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January 13, 2013

Harley bike week sticking to dates in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson will stick with roughly the same spring rally dates in 2013 as other rally event organizers instead of trying to overlap it with Memorial Day.

Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson will stick with roughly the same spring rally dates in 2013 as other rally event organizers instead of trying to overlap it with Memorial Day.

The dealership’s effort last year to create one two-week-long bike rally instead of having the Harley rally followed by Atlantic Beach Bikefest during Memorial Day created initial confusion and then criticism. The dealership -- always a hub during the spring Harley rally -- will go back to the usual dates in 2013, recently posting May 13 through May 19 on its website. MyrtleBeachBikeWeek.com is promoting May 10-19.

“We are going to go by the rules they laid out for us,” said Cindy Fine, the dealership’s general manager. “It’s time to move forward and put everything that happened behind us.”

The goal last year was to create one bike rally instead of having two back-to-back rallies that consumed most of May, Fine said. The idea was to join forces to manage it better and create new, special events such as a music festival. Phil Schoonover, who owns the Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson dealership, had sent letters to local elected leaders asking for support, but never received a response, Harley officials said.

“Phil was just trying to come up with a good compromise,” Fine said. “Let’s have one bike week, everybody come together.”

That just didn’t work. The dealership doesn’t want to try it again, she said.

The effort didn’t seem to effect attendance at last year’s Harley rally, Fine said. Sales and traffic numbers show that the spring rally -- which took a hit after Myrtle Beach established a helmet law in 2009 that was eventually overturned and other rules -- is bouncing back, she said.

The dealership is still putting the plan together for this year’s spring rally, but bikers can expect the usual trademarks of vendors, tent sale and demos.

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