Bikers flocked to South Strand bars Friday night during the last weekend of the area's Spring Bike Rally.
At the Spokes and Bones bar in Garden City, hundreds of bikers had gathered around the multiple covered bars that dotted the property.
At one end of a large covered pavilion, a bikini-clad bartender with a green hat and purple hair took orders from the Lick Her Bar as a cover band played Southern rock from a stage at the other end.
Near the back of the property, The Paul Grimshaw Band set up across from the pond to play rock and country music as bikers including Paul Hepler relaxed under shade trees.
Hepler, decked out in a vest, steampunk hat, torch glasses and cigar, said a buddy convinced him to come to Harley Week about six years ago and he’s been coming ever since. But the 33-year-old said there was a difference in the "old timers" who build their own bikes, and everyone else.
"The first year it was motorcycles, like stuff people built and brought, I really liked it," Hepler said. "Now they got this stuff out of a box. I’m here for the real bikes, the stuff that everyday ordinary people build in their garage and ride it down, that’s what I like. This stuff that all these rich people [have], big wheels, to me that ain’t bikes, man."
Hepler said he likes the atmosphere and watching the different types of people who visit for the weekend.
"It's a break away from normal life," he said.
Later in Murrells Inlet, groups of people carrying beer bottles meandered down Highway 17 Business between biker bars Suck Bang Blow on the Horry County side and Beaver Bar on the Georgetown County side.
And while most of the Harley riders were having a good time, not everyone was happy about the party.
Will Abott, owner of Coastal Sports, said he had to shut down his shooting range because he was concerned about being held liable for people breaking the law on his property.
"There’s a general air of lawlessness in the area," said Abott. "The Highway Patrol is allowing people to cross Highway 17 with open beverages, the Horry County Police is letting people walk up and down Highway 17 with liquor and beer. We’ve seen nudity, public urination, public defecation, and all the police are doing is standing in one place and letting everything go by and break the law."
But no one was complaining inside the Suck Bang Blow complex where the crowd was packed in a parking area surrounded by decks on either side. Body odor, perfume and burning rubber filled the air along with the screams of hundreds of fans. Busty bartenders in skimpy outfits poured drinks for thirsty bikers while riders lined up to smoke their tires in the burn pit.
Alma, West Virginia resident Terry Monroe, 48, competed in a burnout contest and ruined one of his tires in the process.
"If it's got tires and wheels, I try to smoke it," Monroe said. "Why not? The crowd loves it. It's all for them, it ain't for us."
On a stage in the back, AC/DC cover band Highway to Hell turned up their amps and played the rock group’s most popular songs. They also performed a mash-up of "Back in Black" and Kid Rock’s "Cowboy." In the middle of the crowd, girls in red and black bikinis stood on top of a bar and straddled customers while pouring Fireball whiskey into their mouths.
Bobby Roscoe of Manning, South Carolina said he’s been coming to the rally since 1986. He performed a burnout earlier in the day but took it easy and didn't destroy his tires.
"I love it," he said. "The bikes, women, beer, everything. I love it."
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian