Bikes, Blues & BBQ in Rogers was successful to be improved upon, metropolis officers and enterprise homeowners say

ROGERS — Downtown companies largely had been optimistic in regards to the metropolis internet hosting the Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally earlier this month.

The week was successful to be improved upon, a number of homeowners and managers mentioned.

This 12 months’s occasion was centered in Rogers — fairly than Fayetteville — for the primary time within the rally’s two-decade historical past. The rally is predicted to remain within the metropolis for at the least just a few years.

Most occasions had been downtown, within the uptown and Pinnacle Hills space and close to the motorbike sellers alongside Hudson Highway.

Mayor Greg Hines mentioned there have been no main site visitors accidents and comparatively few accidents on the whole.

“It’s a little early for statistical data, but from an anecdotal position, it seemed to go really well,” he mentioned.

Rally organizers have mentioned attendance doubtless surpassed final 12 months, which noticed bikers come to the world regardless of the rally being canceled, Hines mentioned. It hasn’t been decided how the variety of guests compares to prepandemic numbers.

The rally hadn’t formally taken place since 2019. It was canceled in 2020 and 2021 for causes associated to the covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier than the pandemic, an estimated 300,000 folks participated within the occasion annually, in response to rally organizers.

Organizers in all probability will attempt subsequent 12 months to focus on the Rogers Conference Middle and the Arkansas Music Pavilion as the first hub of the occasion, Hines mentioned. The partnership with AMP got here later within the planning course of, so it was not communicated as properly to guests, he mentioned.

Mercy Northwest noticed about the identical variety of emergency division and ICU sufferers as earlier Bikes, Blues & BBQ weekends, in response to Jacqueline Truesdale, interim chief nursing officer.

Keith Foster, public info officer with the Police Division, mentioned there have been no main incidents related to the rally and most actions ended by 11:30 every night time.

No guests had been arrested, and all citations for public intoxication had been issued to Rogers residents, in response to Foster.

“There are probably some things that other organizations will need to look at, but as far as event security, it went really well,” he mentioned.

Tommy Sisemore, the rally’s govt director, mentioned the downtown space and the Butterfield Stage labored properly for the occasion and the uptown area offered loads of mandatory area. He mentioned he thought the 2 areas on reverse sides of city flowed properly collectively with out inflicting main site visitors congestion.

BUSINESSES RESPOND

Some enterprise homeowners and restaurant staff had been not sure what to anticipate as they ready for 1000’s of motorcyclists to enter the town, in response to Logan Pendergraft, basic supervisor of Parkside Public on First Road.

Pendergraft mentioned he want to see extra communication from the town and rally organizers subsequent 12 months.

“A lot of us just came together on our own and got a good game plan for how to handle it,” he mentioned of eating places within the space.

Parking, development and extension of the leisure district hours are different primary areas for enchancment in future years, in response to Pendergraft.

Prospects instructed him they’d have appreciated a highway like First Road to be designated for bikes solely, he mentioned. The restaurant noticed extra site visitors, however not considerably extra clients.

“We usually stay pretty busy anyways, so it was not an astronomical change,” he mentioned.

Police and fireplace departments, metropolis providers and road cleaners deserve a whole lot of credit score for his or her work all through the week, he added.

The rally largely didn’t lengthen to Ozark Beer Co., which is situated throughout the railroad tracks on Arkansas Road, taproom supervisor Amy Hearting mentioned. The brewery noticed extra bikers and fewer locals, including as much as a comparatively regular gross sales weekend, Hearting mentioned.

She mentioned subsequent 12 months she want to see higher maps highlighting space companies.

“I was really pleasantly surprised how kind everyone was and how well everyone treated downtown,” Hearting mentioned. “It was a great event for downtown, and I’m glad it brought in money, but it didn’t really get down to us.”

Vicky Rasnick, proprietor of Jiffy Kwick comfort retailer on Arkansas Road, mentioned the rally doubtless will probably be higher for enterprise as soon as development on the road is completed.

“I’m sure next year it’ll be awesome,” she mentioned.

