The fall motorcycle rally known as the Pilgrimage cost Myrtle Beach Police an estimated $37,125 in overtime costs this year, according to statistics released Thursday.
During the rally, many motorcyclists said they were staying out of the city limits of Myrtle Beach, where 15 new laws aimed at curbing rallies were recently passed. Organizers and city officials both said attendance appeared down this year.
The police statistics, however – which showed about the same number of collisions this year as in the previous two, or the record-high calls for service – didn't support those claims.
The statistics show that 2008's fall rally brought 1,537 calls for police service – the highest number in five years – but resulted in the lowest number of people arrested or cited, 227, in that same time.
“It could have been that officers were answering a lot more calls that did not involve arrests,” said Myrtle Beach Police spokesman Capt. David Knipes.
Knipes declined to interpret his department's numbers, noting that statistics were kept in only those few basic categories until this year. He said he was unsure how much higher the numbers, such as the officers' 1,375 hours of overtime, are compared to a regular, nonrally four-day weekend.
“You can read it anyway you want,” Knipes said. “I'm not one for counting numbers.”
Mike Shank, events promoter for Harley-Davidson of Myrtle Beach, said he was out of town Thursday afternoon and had not reviewed the numbers.
“If they're not broken down by cars and motorcycles, it's even harder” to draw a conclusion, Shank said.