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7th Annual Thunder Beach Spring Rally

Written by  May 31, 2005

Did you feel the rumble coming from the Gulf Coast?

What thunder Mother Nature didn't provide, the thousands of motorcycle's did that invaded Panama City Beach Florida the last weekend in April, for the 7th Annual Thunder Beach Spring Rally.

What better mix is there? You've got your surf, sand, buff bodies, scenic riding, thousands of awesome motorcycles, and did I mention-alcohol?

There are probably just as many, if not more, bikes riding to the beach as there are those being given a 'lift' down. Our friends, Jim & Jeff from Bessie's Cycle Barn had a small posse leave from their place, however we were just a small group of two. Leigh and our neighbor Jerry rode, while our faithful bulldog, Harley Jane and I followed in the truck. We left early Thursday morning so we would have plenty of daylight left when we got there. It takes about 4 1/2 hours to get to the beach from Birmingham, Alabama.

We were staying at a friend's condo across the street from the Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort on Front Beach Road. The Sandpiper kicks off the party weekend Wednesday night at the Tiki Bar with beer and barbecue. And this year they brought back the Bikini Bike wash. No thongs this time though!

There were venues all up and down the beach! At the west end of the beach, at the big pier park, the Boss Hoss people were giving test rides on those monster bikes. You had to have your helmet, but most people are riding the beach without them.

The bike builder, Hank Young, from Georgia was there with some of his cool bikes. He has got to be one of the most calm, cool and collected builders we've ever met. We got a picture and told him how we would like to come check out his shop sometime, and he told us to 'Come on.' We got a card from him, and it looks like we might be making a trip to Georgia in the near future.

Also at that venue were Titan Motorcycle Company, Detroit Choppers, Bourget Bike Works and American Classic Motorcycles, which I always enjoy seeing. Their people are pretty cool and their bikes are like looking at a fine piece of art!

Back up the beach, Shuckum's Oyster Bar had a big Blowout Biker Bash and Ms. Newby's had a Tattoo Contest. Spinnaker's Beach Club had Big Mike & The Booty Papas playing on stage, while The Shoppes at Edgewater had Crossfire and The Generators playing. Boardwalk Beach Resort had a 'Rate the Rack' bikini contest with cash prizes. And that was just Thursday!

There were even venues all the way back up Highway 79 coming into Panama City, such as TJ's Tavern. They have a really large area that supports several vendors, and the tavern itself is one of the largest and nicest biker bars around.

Friday, the Shoppes at Edgewater gave you the opportunity to have pictures with The Thunder Beach Calendar Girls. The 'Mystery Tour & Big Mike & the Booty Papas' were on stage and they also had The Wall of Death.

Spinnaker Beach Club held a poker run, with music provided by Sugar Sands Blues Band & JB Walker & The Cheap Whisky Band. Boardwalk Beach Resort held the Miss Thunder Beach Contest, as well as their own Rate the Rack contest. They also had the band, Geneva cranking out some great music. Big Mike & the Booty Papas moved over to Ms. Newby's and Ruthie T's held their own Tattoo Contest.

And have I told you yet that it was COLD! You don't expect it to be so chilly on the beach at this time of year.

Saturday had a lot of the same thing's going on, except with a little obstacle—Mother Nature! It rained on and off most of the day and into the evening, so not all of the thunder came from the bikes. Some was supplied naturally!

We were at the Big Kahuna with Harley Jane (she has her own fans that want to see her) when we got the word that they had canceled the parade. It's usually a big event that takes about 45 minutes to go by, and that doesn't even count all of the bikes that are in town, because they are usually all up and down the beach, watching as well! That was the only thing the rain stopped.

Because the owners, Jim & Fay Pitts are friends of ours, I help bartend for the Spring & Fall Thunder Beach Rallies from 9 p.m. till 4 a.m. Leigh goes along to guard my body as well as watching for the naked bodies. He was our official Booty & Tit photographer for the weekend—a job he relished!

After riding all day, checking out the different venues, and stuffing your face with incredible seafood, you'll always find some place to party with good friends, and a few idiots. The Big Kahuna is a great place to do just that. It's a quaint little Tiki Bar located on Front Beach Road with a roof top balcony to party on and watch all the hot dogs, burnouts, and biker babes parading up and down the beach.

The first place winner of the bikini contest was Amy Chandler from Palmetto, Georgia. This time, I had the pleasure of working with Nicole Opperman from Panama Beach, Floriday, who won second place in the bikini contest, followed closely by Natalie Barker in third from Atlanta, Georgia. I was told that Nicole left out Sunday to talk with some people in New Orleans about a modeling job. We wish her the best of luck, and hope that if I'm lucky enough to be back there bartending at the Fall Rally, we will get to visit with her again.

There was a whole lot of flashing, mooning, dancing, beer, daiquiri's and Karaoke that gets pretty hilarious at times. This is one Hell of a good party rally and it keeps growing every year. This was the first year they had one of the big bike builders there, and I hope that it will just continue to grow and attract more people.

The whole town makes all bikers feel so very welcome, and the police even seem to enjoy having us there. For the most part, the bikers in town rarely cause problems. You have to be doing something really stupid for them to pull you over, and there's none of the harassment you hear about at some of the large rallies.

Sunday found the weather clear with lots of sunshine! Who wants to leave the beach with the sun out, just calling you! We didn't have a checkout time so we decided to head back up the beach for a while. It was the perfect time to pick up a few things from some of the venues, and from the look of things we were not the only ones who wanted to stay. There were just as many bikes doing exactly what we were doing, as there was packing up and heading out. A few were even staying one more night, and I don't blame them!

It was a beautiful ride back, except for maybe the last hour, as it had gotten dark and quite cold! If you missed this rally—I'm sorry! But if your idea of fun is being on the beach with your bike, and thousands of others, and just down right partying your ass off, then you need to check into being here for the next one!

The Fall Rally is scheduled for September 22-25, 2005, and we hope to see you there. Well for now, it's time to shake the sand out of the saddlebags and thongs and roll on!

Write on & Ride on!

Story and photos by Lynn Reynolds and
Leigh Lilly