Julie Free, proprietor of vintage retailer The Rusty Chair on Walnut Road, mentioned her retailer noticed elevated foot site visitors and a typical week of gross sales. In earlier years, downtown has seen fewer folks than traditional throughout Bikes, Blues & BBQ weekend, in response to Free.

Few vendor tents downtown in all probability meant folks had been prone to go in native shops as a substitute, she mentioned.

“People didn’t know where stuff was this year,” she mentioned, noting the occasion might use extra directional indicators.

Dominic Smith, proprietor of dwelling items retailer Dandy Roll on Walnut Road, mentioned his enterprise had an excellent weekend of gross sales, but it surely “wasn’t ground-shattering.”

Smith mentioned he understood taking bought gadgets dwelling on a bike won’t have been sensible for a lot of guests, however he was glad to see folks downtown.

Fewer development tasks on roads surrounding downtown would have made the world extra accessible, although which may be troublesome for the town to keep away from, he mentioned.

COEXISTING WITH MARKET

On the downtown farmers market Saturday morning, some distributors like artisans and crafters skilled elevated gross sales, whereas farmers skilled much less, market supervisor Shelly Smith mentioned.

The market went properly general and undoubtedly noticed extra folks strolling, in response to Smith.

“Many of the market’s regular attendees still came to shop, so it reassured us that both the market and Bikes, Blues & BBQ can coexist in the same space,” she mentioned.

Teams wanting to make use of the downtown area are studying the best way to work collectively, in response to Smith, who mentioned she want to coordinate a shared occasion or exercise between the market and the rally subsequent 12 months.

CITY LOOKS AHEAD

Town of Rogers remains to be supportive of internet hosting the occasion, in response to metropolis and rally representatives.

Each Rogers and rally organizers had a fast turnaround this 12 months for the reason that announcement of the transfer in January, mentioned Peter Masonis, the town’s public relations supervisor.

“There was the understanding this one came together kind of quick and without that many problems,” Masonis mentioned. “So we’re definitely positive about next year that things are going to come together.”

Higher communication throughout all rally venues is one enchancment stakeholders have mentioned, in response to Masonis.

Parking and road closures are additionally below dialogue, he mentioned. Masonis mentioned there was loads of parking within the downtown space, however some folks might have needed to stroll just a few blocks.

Some distributors selected to go to different occasions as a substitute of Bikes, Blues & BBQ this 12 months, due to the late cancellation of the 2021 occasion, Sisemore mentioned.

The rally was canceled final 12 months after the College of Arkansas pulled the permits permitting the rally to place its primary stage on the Fayetteville campus’ east car parking zone of Baum-Walker Stadium.

Directors at Washington Regional Medical Middle had written letters to metropolis and college officers expressing concern in regards to the hospital’s means to deal with an inflow of trauma sufferers related to the rally whereas additionally coping with covid-19 sufferers.

Organizers determined to maneuver the occasion as a result of components of downtown Fayetteville had been now not obtainable as a consequence of development tasks associated to the town’s cultural arts hall, in response to Steve Clark, rally board member and president and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

The dates of subsequent 12 months’s rally and the whole funds raised for charity this 12 months will probably be introduced within the coming weeks, Sisemore mentioned. Greater than $3 million has been raised for native nonprofit teams over the competition’s 20 years, in response to the rally web site.

    Bikers exit Heritage Bikes in Rogers on Oct. 8 to journey their bikes throughout Bikes, Blues & Barbecue. (File Picture/NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 

    Rally goers browse bikes on the market on Oct. 5 on the Rogers Conference Middle throughout Bikes, Blues & Barbecue. (File Picture/NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo lazyload lazyload  Bike rider Jessie McIver of Rogers appears to be like over biker-style clothes Oct. 5 on the Rogers Conference Middle throughout opening day of Bikes, Blues & Barbecue. (File Picture/NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 
  photo lazyload lazyload  Blake Hawkins of West Fork smokes pork butts and rooster Oct. 8 on the Frisco Inferno Barbecue Competitors in downtown Rogers throughout Bikes, Blues & Barbecue. (File Picture/NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
 
 

Bikes, Blues & BBQ in Rogers was successful to be improved upon, metropolis officers and enterprise homeowners say

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