Bikes, Blues & BBQ spreads parking out for 2017 rally

Staff photo

For the 18th anniversary, Bikes, Blues and BBQ is anticipating its greatest number of riders, making parking more difficult.

BBB is the second largest motorcycle rally in the U.S. and takes place in Fayetteville. Annually, thousands of motorcycles fill the streets amid college students and locals.

With that extra traffic, some residents dislike the rally. University of Arkansas senior John Wilson said parking becomes the biggest issue.

“Bikes, Blue and BBQ is a very frustrating time of the year. Some bikers will come with a ‘I run this place’ attitude and park wherever they want. Fayetteville already has no parking and these bikers take that to a whole new level,” Wilson said.

In order to help with congestion, BBB has spread parking out over many different places within a 5-mile radius of Dickson Street. Progressive Insurance, as the official sponsor, has provided free parking behind Hog Haus Brewing Co. that is covered and protected by hired security officers.

Baum Stadium is also providing free parking, transporting bikers to and from Dickson Street every 30 minutes. Fayetteville officials have suspended almost all paid parking spaces this week.

Amy Krueger and her family travel from North Dakota every year to attend BBB. Because of the different options, Krueger doesn’t see parking as an issue.

“We put 200 miles on the motorcycle each day and don’t take the same road twice. Traffic is congested but not any more than a concert or large sporting event. Parking was pretty convenient and there are special packages you can buy,” Krueger said.

One of the special parking packages available is the chrome package. In partnership with the Walton Arts Center, the chrome package provides 24/7 reserved parking off of Dickson Street, access to a VIP lounge inside of the center, free merchandise and more. BBB was offering 67 of the $250 packages. As of Tuesday, there were still a few available, according to BBB.

Although the rally is growing, BBB executive director Tommy Sisemore does not think that the event is too large for the city to handle.

“It all works out,” Sisemore said. “Fayetteville is the epicenter and whether we are on Dickson or not, bikers are still going to flock to Dickson.”

Kelsie Sneegas is a junior in the University of Arkansas School of Journalism and Strategic Media. She is passionate about photography and storytelling.