Every year, near the end of September, thousands of bikers roll toward Fayetteville, Arkansas looking forward to a weekend of exceptional riding, great music, and some of the best barbecue this side of the Pecos. Fayetteville is the 18-year home to Bikes, Blues & BBQ and is nestled among the spectacular Ozark Mountains. Surrounded by sweeping highways that crisscross throughout the region, it makes for a perfect rally spot for the twisty road fanatic in all of us.
This four-day event generally fires up at a relatively unhurried pace. The Dickson St. Beer Garden (epicenter to the rally) doesn’t even open until 5pm during the earlier days of the rally. That is undoubtedly part of a greater plan to free up the daylight hours for riding the magnificent scenic highways that appear to be designed specifically for two-wheeled enjoyment. Cruising this part of the country is a major draw for many a throttle jockey, not just those who come here for a rally but for the scores who visit here throughout the spring, summer, and fall. There are plenty of friendly bars, restaurants and touristy-style communities in the area that cater specifically to our beloved biker community.
On Wednesday of the rally, we like to head out to HWY 23, aka “The Pig Trail,” which winds its way through the Ozark National Forest and is ranked among the top 10 destination rides in the country. It is here that you will find 104 miles of exhilarating curves, back country farm roads, and scenery straight out of a travel guide. After a whole day in the saddle, we turn our sights toward Dickson Street to take in the early action downtown. After a cold brew, we catch some live music offering a perfect blend of blue grass and country.
Speaking of tunes, there is nothin’ better than cruisin’ the picture-perfect Osarks while crankin’ the tunes on your Steel Horse Audio motorcycle speaker system. My buddy Carl rides a Dyna and his scooter was music challenged until he hooked up an ST400 speaker system from Steel Horse Audio. Carl hid his amp in a leather tool bag mounted between his handlebars, kinda stealth-like. Steel Horse Audio made sure we had the best sound around during our trip to Bikes, Blues and BBQ. The BBQ was pretty frickin’ great, too!
Friday and Saturday are the happening days for rally events at BB&B. Baum Motorcycle Village is the place for vendors selling everything connected to the motorcycle world. Harley-Davidson, Suzuki and V8 Choppers are all on hand, offering free demo rides to anyone looking to upgrade or just check out the new models. At the fairgrounds, folks gather for the People’s Choice award at the Arkansas State BBQ Championship. While at the Fairgrounds, it would’ve been a major party foul not to hang around a little longer for the Miss BBB qualifier and offer some enthusiastic support to the young lassies looking for a spot in Saturday’s finals.
If you dig bike shows, you can take the ten mile ride to Rogers on Saturday for the Old School Show. Here you’ll find motorcycles of every sort, including vintage. Antique, metric, and mini bikes mingle with vintage Harleys, Indians, and a few customs. For those with a taste for 4-wheeled customs, Arvest Park in Springdale plays host to the annual BBB Classic Car show.
At last year’s running of BBB, we rolled into Fayetteville expecting a weekend of great riding, great music, and great food. We left Fayetteville with fond memories of fantastic rides through mountain scenery, our ears still buzzing with sounds of country, blues, jazz, and even a little old fashion rock ‘n’ roll, and our belts backed off a notch or two. Bikes, Blues & BBQ does not disappoint. For more information visit www.bikesbluesandbbq.org.