Bikes, Blues & BBQ expands into Springdale

Photo by Todd Gill/ Enlarge
Bikers ride up Dickson Street during the 2010 Bikes, Blues & BBQ motorcycle rally.

One of the five largest motorcycle rallies in the country is getting even bigger.

Bikes, Blues & BBQ officials last week announced that the annual rally is expanding into Springdale in 2011 with a two-day AMXA Arenacross exhibition and competition. The Bikes, Blues and BBQ Arenacross/Big Air Extravaganza will take place at Parsons Arena Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, the last two days of this year’s rally.

In years past, Dickson Street in Fayetteville served as the center of activity with additional events at Baum Stadium, Tyson Track Center and the Washington County Fairgrounds. Adding a companion event in Springdale has been in the works for some time, said Joe Giles, new executive director of Bikes, Blues & BBQ.

“We think it’s a wonderful and natural expansion to what BBB currently has to offer,” said Giles, adding that he expects the competition to draw a younger crowd, widening the demographic of the average rally attendee.

“Cowboy” Kenny Bartram
Photo: Chris Marks

“Cowboy” Kenny Bartram, a professional freestyle motocrosser and rally car driver, will perform both days. The Stillwater, Okla., native is one of the winningest motorcross and freestyle motocross riders in the country. He’s been interviewed on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and 60 Minutes and was once the guest star of CMT’s Greatest Outlaws.

The Arenacross event will also feature professional motocross riders vying for $10,000 in prize money, as well as amateurs in varying age ranges and skill levels, beginning at age 4.

This new portion of the rally is organized under the supervision of Michael Donelson of Van Buren, whose family has owned the Ascot Park MX facility in Fort Smith since 1996. He said he expects the event to draw some 300 riders and 10,000 spectators over the two days of riding.

According to a news release, the fall festival draws an estimated 400,000 people during rally week with an economic impact of $35 million to $50 million in Northwest Arkansas.

“We are thrilled to be working with the leadership of BBB to expand this great event into Springdale,” said Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse. “My staff and the Chamber of Commerce are working hand-in-hand with the event organizers to do all we can to make this year’s Arenacross an overwhelming success. This expansion will help BBB as well as help our economy. We expect great things from this partnership in the years to come.”

The 2011 Bikes, Blues & BBQ motorcycle rally begins Wednesday Sept. 28 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 1.