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More than 100k bikers descend on Daytona Beach
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More than 100k bikers descend on Daytona Beach

More than 100,000 bikers have descended on Daytona Beach for the annual bike week, complete with fun activities, such as coleslaw bikini wrestling and wet t-shirt contests. 

The 2023 Bike Week has already garnered larger numbers than in previous years as thousands have crowded the streets of Daytona Beach. Before the event even started on March 4, locals were noticing more motorcycles cruising their streets than normal and only more will pour in as the event runs until March 13. 

The event winds through various counties – Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, Duval, and others – and the event is estimated to see up to 400,000 visitors throughout the 10 days.  

Local hotels reported higher reservation numbers than normal, with CEO of Ormond Beach-based Elite Hospitality Inc, Manoj Bhoola, expecting his hotels’ 533 rooms to be completely sold out by the end of the event. 

‘Unlike last year, we had reservations start to come in two to three months in advance,’ he told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. ‘With people trying to get back to the new normal, enthusiasm around the outdoor events like this one is extremely high. We are seeing that the majority of our customers are from other states than Florida.’ 

More than 100k bikers descend on Daytona Beach

The 2023 Bike Week has already garnered larger numbers than in previous years as thousands have crowded the streets of Daytona Beach

Before the event even started on March 4, locals were noticing more motorcycles cruising their streets than normal and only more will pour in as the event runs until March 13.

Before the event even started on March 4, locals were noticing more motorcycles cruising their streets than normal and only more will pour in as the event runs until March 13.

The event runs through various counties - Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, Duval, and others - and the event is estimated to see up to 400,000 visitors throughout the 10 days

The event runs through various counties – Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, Duval, and others – and the event is estimated to see up to 400,000 visitors throughout the 10 days

The area’s largest hotel, the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, said its 744 rooms would be ‘100 percent sold-out each night.’ 

‘Without question, Bike Week 2022 looks to be one of the best performing events ever within our destination,’ General Manager Jim Berkley told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. 

Last year’s event was shrouded under the uncertainty of the pandemic, but as nearly all COVID-19 protocols have been dropped nationwide, this year’s bikers are ready to rock and roll. 

Janet Kersey, who works for the Chamber of Commerce and helps organize the event, said the number of out-of-state visitors is already higher and she’s noticed a lot of different license plates on the riders. 

‘It’s pretty awesome,’ she told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. ‘This past weekend, I was out and about and I saw a lot of riders, and a lot of riders with license plates from across the country, too.

‘People are leaving that cold weather and coming down to the Florida sunshine. They just want to travel, and Florida has been open for business.’ 

Volusia County lost $852million due to hurricane damage and the Chamber of Commerce is happy to see booming hotel reservations, which is estimated to bring in $1million in hotel tax this month. 

Organizers hosted coleslaw and slime wrestling where women wrestle in a field

Organizers hosted coleslaw and slime wrestling where women wrestle in a field

Bike Week organizers have hosted a wet t-shirt contest, where willing women wore Dirty Harry's t-shirts while men poured pitchers of water over their chests

Bike Week organizers have hosted a wet t-shirt contest, where willing women wore Dirty Harry’s t-shirts while men poured pitchers of water over their chests

Women compete in the wet t shirt contest during Daytona Florida's bike week

Women compete in the wet t shirt contest during Daytona Florida’s bike week 

The women stood in a sectioned-off area while a lively crowd cheered and used selfie-sticks to film the entire event

The women stood in a sectioned-off area while a lively crowd cheered and used selfie-sticks to film the entire event

‘We have worked very, very hard since the hurricanes to make sure things are right for our visitors that come in town,’ Janet Kersey, who works for the Chamber of Commerce, told Spectrum News 13. 

And right they did. The weekend full of fun events has been drawing large crowds. 

Country music star Eddie Montgomery kicked it off with a performance at the Iron Horse. His opening acts consisted of longtime local artists Reuben Morgan and Whey Jennings. 

In addition, Bike Week organizers have hosted a wet t-shirt contest, where willing women wore Dirty Harry’s t-shirts while men poured pitchers of water over their chests. 

The women stood in a sectioned-off area while a lively crowd cheered and used selfie-sticks to film the entire event. 

A couple drive around town on an orange bike while they wear matching orange shirts

A couple drive around town on an orange bike while they wear matching orange shirts 

Local hotels reported higher reservation numbers than normal, as bikers pack in to enjoy the 10-day event

Local hotels reported higher reservation numbers than normal, as bikers pack in to enjoy the 10-day event

One man shows off his maroon bike as onlookers admire it from the sidewalk

One man shows off his maroon bike as onlookers admire it from the sidewalk 

Plenty of bikes seen throughout the event are bright and colorful and eye-catching

Plenty of bikes seen throughout the event are bright and colorful and eye-catching 

A group walk though a line of bikes at Teddy Morse Destination on Thursday

A group walk though a line of bikes at Teddy Morse Destination on Thursday 

A group of bikers wear Brothers Forgiven vests at the event

A group of bikers wear Brothers Forgiven vests at the event 

A group of men film what appears to be men riding bikes inside a large metal cage

A group of men film what appears to be men riding bikes inside a large metal cage 

Organizers also hosted coleslaw and slime wrestling where women wrestle in a field.  

Despite the raging fun attendees are having, nearly 70 were sent to the hospital in the first five days. Twenty of those were critically injured and sent to Halifax Health Medical Center, the only trauma center in the area, and required surgery, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. 

Injuries are up five from the previous year and about double from 2021. 

Two have died in Flagler and Volusia county, but so far deaths are lower than the eight last year, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.