Myrtle Beach Bike Rallies

Harley ever after: NC couple gets married in Myrtle Beach area bar during Bike Week

Ken Sheppard had been with his girlfriend about 15 years, but Friday afternoon at The Rat Hole was the first time he’s seen her in a dress.

The new sight didn’t last long as Dana Tawney ditched the white dress for her more usual jeans and black Harley-Davidson tank-top within minutes of her last name becoming Tawney-Sheppard.

The couple, originally from Pittsburgh but now living in the Charlotte area, said their vows on a stage in the bar area with a few dozen of their biker friends and family as witnesses.

Sheppard, a mechanic, said he met Dana after going to school with her younger sister, and they decided to have their wedding during Bike Week at The Rat Hole because it’s their favorite bar in the Myrtle Beach area.

He praised the bar’s owners, Ron “Ratt” Weaver and Buster “Cowboy” Brown, for allowing the couple free reign to plan the wedding.

While his now-wife sported the white dress for the special occasion, Sheppard wore a short-sleeve, white and gray Harley-Davidson button-down shirt. He said the shirt belonged to his best friend David Neill, who died recently.

“I wish he could’ve been here,” he said.

The couple was joined on stage by their dog, Clyde, a boxer-pitbull mix who served as their ring bearer, wearing a Harley jean vest and sunglasses, which he quickly shook off.

Derek Farley, the officiant for the ceremony, said he was ordained online a week earlier, though his father is a minister. He’s known the newlyweds about four years, he said.

“I can not imagine anybody more suited for one another than Dana and Ken,” Farley said during the ceremony.

The couple rode off on Sheppard’s motorcycle shortly after the wedding, but said they’d be back later Friday night because Tawney-Sheppard and her maid of honor were planning to participate in the bar’s nightly pudding wrestling contest.

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Investigative project reporter David Weissman joined The Sun News after three years working at The York Dispatch in Pennsylvania, where he earned awards for his investigative reports on topics including health, business, politics and education.