That has never been the case. Take it from someone who lives here in Myrtle and has worked both the Black Biker week and the Carolina Dealers Assoc. events. What is true however is that the Carolina event has moved to New Bern,NC. The local H-D Dealership still is on. That has never changed.

Anonymous said...

The Carolina H-D event in Myrtle Beach moving to NC? Hope they've built plenty of hotels to handle it. I think not. Stupid move.

Daisy said...

Dear Rude Anonymous,

You wonder where I get my information from? Can you read? All of my sources are duly linked. Are yours? Where do you get YOUR information from? Who are YOU?

If you can't write a civil post, fuck off.

Anonymous said...

There have been some comments on stats. That would be hard to do for either rally. If you go by the number of hotel rooms, that's as close as you'll get. I can tell you that most rooms are full for the H-D event. There have been a number of new hotels built in the last several years. It's not what it was like 10 years ago. So what went wrong with the biker rallies....Simple. Problems bigger than the events. That's what. As I stated earlier, I live here in MB, worked the rallies,and in the middle of everything on Ocean Blvd. for both events. Every year, the caliber of biker/tourist has got worse. Atittudes, behavior, and that word they like to use....respect. Respect goes two ways my friends. Roaring through residential areas which is far from the event at 2am. that's what. Riding like an idiot in heavy traffic...another. Most every accident involving was an intoxicated show off who thinks just because he's on a bike that week, the world will yield to him/her. Not the case. Most tourists have little experience with motorcyclists. Especially a large number. Us locals know to anticipate stupidity on the roads. That's just how it is in any vacation area. Another comment on how much money is made off the bikers. That is exagerated. Only two places. The hotels have to charge the same rates for the black biker week as well. They make no more money. Second restaurants and bars. That too is dying as most bikers cook in the rooms and drink in the hotel rooms to avoid a DUI. Third, businesses lose money. Yes, lose money. Bikers spend money with the event vendors. Not the locals. The money you say is made is actually taken out of Myrtle Beach when the event is over. This led to a decrease in the amount of permits issued both in the city and Horry County.
About Black Bike Week.....
Myrtle Beach had this thrown in their lap. The city has never endorsed this event,but spilled over in size from Atlantic Beach where it originated. That event unfortunately has grown to chaos. Tke it from me, that event attracts more people than MB can handle. Hotel rooms all the way to Charleston,Florence, and Columbia,SC are booked.This event has little to do with motorcycles any more. It's cars,cars,and more cars. Hudreds of thousands of dollars, far more that is made is paid out to extra law enforcement from around the state to handle crowds and traffic. Who do you think pays for that? So the myth big bucks are made off of either simply is not true. Virginia Beach got rid of the "black" event. Atlanta's "Freaknik" is history. MB looks like downtown Philadelphia with this crowd..trash everywhere. Who wants that? So what's the deal? Look at the majority for both bike weeks. They themselves are to blame for ruining the events. New Bern,NC is in for a huge surprise. As you have said to me Daisy,(F.O.) Most of MB feels the same about both rallies.

Anonymous said...

A Motorcycle Rally Revs Up, Though It’s No Longer WelcomeBy ROBBIE BROWN, New York Times
Published: May 2, 2009

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Gentlemen, you can still ride your Harleys to the beer-belly and chicken-eating contests. Ladies, you can still strip to your pirate-pattern thongs at the drive-through motorcycle bar.

But as far as the City of Myrtle Beach is concerned, you have enjoyed your last official Bike Week, one of the largest and oldest motorcycle rallies in America.

After years of complaints from local residents about noise, violence and indecency, the City Council adopted a series of anti-rally laws last fall in the hope of driving away the 500,000 motorcyclists who roar into this coastal town of 24,000 people every May. Mayor John Rhodes has declared the rally officially and permanently canceled.But the bikers are coming anyway, since the city does not run the rally and most events occur beyond the city limits.

“They said, ‘No more rally,’ ” says a YouTube video created by rally supporters. “A little clarification: We’re not them,” it says, adding, “The spring rally is on!”

Thus emerges another showdown between a Southern city and a prurient tradition. Just as Atlanta banished Freaknik, the former street party for throngs of black college students, by rolling up the welcome mat in the late 1990s, Myrtle Beach has a message for the motorcyclists: Go elsewhere.

