The number of vendors seeking special event permits from Horry County for the Harley-Davidson Cruisin' the Coast spring rally this year is down from 17 last year to 11 this year. Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier says only one is new to the rally this year.
Rally promoters aren’t sure what to expect, given the biker-unfriendly ordinances in nearby Myrtle Beach and the economy’s drag on rally attendance in general.
"This is the worst year Daytona Beach has had in almost 20 years. They had rain all that week, and traditionally people who don't go to that rally because of weather will then come to Myrtle Beach; at least they did before the helmet laws and noise ordinances went into effect," Buster Brown, co-owner of the Rat Hole in Socastee, told the Myrtle Beach Sun-News. "There are people who want this to continue and who will be back this year, but there's a lot of indication that there's going to be smaller attendance again."
Mike Shank, a major force behind previous rallies, says he also is scaling back his rally efforts to focus on other events in Myrtle Beach such as the Beerfest at The Market Common. Shank has just two venues this year – Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson and Barefoot Landing – and says this will be his last year booking rally vendors and events at the Landing, a key spot in the annual rally.
"I've really had to transition my business and start over on a lot of projects. With what's happened, it's just hard to make that much money on the biker events for the amount of money you're putting into them," he told the newspaper.
Posted by Holly Wagner