Thousands of bikers were in the North Myrtle Beach area Thursday night for the annual Harley Week that takes place predominately on the north end, Murrells Inlet and Socastee.
Long-time riders hung out at at Barefoot Landing and Captain Archies as vendors sold their wares, including $14,000 biker jewelry and gun holsters made to be kept inside Harley saddle bags.
Chris Quillen, 45 and Angee Hindt, 41, have been coming from Delaware for eight years on Quillen’s 1986 Harley-Davidson Super Glide.
“It’s less than it used to be but it’s still a good time,” Quillen said. “It all started about 10 years ago, Myrtle Beach passed a bunch of laws because they didn’t want us coming down. They got what they wanted. There’s much less in Myrtle Beach itself now. It’s all Murrells Inlet, Socastee and then around North Myrtle.”
Hindt said the best part is the Rat Hole.
“There’s always something going on, something to keep you entertained, food, the bartenders are fun, it’s just a good time” Hindt said. “Motorcycle rodeos, [they] have everything from waitress rides to slow races, barrel races, they have a pudding or a jello wrestling that goes on later and a whole bunch of other fun adult times.”
But it’s not just riders that show up. Dozens of vendors were set up in Barefoot Landing marketing everything from leather to sunglasses to speakers.
Kevin Schnittker, 31, comes down to sell jewelry, and not the cheap kind. He works for Arizona-based Nightrider Jewelry.
Schnittker said the company travels to bike rallies around the U.S. selling their wares, which cost anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000. One $14,000 ring for sale at Barefoot Landing was shaped like a lion head, made of 14-karat gold and embedded with diamonds.
“We’re pretty well-known in the whole bike circuit, so anywhere we go, we have our customers who come see us,” Schnittker said.
Phillip Jones is a biker who runs Innovative Storing Solutions, and his company designs luggage and organization pieces for Harley-Davidson touring-model motorcycles.
They also make holsters.
“We have gun holster kits that are designed for saddle bags and tour packs,” said Jones, 65. “They’re designed in such a fashion that if a rider finds themselves in an area where they’re no longer allowed to have this on them for legal reasons or comfort reasons, they can simply remove it back to it’s docking plate and lock the saddle bag.”
He said there’s a huge market for people who carry guns for personal protection.
“It’s vast, and until I was in the holster business, I had no idea,” said Jones, who travels to different rallies to sell his pieces. “More so in the southern states than the northern states, but even in the northern states, we sell a lot.”
Further up at Captain Archies, Virginia resident Chris Reynolds, 59, was drinking a Corona with lime watching bikers roll into the bar’s parking lot.
“I just like looking at all the bikes,” said Reynolds, who has been coming down since the mid-1990s. “Drink a lot of beer and look at the sites.”
Reynolds said he normally goes to Murrells Inlet was planning to go to the south end bars throughout the weekend. He said he went over the bridge and ended up at Captain Archies by accident. Not that he was complaining.
“Pretty nice bar, man,” he said. “Pretty nice bar.”
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian