It’s springtime in Panama City Beach and the smell of fresh exhaust is in the air. It must be time for the annual spring Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally. Tens of thousands of motorcycles have descended upon Panama City and Panama City Beach, lining just about every road in this place.
Although I have photographed Thunder Beach more than ten times now, there are still new pictures to be made. Sometimes, after days and days of photographing it, I do get a little burnt out. It’s only been three days as of now, so I’m still feeling pretty good about it.
The Thunder Beach photographic marathon started out on a sad note this year. A police chief from Arkansas died after he was thrown from his motorcycle in a hit-and-run the weekend before the rally began. Local law enforcement held a ride from the Panama City Mall to Bay Medical Center to support the chief and his family. If you’re the praying type, lift one up for his family.
On day two of the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally I cruised the roads looking for a photograph that said “motorcycle” and “beach.” With all of the condos and hotels lining Front Beach Road, it can be a bit tricky to tell that story. I figured palm trees kinda say beach, so I went with it. The fence in the background bugs me a little, but what are you gonna do? It’s there. I photographed an old motel being torn down there a couple of years ago and I’m pretty sure I remember hearing rumors of a park and a public area being placed where I took that photo. What ever happened with that?
Day three of the motorcycle rally in Panama City Beach brought me to the “Wall of Death.” In all my years of Thunder Beach coverage, I have never photographed this. It was free to watch and was actually pretty darn cool. I think I’ll bring my little one to see it next year.
There was a lady at the “Wall of Death” with a monkey, but she did not bring it to watch the show. I REALLY wanted a photograph of a monkey watching the motorcycle stunt show.
That just goes to show that you just never know what you’re gonna see when out taking pictures in Panama City Beach.