Bikes Blues and BBQ

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Bikes Blues & BBQ (alternatively named Bikes Blues and Barbecue, or abbreviated BBB) is an annual motorcycle rally that has taken place in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2000, usually during the last weekend in September. The center of the rally is Dickson Street, the downtown bar street just a few blocks from the University of Arkansas campus and location of the Walton Arts Center.

Bikes Blues & BBQ is an "open" rally and so its exact size is not known. Its organizers call BBB " the fastest growing and largest motorcycle rally in the country benefiting local charities"[1] having grown from an estimated 200,000 participants in 2004, 300,000 in 2005, between 300,000 and 400,000 participants from all fifty states and several other countries in 2006 and 2007,[2] and then 400,000 in each of 2008, 2009, and 2010 [3] declining in subsequent years; the current executive director, Tommy Sisemore issued a press release stating "I wouldn't have taken the job if I didn't think the rally was sustainable.".[4]

The event is billed as the "Largest US Charity Rally",[5] supporting a few local charities. In 2006 and 2007, the event raised $100,000 (an estimated $0.25-$0.30 per attendee); in 2008 charitable contributions were suspended despite record attendance.[6] In 2009 contributions totalled $48,500, or approximately $0.15 per attendee. In the 2010 press release announcing the organization had raised a total of $80,000 from 400,000 attendees, its director Nelson Driver was quoted as saying “This is what it’s all about." [7] In 2016, Bikes Blues & BBQ contributed the most money to date, $230,000 generated from an estimated 350,000 participants, or about 65 cents per attendee.[4]

Over the years, the rally has had mixed support from the community with complaints of noise and congestion. Paradoxically many local business owners report steep declines in revenue during the event.[8][9] In 2016, the Fayetteville City Council considered an ordinance that would force discussion of the impact of large festivals such as Bikes Blues and BBQ on local businesses. However, despite BBBBQ's negative impact on most small business owners, no public reason has been given for this ordinance being tabled indefinitely.[10]

The City of Fayetteville has not tracked sales-tax revenue but estimates the rally brings in approximately $80,000; some have questioned why this amounts to just $10 in taxed sales per attendee.[9]

Overall the festival has a good safety record; in 2011, the Northwest Arkansas Times reported there were no fatalities.[11]

A sister festival, Bikes Babes and Bling, was first held July 1–3, 2010, also in Fayetteville. The City of Fayetteville provided subsidies to both the 2010 and 2011 Bikes Babes and Bling festivals.[12] In 2010 the sister festival drew approximately 5000 participants; the Northwest Arkansas Times reported that "only a few dozen people" were at the site midday on the main day of the 2011 festival.[13]

In addition to the rally, there are many bands, a parade, a bike show, a bike giveaway, barbecues, the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ Babes contest, and many other official and unofficial events. Its organizers have claimed the rally is second only to Sturgis.[14][15][16]


  1. ^ "Bikes Blues & BBQ contact page". Bikes Blues & BBQ Official Site. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  2. ^ "Bikes, Blues & BBQ 2006 Review". Bikes Blues & BBQ Official Site cache. Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-02-28.  "General Bikes Blues and BBQ Info". Lightning Customs. Archived from the original on 3 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived February 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b "Bikes, Blues & BBQ doles out most money to charities in 17-year history". Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  5. ^ "Bikes Blues & BBQ "Largest US Charity Rally"". Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  6. ^ "Bikes, Blues & BBQ resumes charity donations". Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  7. ^ "BBB Announces Charitable Giving for 2010". Bikes Blues & BBQ Official Site. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  8. ^ "Underwood Questions Legality of Bikes, Blues & BBQ Activities". NWA Archived from the original on 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  9. ^ a b "Bikes, Blues and Bother: Residents sound off on Fayetteville's motorcycle fests". Ozarks Unbound. Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-24. Retrieved 2016-09-22. \
  11. ^ Kate Ward (2011-10-05). "No Fatalities During Cycle Rally". Northwest Arkansas Times. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  12. ^ "A&P funding request deadline is this Thursday, April 1". Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  13. ^ Chris Freiberg (2011-06-12). "Low Turnout For Bikes, Babes & Bling". NWAOnline. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  14. ^ Nicholson, Ed (2005-09-24). "Big'uns: Bikes Blues BBQ and Big'uns". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  15. ^ [2][dead link]
  16. ^ [3][dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°03′59″N 94°09′56″W / 36.06646°N 94.16542°W / 36.06646; -94.16542