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2018- Spring Thunder Beach Rally, Panama City Beach, Florida

Written by  June 1, 2018

The spring Thunder Beach Rally rolled into Panama City Beach, Florida, May 2nd thru the 6th, 2018.

The weather was awesome for the whole weekend so there were a lot of folks that headed down the first of the week to get some extra soak time in with that special beach sunshine!

 

This time around, there were quite a few cars in the mix and you add that to a LOT of construction that was happening all up and down the beach and you get a considerable amount of congestion going on.

Right off the bat we were hearing of a wreck down there on Thursday and by Friday the news was reporting a wreck involving 2 people on a bike on front beach road and a car that didn’t yield to the bike as it tried to get on front beach and ran right over them, killing the driver and sending the passenger to the hospital in critical condition. There is no helmet law in Florida and a lot of these bikers will take their helmets off at the state line. There was about a 50-50 mix of helmets wearers, we are part of the ones that DO wear a helmet, but that stems from knowing first hand just what kind of damage occurs when your head hits the pavement, even going as slow as you would be going through a parking lot! Just saying!

We had a bad experience just getting down there as we travel with our 75# bulldog, Harley Jane. Bulldogs overheat easily, and ours will tend to start to overheat just from getting excited, which she does at the prospects of a road trip. Long story short, she ended up having a heat stroke, we somehow got turned around and ended up on a little country road in the middle of no-where-Georgia! Found a country vet (at closing). She ended up having a temp of 109 and turning purple! After a few hours in a cold water soak, several shots, and oxygen we were sent on our way with a few prescriptions and a dog that was wondering, “what just happened?”. She rode home on a bag of ice in front of 2 ac vents and a cold wet rag on her head!

Back to the beach…..

Hammer Head Fred’s got the rally started with a kick off party Wednesday night and the start of the Miss Thunder Beach contest, the finals were held at Frank Brown Park on Saturday.

We started Thursday off with a trip to the Harley shop and the Indian store. You know you’re expecting quite a crowd when you have busses shuttling folks in to the Harley shop! Being on the bike made it a little easier to get in and out of there.

We ran into our bud, Kevin Cross with Southern MotorwoRX at the Indian store. If you’re in need of getting your Victory worked on, this is, hands down your guy. We found him hard at work, so I guess the smart Victory owners are also discovering that.

People were partying from the Outpost to Whiskey’s, Ms. Newby’s and Sharky’s just to name a few. Ms. Newby’s was one of our stops on Friday as we explored the different venues.

We found another bud at Lucky 13; Michael Swann, only the very best airbrush/pinstripe artist you’ll ever meet, he also does some awesome canvas work. We found him hard at work as usual.

This is also where the Full Throttle Saloon and Michael Ballard hang out. We didn’t see him this year. He was hanging around talking to people last year at their truck\tent, not sure if he was even here this year.

We stumbled upon the “Baddest Bagger” contest Saturday at Pier Park. Those were some loud bikes, both in sound and color! Pier Park itself is a cool place just to hang out, get a bite, something cold to drink and just watch the mild to wild go by in front of you. And Pier Park hosts the absolute Best Bike show on the beach as it always has some really awesome bikes in it, it’s the “Rolls Royce” of bike shows down there.

There were SO many concerts, and bike shows happening all up and down the beach and all weekend long, so there was no shortage of something to do and see, with a poker run daily and a scavenger hunt thrown into the mix.

The official Thunder Beach Venues & Vendors Villages were:

Frank Brown Park, Pier Park and Harley-Davidson of PCB

The official Partner Venues were:

Hammerhead Fred’s and Sharky’s Beach Club

The official Sponsor’s with live entertainment were:

AJ’s of Grayton Beach, The Boneyard, Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort, Shades Bar and Grill on 30A and the Wicked Wheel.

   One of the most inspirational events of every Thunder Beach Rally is the gathering of hundreds of local riders and Thunder Beach attendees for the Sgt. Kevin Kight Memorial Parade held on Saturday morning. The event has special significance to the Panama City Beach community as it serves to memorialize a fallen local hero and provides much needed assistance to deserving children and families in the community.

This parade is named in honor of Sgt. Kevin Kight, a Panama City Beach police officer who tragically lost his life in the line of duty while making a traffic stop on Front Beach Road on March 27th, 2005. This memorial parade attracts upwards of 2,000 riders out to show their thanks and respect to someone that gave the ultimate sacrifice in protecting their community, and to show off their rides, its really cool to make that slow roll down front beach road!

Well save the date: the Thunder Beach AUTUMN Rally is: October 24th thru the 28th, 2018, hope to see you there.

“Write-On”!

“Ride-On”!