The state of the economy and the series of Myrtle Beach ordinances passed last Fall to discourage bikers to come to the May event had a disastrous effect on the rally attendance. Bikers who attended and dared to venture inside the city, alike local residents, were also angered by the multiple road blocks organized by police, something never done during previous events. Facing such hostility, many bikers stated that they will not come back next year. Many merchants claim that their business was down from 30% to 90% and are organizing a movement for the removal of Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes and of the Beach City Council members.
As an example Don Emery, owner of The Dog House Bars, is planning this week an open forum for business owners and employees upset over the decline in business due to the Mayor’s actions. North Myrtle Beach mayor Marilyn Hatley said while her city didn’t have as many bikers this year during this Harley-Davidson Spring 2009 motorcycle rally they still had a very good week. Hatley stated “that bikers are welcome as well as any other group, as long as they abide by our laws and this week they did abide by our laws.“ The Carolina Harley-Davidson Dealers Association who moved its motorcycle event west to the city of New Bern, North Carolina declared the new location a success with about 5,000 attendees, more than they expected.