Myrtle Beach Bike Week used to be a great rally until the city of Myrtle Beach enacted a bunch of petty laws to dissuade bikers from coming. Now a handful of area businesses like Suck Bang Blow and Myrtle Beach Speedway are trying to lure bikers back to the South Carolina motorcycle rally.
A number of high profile businesses in the greater Myrtle Beach Area are making investments to increase the popularity and attendance of the long-time motorcycle rallies held annually in May and October. Investments include capital improvements, vendor permits, entertainment, and marketing. The Myrtle Beach rallies, initiated in 1940, are some of the oldest rallies in the nation and at one time an estimated 300,000 would visit the Grand Strand over the 10 days of the spring rally. The attendance fell off with the 2008 recession and the passage of several ordinances. In recent years, several of those ordinances have been resolved and businesses that capitalize on the visiting biker crowd have put out the “welcome mat” to the biker crowd. This year, a number of these businesses are making a more ambitious and pro-active effort to deliver and communicate reasons for larger biker crowds to return. With more venues and rally point options spread throughout the area, it should result in a more enjoyable experience for bikers, relief in Bike Week congestion, and lesser impact on the area’s 314,000 year-round residents, which is appreciated by many members of the local government authorities.
Included in this group actively pursuing increased attendance for the spring rally are Myrtle Beach Speedway, Bucksport Marina, Suck Bang Blow, Big Tuna (Georgetown) and NextMedia. Myrtle Beach Speedway, under new ownership for the last year and having undergone substantial renovations to their facilities, are holding Myrtle Beach BikeFest featuring live music, exhibitions, vendors, and reality TV stars from Moonshiners and Sons of Anarchy. Capt’n Seaweeds at Bucksport Marina has opened a new 5,000 sq ft covered Tiki bar with bandstand to accommodate larger events and will have live music each day of the rally at their 35 acre complex on the Waccamaw River. Suck Bang Blow, the “world famous biker bar” is investing in more aggressive promotion and a heavier entertainment line-up for their rallies at SBB Original and SBB Four Corners. Big Tuna Raw Bar has recently expanded the size of its operations on the waterfront in Georgetown. NextMedia, which operates four radio stations out of Myrtle Beach and provides web development and interactive marketing services through their NextMedia 360 division, has introduced a new website, www.bikeweekmb.com, to serve the Myrtle Beach bike rallies…and is promoting a 90-mile loop ride along highways 17, 501, and 701 via the website and its classic rock station, WAVE104.1.
Says Myrtle Beach Speedway GM, Howard Richardson, “The bike rallies are an important part of our plan to deliver a full schedule of racing, thrill shows, concerts, and special events. The speedway used to be one of the most popular rally points during the spring and fall Bike Weeks but hasn’t hosted a rally for years. We’re excited for our first BikeFest rally and confident that attendees will enjoy a full line-up of entertainment, exhibitions, contests, and vendors out at the speedway. I would also like to thank the Horry County Council for their cooperation in the permit and licensing process. We’re making a concerted effort to work hand-in-hand with the local governing agencies to address the Public Safety concerns and contribute to making the Myrtle Beach Bike Weeks a positive experience for all those involved.”
Horry County District 11 Councilman Al Allen, commented, “We are seeing the commitment and investment by many of our constituents to grow their Bike Week business. The Myrtle Beach Bike Weeks are obviously a source of tourist revenue for the county and we see the benefit of bringing more bikers back to the area. We feel confident that with new and upgraded facilities at venues like the Speedway and Bucksport Marina, the Bike Week crowds will be more manageable and they will have more options to enjoy their visit to Horry County. We’re fine with growing Bike Weeks as long as the Public Safety requirements are adhered to, laws are followed, and behavior is acceptable.”
The 90-mile ride along highways 17, 501, and 701 (the “LOOP”) travels through Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach, Conway, Bucksport, and Georgetown. LOOP riders that stop at participating sponsors along the loop will receive special discounts and can register to win prizes throughout the 10 days of the spring rally. The grand prize for “Cruise the Loop” is a special custom Bike Week MB golf cart from Ace Golf Carts in North Myrtle Beach. In addition, a neon Biker Barn “man cave” sign from Neon Works in Myrtle Beach will be a featured prize. In addition, two one-day poker runs around the LOOP will be held to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We’re excited to play an active role in promoting the Myrtle Beach Bike Week(s),” says John Sheftic, Market Manager of Next Media Myrtle Beach. “With our NextMedia 360 interactive marketing division, we saw an opportunity to establish bikeweekmb.com as a dynamic website to serve as a resource to promote the rallies and to communicate what’s going on and when at local venues. Our goal is to make bikeweekmb’s website and Facebook page “the” go-to reference for many of the exciting things that are happening throughout the rallies. And our WAVE104.1, long considered the “Soundtrack to Bike Week” will play a much more active role by promoting local biker-friendly businesses on-air and with on-site live remotes. We’re using the promo tag line: ‘Bike Week Lives on WAVE104.1 and bikeweekmb.com!’”
Suck Bang Blow’s Dale Swaringen stated, “This being the last year of our rally at Suck Bang Blow Four Corners, we’re planning special appearances and exhibitions to commemorate the long time tradition of SBB Four Corners. We’re happy to work in cooperation with these other area business to promote and grow the Myrtle Beach bike rallies.”
At the southern end of Myrtle Beach Bike Weeks is the seaport city of Georgetown. The city has enjoyed its relationship with Bike Week over the years as many bikers stop by the city’s waterfront eateries and pubs…with Wicked Tuna Raw Bar on Front Street a particular favorite. Says Georgetown Mayor, Jack Scoville, “We’re pleased to see that Georgetown and Big Tuna is part of the Bike Week MB LOOP. It should increase our Bike Week traffic and showcase the many dining and entertainment options that we have here in historic Georgetown.”
For more information about Myrtle Beach Bike Week, visit www.bikeweekmb.com.