Bike rallies have existed in metropolitan Myrtle Beach for 69 years, but the tradition has rapidly grown over the past decade. What began as a weeklong gathering for motorcycle hobbyists has become a sprawling stretch of all-day parties that lasts most of May and drives away golfers and vacationing families, local politicians say.

“There’s not a community in the country that would welcome three straight weeks of these motorcyclists,” said Mark Kruea, a spokesman for the city. “And if there is, then by gosh, move the bikers there.”

Bike Week is a catch-all term — Bike Month would be more accurate — for the parties, concerts and motorcycle expositions from early May through Memorial Day weekend along a strip of the Atlantic coast that includes Myrtle Beach. There are actually two rallies, one for Harley-Davidson riders, who are mostly white, and another for black bikers.

An average of five people die each year in traffic accidents during the rallies, almost half of the city’s annual total. The rate of felonies nearly quadruples during May. And last year, a college student was shot to death during the rallies, generating outcry even though the culprits were locals, not bikers.

The chorus of complaints — from children who could not sleep, from locals who stumbled upon nudity — reached a peak at public meetings last spring and summer. In response, the City Council voted unanimously in September to outlaw loud mufflers, engine revving, straight pipes, riding without a helmet and goggles, and parking more than two motorcycles in a space.

It also enacted curfews for minors and banned alcohol sales after 2 a.m., loitering in designated parking lots and displaying chairs, coolers, alcohol or food beside a road.

The public’s response has been divided.

Letters to the editor swamped the local newspaper, mostly in support of the motorcyclists. A pro-business alliance printed T-shirts mocking the mayor and flew planes over another motorcycle rally in Daytona Beach, Fla., with signs saying, “May Is On: Myrtle Beach.”

South Carolina has an unemployment rate of 11.4 percent, the third highest in the nation. Motorcyclists wonder why the city would reject rallies that bring at least $400 million, according to organizers’ estimates.

“A town known for tourism is pushing tourists away during this economy,” said Kevin Ault, a former construction worker who was jobless for six weeks this spring before finding work at a local Budweiser plant. “It’s crazy.”

But not all businesses benefit from the rallies. Many high-end resorts, restaurants and golf courses experience drop-offs each May.

How much the ordinances, and the economy, will depress biker tourism remains unclear. Reservations of vacation homes for the first week of the rallies are down 32 percent compared with last year but are slightly up for the second week. And the oldest rally participant, the Carolina Harley-Davidson Dealers Association, has moved to New Bern, N.C., where its members say they feel more welcome.

Motorcyclists and their supporters have filed four lawsuits against Myrtle Beach, although none are likely to be resolved by this year’s Bike Week, which starts Friday.

Racial undercurrents have complicated the situation. In 2005, a federal judge ruled that Myrtle Beach had discriminated against black bikers by changing traffic patterns for their rally but not for the Harley-Davidson rally.

Many motorcyclists say the city, which is 75 percent white, continues to treat the races differently. “Myrtle Beach wants to get rid of us, the black bikers,” said Hakim Harrell, the chief executive of Cycle Shoe International, an organizer of the black rally. “They just coupled us together with the white bikers under these ordinances so they didn’t get sued for discrimination.”

But Mr. Kruea, the city spokesman, said that Myrtle Beach did not want either rally and that the ordinances applied to all bikers.

Tom Rice, a local lawyer who founded a group called Take Back May in opposition to the rallies, said the identity of Myrtle Beach was at stake. Mr. Rice said he hoped the city could return to its roots as a quiet, peaceful enclave for golfers, retirees and families.

“Myrtle Beach used to be known as a family beach,” Mr. Rice said. Then he gestured to a flier for a biker bar advertising contests for wet T-shirts, frozen T-shirts and bobbing for sex toys.

Mr. Rice shook his head. “Bike Week,” he said, “has killed that image.”

Anonymous said...

F*uck them and there city....They will want all bikers back when there taxes go through the roof....All I have to say if F*ck Myrtle beach dumb ass yuppies

Stand Man said...

Everyone wants to take a stand on this issue. I used to vacation close to Myrtle a few summers during the rally. The noise could be sporadically really loud. Not really a big deal other than the noise on road. But hey, I was out to eat then and didn't really care. I also used to live in Hollister CA which had a huge rally. They are suffering some loss of income effects from limiting the riders. I think there needs to be a balance. The dollars brought to these the towns is huge. Just my 2 cents.