SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TEXAS, APRIL 13-15—Unexpectedly restless, I awoke in the predawn hours before sunrise. Pulling on a pair of shorts, I made my way along the dim hallway to the condominium balcony. Looking from the balcony past the thick tropical grass, I watched the waters of the Gulf of Mexico send gentle waves, one after another, caressing the soft, sandy beach. The faint orange glow of the fireball rising above the horizon parted the thin, low-lying cloud cover and beckoned to me to come closer. My bare toes transitioned from the soft grassy landscape to the warm grains of sand and cool salt water lapping over my toes. I was in paradise once again. I was back in South Padre Island, Texas, for the 9th annual Beach-N-Biker Fest.
A traditional breakfast of eggs, meat and potatoes at Ted’s jarred me back to reality. The clinking of dishes and utensils, the continual scurrying of wait staff delivering food and busing tables, and the happy chatter of locals and tourists all hastened my mental transition back to the impending excitement of the coming weekend.
The 9th annual Beach-N-Biker Fest, held in the beautiful tropical locale of South Padre Island, one of the most fantastic beach vacation destinations in the world, is the culmination of months of planning and activities by a core group of about 50 members of the nonprofit organization Magic Valley Riders MC Inc. (www.magicvalleyriders.org). This annual tropical Texas spring break for bikers is served up with a major portion of down-home hospitality. Beach-N-Biker Fest is an exciting and entertaining motorcycle rally that begins early Friday morning and finally winds down late Sunday afternoon, and only costs $25 for the entire weekend—even less if you pre-register online.
South Padre Island is always an enjoyable tropical getaway, especially since I’m based in Kansas City, Missouri, which doesn’t have much of a coastline. The island hosts a variety of events year round, typically on weekends. So local businesses are geared to handle a shifting tide of tourists. Island Services (www.island-services.com) is one such business and one of the sponsors of Beach-N-Biker Fest. Working out accommodations with them for our brief visit to this premiere Texas island resort proved to be painless and netted us the nice, previously mentioned condo.
Arriving at the South Padre Island Convention Center shortly after the official 9:00 a.m. opening, the place was your veritable beehive of activity.
After checking in and receiving a copy of their 68-page full-color rally magazine, I began to flip through the scheduled activities wondering where to begin and was soon greeted by Eliel Hinojosa, Magic Valley Riders rally coordinator. Eliel guided me through the Convention Center to the vendor area.
Vendors with their variety of wares were inside the air conditioned center and outside surrounding the building for your maximum shopping pleasure. A unique assortment of rally fare was available to keep stomachs satisfied as well. To little surprise, the Budweiser tables (a major event sponsor) always seemed to be drawing a happy crowd.
During our trip through the vendor area, Eliel reintroduced me to Kenny Cantu. (I had met Kenny a few years ago when he was general manager of a Harley-Davidson dealership.) Kenny is now the general manager of the new F&T Valley Motor Sports in nearby Pharr and a major sponsor of the event. Since they knew I was without a motorcycle during my stay on the island, Kenny and Eliel worked in conjunction to provide me with an exquisite 2012 Can-Am Spyder Roadster RT. It turned out to be a great way to see the Island in style.
This year’s competitive events began with a 120-mile poker run that made stops at the Gas Station Bar and Mad Boar Harley-Davidson in San Benito, Renegade Classics in Harlingen and R & R Tavern in La Feria with the final card being drawn back at the SPI Convention Center. Martha Gomez came out with the win in that competition. In the weekend’s tattoo competition, Jose Jaime Gonzales won the Best Black and White category, Lori Gonzalez won Best Color, and Rene Lee Tamez won Best Overall. Bike show winner Alfredo Garcia of Weslaco, Texas, got to show off his Best of Show ’09 Rio Valley Kustoms Spartan 300 to the crowd before the Saturday night festivities began.
Irene and Paul Salinas, Magic Valley Riders founding members, coordinated the field events again this year. Included in the events were Stand the Can, won by David and Darlene Palacios; Slow Race, won by Terry Voreis; Ball Catch, won by Oscar Jr. and Jobina Ramos; Pool Cue, won by Paul and Mandy Quintana; and, of course, the infamous Weenie Bite, won by Oscar Jr. and Jobina Ramos. Omar Olivarez smoked the competition to win the burnout. Between field events, the Blox Starz (www.bloxstarzlifestyle.com) motorcycle stunt team from Kansas City, Missouri, performed for the crowd. This year’s team consisted of Austin Stark, Dustin Galeassi, Trevor Robinson, Lisa Flammond and Brennan Foreman.
