May 9, 2013

Rally will mark end of SBB Four Corners in Myrtle Beach

Suck Bang Blow Four Corners' swan song at this month's Harley-Davidson biker rally will be accompanied by a chorus of motorcycle burnouts.

The well-known biker bar's older sibling, SBB Original, also will have burnouts at this year's rally, meaning at least two Horry County bars will give bikers the chance to do what some love best: put their bikes' front wheels against a strong wall, rev up their engines and listen to the unique sound of burning rubber while enveloped in a cloud of smoke.

Horry County tried to enact a burnout ban for last year's rally, but SBB got an injunction to keep the county from enforcing the new law. This year, SBB management said they didn't have the money to fight the ban again. While this will be the first rally without burnouts outdoors, burnouts still are allowed indoors.

While the rally will mark the end of SBB Four Corners, which will be torn down to make room for other development on the site, it will be the first big dance for The Wrecking Ball Tavern near Conway.

The new biker-friendly spot on S.C. 544 marks the rebirth of an old biker bar under new ownership. And while The Wrecking Ball is planning special events for the rally and hopes to attract a good crowd with them, none of the events will include a burnout pit. "There's too much residue after they're gone,'' said owner Tia Petrone, who speaks from witnessing burnouts while an employee of HB Spokes, a biker bar on S.C. 9 that closed last year. "The smell lasts for days.''

As perhaps a counter to the grit of burnouts, The Wrecking Ball will be offering $5 bikini bike washes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily during the rally.

SBB's managers looked at the law this year and realized they could do legal burnouts just by putting the burnout pits indoors.

"It's our trademark,'' Todd Price, managing member for the LLC that owns Suck Bang Blow, said of burnouts.

He said SBB has worked with the county to make sure the indoor burnouts are legal and has spent $5,000 enclosing the pits with Lexan, a polycarbonate resin thermoplastic and equipping them with exhaust fans to clear the area of exhaust fumes and smoke from burning tires. But it's not just burnouts that will be regulated at this year's rally.

The county's rules apply to five outdoor activities and some general issues. The specific activities that are regulated are amplified sound, beer and wine sales, stunt shows and Dyno machines, burnouts and tents. The regulations set the hours the activities may take place, prohibit profane language and speak to the way employees and visitors must be dressed, among other things.

Any business found breaking one of the regulations could have its permit revoked and be forced to close for the rally.

Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman, said any reported violations will be checked out by police who will be stationed around the county or officers who may be called to the scene. Regular drag races at Myrtle Beach Speedway aren't regulated by the new law, county officials say, because the bike rules are written as part of the special event permits used for occasions such as the bike rallies.

But the speedway is diving back into the rally festivities this year after new ownership and renovations. Live music, exhibitions and vendors are all scheduled for the oval off U.S. 501 near the Tanger Outlet stores.

"The speedway used to be one of the most popular rally points during the spring and fall bike weeks but hasn't hosted a rally for years,'' general manager Howard Richardson has said. Price had nothing but praise for the speedway's attempt to re-emerge as a major bike rally venue this spring.

"It's nice to see somebody doing something positive instead of just pecking at us,'' he said of the effort.

Both SBBs will have burnout contests with cash prizes, but a bunch of other things as well to attract rally participants. Both Four Corners and Original will have vendors, the majority indoors at both locations.

Petrone said that just because she won't have burnouts doesn't mean she doesn't welcome bikers.

In fact, she said that out-of-town bikers are about the only tourists she really wants at The Wrecking Ball. Bikers, she said, are like one big family no matter where they're from so out-of-town bikers don't infringe on the locals flavor she wants at her night spot. "When you bring strangers in,'' she said, "you don't know them, everybody gets on edge, you know what I mean?''

Like SBB, The Wrecking Ball will have special bands and other events to bring in bikers, Petrone said. The bar's big attractions are its seven pool tables and pool league play four times a week that's approved by the American Poolplayers Association.

Both locations of SBB are planning lots of live music and other events as well. Price said he's hoping to book a regional band with a high following for the final concert at Four Corners, where the bike week celebration has been billed "Suck Bang Blowout.'' But he didn't want to name the band, just in case he doesn't get a signed contract.

"We just plan to go out with a big, good old time,'' he said.

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