New events in new places for 2013 spring Harley rally

Thousands of bikers will start making their appearance on the Grand Strand in just a couple weeks.

For next month's spring bike rally, the Harleys will return to a place better known for fast cars than flashy motorcycles.

In the 1970's and 80's, Myrtle Beach Speedway on U.S. 501 hosted many bike rally events, but the track's owners moved away from the rally in recent years.

The speedway now has new owners, who say they want to bring back the rally vendors, contests and live music to give bikers more places to go.

"We were trying to take the congestion off of Myrtle Beach and kind of spread it out and just give the residents of Myrtle Beach some relief. That was our whole goal," said Speedway general manager Howard Richardson.

The track is joining other businesses to promote a 90-mile cruise that will take bikers through Conway, Bucksport and other towns that haven't benefited much from bike rally business before.

Richardson says local Harley rally supporters are trying to build attendance back up and counteract the impression that the rally has gone downhill.

"I was down in Daytona in February and a lot of people did not know that Myrtle Beach bike week was still going on," he said.

Other venues are also trying to spread the rally around.

The House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach will host the stars of the reality TV show Full Throttle Saloon during the Harley rally.

The show's crew will recreate their saloon on the nightclub's outdoor deck, giving bikers another reason to head north.

"It's definitely helped bring more bikers here. I know they've been down on the south end a lot. (Full Throttle Saloon) is bringing them here," said Jacki Giardina, the venue's booking and promotions manager.

Giardina says Full Throttle Saloon is the biggest biker bar in America, so bringing it to the Harley rally was "a no-brainer."