Bikes, Blues & BBQ announces 2022 rally dates

The annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ motorcycle rally will return Oct. 5-8, 2022.

The event, which is typically scheduled in late September when the Arkansas football team is on the road for the Southwest Classic, will take place later in 2022.

Tommy Sisemore, Bikes and Blues executive director, said the later dates were chosen because the LPGA’s Northwest Arkansas Championship events will take place the last weekend in September when the rally normally occurs.

“We were worried about taxing infrastructure needs from festival electricians, to tents, not to mention increasing the burden on local hotels,” Sisemore said.

The new dates coincide with the Arkansas football road game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss.

Rally officials announced the dates through a social media post on Thursday, but did not include any location information.

Sisemore said the rally’s board is still working out the details on exactly where each event will take place in 2022.

UPDATE: Officials later announced the event will take place in Rogers.

Rally events in recent years have been spread across the region, with the main stage being located off Dickson Street in the West Avenue parking lot across from the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville.

Organizers earlier this year announced that the main stage would need to be relocated since the parking lot off Dickson Street is set for construction of the new cultural arts corridor project.

The 2021 rally was set for Sept. 22-25 with the main stage at Baum-Walker Stadium on the University of Arkansas campus, but was canceled after the university pulled the permits for the event.

Before the cancelation, officials with Washington Regional Medical Center wrote letters to city and university officials expressing concerns about the event due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. In a letter to the city, David Ratcliff, chief medical officer of Washington Regional, said the hospital was not equipped to ramp up its emergency department and trauma staff like it does each year in preparation for the rally.

“To hold such an event at a moment when our region’s healthcare systems are overwhelmed responding to the latest surge in hospitalizations resulting from the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is to invite disaster,” Ratcliff said.

The rally’s board also canceled the event in 2020 because of the pandemic.