One of the weekend’s highlights included the close to 150 bikes roaring across the two-and-a-half-mile Queen Isabella Causeway from Port
Isabel onto South Padre Island to participate in the 9th annual Beach-N-Biker Fest Biker Parade on Saturday evening. The parade was led by SPI police officers Manuel Ochoa and Johnny Herrera. Randy Smith, SPI police chief, was riding his own bike in the parade and Joni Clarke, SPI city manager, was riding passenger with Troy Allen, co-coordinator of the Beach-N-Biker Fest. The crowd lining Padre Boulevard watching the parade from the causeway to the convention center seemed to have quite a few more residents, tourists and bikers waving and cheering than in previous years.
No Beach-N-Biker Fest would be complete without the glamour of the Glitz Dolls offering a bikini bike wash. All of the Glitz Dolls were quality babes, but there was one very special Glitz Doll this year. Sheena Lee of Playboy cyber girl fame was available for photo-ops and autographs.
On Saturday night the versatile “Rock ’n’ Roll James,” lead singer of Whiskey D. and DJ for Q94.5 The Rock, shared emcee duties for the Beach-N-Biker Fest Biker Babe Contest with the beautiful Sheena Lee. Biker Babe Contest finalists were Susie Barrera, Jennifer Amaya, Elvi Rodriguez and Ana Dicus, with Susie and Ana tying for first.
Musical entertainment was available nearly 15 hours a day at up to three different venues around the complex. You had your choice of classic rock, country rock, ’80s rock, Spanish rock, outlaw rock and Christian rock to rock your weekend world. Friday night’s Tejano Norteño music (Tex-Mex with an accordion) provided by Solido and Los Palominos was quite enjoyable. Saturday’s musical offerings leaned more towards the tribute band side of things, with the likes of Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater and Lynyrd Skynyrd represented. Sunday’s music was highlighted by With All Our Might, a Christian Rock band made up of Jacob Rumfield on drums, Eliel Hinojosa Jr. as lead singer and guitar, and Larry Lozano, also on guitar.
The weekend weather in South Padre was ideal, ranging from the mid-70s in the evening to the mid-80s during the sunny days, with no threat of rain anywhere in the forecast. It was incredibly peaceful watching the surf continue to roll in and listening to the wind rustle the moonlit palms. Of course there’s always going to be wind, since you’re on an island in the Gulf.
Beach-N-Biker Fest is more like an incredibly large family reunion rather than just another motorcycle rally thanks to Magic Valley Riders
volunteers David, Eliel, Dorothy, Nikki, Troy, David, Paul, Irene, Dianna, Mike, Patty, Connie, Leti, Mary and all of the others. It’s quite incredible that this organization, with a strong core of dedicated volunteers, can pull together such an enjoyably entertaining and hospitable event that continues to grow year after year and contribute such a viable return to their community.
The proceeds from the event will be donated to numerous charities that are supported annually by the Magic Valley Riders MC Inc. Included in the long list of charities are Teach the Children, STARS (South Texas Academic Rising Scholars), the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Rio Grande Valley, the Family Crisis Centers of the Valley and the Rio Grande State Center, among others.
This year’s event was sponsored by donations from L&F Distributors/Budweiser, the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, Cardenas Motors, F&T Valley Motor Sports, Island Services, Mad Boar Harley-Davidson, Desperado Harley-Davidson and numerous other Rio Grande Valley businesses.
“The 2012 9th annual Beach-N-Biker Fest was another successful fundraising event put together by the Magic Valley Riders Motorcycle Club Inc. and was enjoyed by more than 5,500 attendees who registered and took part in all of the great and wonderful biker activities over the three-day weekend,” David “Dawg” Delnay, Magic Valley Riders president, expressed.
“At the end of it all, attendees had a great time, and children and families across the Rio Grande Valley will receive some much-needed funding from the Magic Valley Riders Motorcycle Club’s generous contributions to their organizations, along with other donations and activities the club participates in over the year between Beach-N-Biker Fest events. So a big ‘Thank you and God bless’ to all of you who came out to enjoy our show,” David concluded.
Check out www.beachnbikerfest.com for all of the upcoming details for the 10th annual Beach-N-Biker Fest in April 2013. They say they are already planning on making the event even bigger and more special next year. 4