Time to ride to the beach for the 12th Annual Thunder Beach Rally, Panama City Beach, Florida. It is the first weekend in May, and it’s time to hit the road and head for the beach. Everyone is so ready for the beach by the time the spring rally rolls around, and Thursday’s beautiful weather was welcoming all of the bikes in.
We met up with Jim and Fay, (who used to own the Big Kahuna on Front Beach Road), in Troy, where they would follow us down. We also ran into Tony (lead singer for “4th & One”) and his wife. They were headed down to play for the first time at Ms. Newby’s.
This weekend was full of “firsts,” starting with this being the first time that we stayed at a place that wasn’t ours, or a friend of ours, at least not for several years anyway. We had a beautiful, big two-bedroom, two-bath condo at Cabana Cay, an Oaseas Resorts property that is only a few years old and still growing. They are located on front beach road behind the Winn-Dixie. This place was really nice! Our two-bedroom had a third small room with bunk beds, nice for people who need the extra room. We just shut the door. We had a large living room that opened out onto a large patio with a wrought iron hand rail with gate that opened out onto a beautiful landscaped walkway that went around the building and to the huge pool, part of which was heated. It also had a big “mushroom” looking fountain out in the middle and a hot tub off to the side. Our bedroom opened out onto the patio as well, which worked out great for Harley-Jane. Jim and Fay had their two dogs with them too. This was one of the reasons for booking this condo; they were the newest on the beach that allowed pets. And you really couldn’t beat the price.
After getting everything settled, we all headed for Pier Park to eat at “5 Guys Burgers.” We had never eaten there before, but Jim and Fay had and said it was really good, and it was. Big fat juicy burgers and hand-cut fries is all they do, and they do it well!
This little town within a town is so cute! And to see the street lined on both sides with motorcycles was awesome. It had a little Vegas meets New Orleans on the beach feel to it. So many shops, food and a bar or two thrown in just for good measure. This place wasn’t even started except for the road through it for several years. We were all starting to wonder if it would ever get done, but look at it now! It was also host to the wicked cool bike show that had some mind-blowing bikes in it, one of which we were told by his wife, took eight years to build. She wanted a picture of me with my “I’m not a Bitch I’m THE Bitch & that’s Ms Bitch to you!” shirt on next to her husband’s bike; she said that was what she had become after the eight-year build. Too funny!
The park also had Boss Hoss Cycles and Yamaha doing demo rides, and the Center of Urban Transportation Research promoting Motorcycle Safety. This was the first year that we remember Bay Point Marriott, Pineapple Willy’s and Sharky’s being an official Thunder Beach vendor village; they may have actually started last year. Bay Point Marriott had a whole slew of vendors inside and out, leather, jewelry, clothes, bike parts and accessories, signs, LEDs, storage units, sunglasses, gel seats and more. They were also host to this year’s Miss Thunder Beach Pageant final, the Sizzle Fashion show, Custom Bike show, sponsored by the Shaddai Shrine Temple, live entertainment, food, builders, hot babes and so much more.
Sharky’s always drew the bikes, but with the vendor village and official Thunder Beach event merchandise added to their parking lot, they were ensured of keeping the place packed with bikes all weekend.
Pineapple Willy’s had the biker village, official event merchandise, live music by “Joshua Adams Band,” and “Tongue & Groove,” and beer bucket specials all weekend. The Nick Lee World Burnout Tour Exhibition made its way over for a show Saturday. He was busy making the rounds this weekend.
Frank Brown Park, on Back Beach Road, was packed with bikes, at least on Saturday. Friday we had rain, and depending on which end of the beach you were on, you either got a half inch to 2 inches, or on our end 4.5 inches! It sucked! We still heard bikes out in it though, and Saturday some of them were sporting some new tattoos, on bike and body.
Like the dude on the yellow crotch rocket out in our parking lot, wanting a picture of his bike in the magazine, but I had to take it from the left side as the right side of him and the bike were scratched and banged up. He went down in the rain the night before. Not surprising, two wheels, alcohol and wet don’t mix too well.
But anyway, back to Frank Brown Park, where the Nick Lee World Burnout Tour did two shows a day, Thursday through Saturday. I told you they were making the rounds.
Along with the vendors, exhibitors, food and beer, Jay Barbieri was there filming all weekend for “Two Wheel Thunder” on the Discovery Channel. They also had some bike builders and manufactures and “Cody & Kyle Ives Freestyle Stunt Show & Globe of Death” did three shows a day. These guys are nuts! One of them crashed at the end of one of the shows. We figure he got up and was okay when we heard the cheer come from the crowd that had gathered around him.
The Shoppes at Edgewater didn’t seem to have as many vendors this year as in years past, but they had their own custom bike show, sponsored by the American Legion Riders, live entertainment on the main stage, with “Led Head” and “Alter Eagles,” and an outdoor beer garden, always a nice addition.
Club LaVela was hot as usual, with the Miss LaVela Bikini & Wet T-shirt contests, live music from “Papa Roach, Puddle of Mudd & 12 Stones,” (not making this shit up people!) “Molly Hatchet” Friday night, and the Southern Rock Allstars” played Saturday.
Also, for the first time ever, the Kuryakyn Wall, three rigs lined up and open for business. Pretty cool, J&P Cycles, Vance & Hines Exhaust, Metzeler Motorcycle Tires, Dyno Tuning, seats, audio, and more; impressive!
Sandpiper, still partying even with the Tiki Bar closed. Crazy Marlins, Hammerhead Fred’s, Twisted Spoke Saloon, Spinnaker Beach Club and Shuckum’s all partying hard all weekend, along with another popular spot, Ms. Newby’s, where our bike night band, “4th & One” were playing for the first time. They played Friday and Saturday, and all of those hundreds of people packed in there came to know what we have known for several years, “These Guys Rock.” They’ll be asking for them to come back, I’m sure. Don and Deb shared some of their pictures from that night (one of those nights), thanks guys.
So many wet T-shirt, bikini, and tats contests and bike washes. Like I’ve said before, no-one is really interested in getting their bikes clean when it comes to the bikini bike washes, not serious about the “de-tail” only “the tail,” so it’s all good!
In case you didn’t already know, when in Panama City Beach, you have to get some fresh raw oysters from one of two (if not both) of the best places, Montego Bay at the Shoppes at Edgewater and Shuckum’s. And if you just want to grab some fresh shrimp steamed to take back to your place for dinner, then you have to go to Buddy’s Seafood Market. They will also steam you some new potatoes and corn on the cob. So now you know some of the secrets to dinning down here.
It was a pretty cool rally, all in all. There were several new bands playing, which was great, a whole bunch of killer bikes, and of course, one of the most beautiful beaches to play on in the world! The parade Saturday was pretty impressive. We watched from the Big Kahuna, even though it was closed. Several of our friends ended up stopping and hanging with us for a while. some from B’ham, and some of our “coon-ass” friends that we haven’t seen in over a year.
Sunday going home at first seemed like it was going to be a “cluster f*#*#”, but after everyone had stopped to fill up then hit the road, it all thinned out quick! The fact that they have widened the road coming into town helped tremendously! When they get it completed, it will be even better.
Hope everyone had a safe trip home, and hope to see you all back down there in September for the Fall Rally.
Write-On and Ride-On
Story and photos by Lynn Reynolds and