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Community Unites Through Difficulty at Bentonville Bike Fest '24

Published June 5, 2024

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Bentonville AR - Bentonville Bike Fest presented by Mobil1 concluded on Sunday, May 26, in a most unusual and unfortunate way. A severe weather system delivered a mighty blow to Northwest Arkansas and surrounding areas, spawning at least three confirmed EF3 tornadoes, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Loss of life, property, and injuries were abundant. The Team at Bentonville Bike Fest express their deepest sympathies for those who experienced losses from this weekend.

Sunday was looking to be the icing on the cake of the best Bike Fest yet, which brought a record number of vendors, competitors, and visitors to the Old Applegate venue. And though Mother Nature had different plans for the finale, it wasn't as grim as one would imagine. A remarkable display of community and empathy blossomed at the Bike Fest venue with everyone present working together to bring order to unimaginable disorder. The twisted wreckage of a once vibrant Bike Fest expo was righted by an unscripted "all hands on deck," cycling industry recovery effort.

Bentonville Bike Fest opened on Thursday evening, with the opening ceremonies atop one of Bentonville's newest architectural marvels, Ledger. Top cycling pros representing a dozen disciplines joined the mixer, along with industry luminaries, journalists, folks from the National Bicycle Dealer Association, and the top brass from the Arkansas National Guard. Inspirational remarks from Major General Jonathan M Stubbs, who's encouragement of fellowship and service were fitting on this Memorial Day Weekend.

Bike Fest activities got underway in earnest Friday and Saturday with the commencement of competitions, ride clinics, and shows featuring some of the world's most accomplished athletes. Developing riders learned new skills at riding clinics. An expanded expo, chock full of the latest bike tech and rider comforts from the biggest brands, kept the crowd buzzing. Live music from The Juice, The School of Rock, and a combination Trials and flatland BMX show featuring World Champ Kenny Belaey and X-Games champ Terry Adams were met with a chorus of oohs and aahs at the main stage. The XCE (Cross Country Eliminator) presented by Burt's Bees, and the Dirt Jump Show presented by Jones Soda, on Bike Fest's thrilling dirt line finished the day in style. Gravelicious p/b Bell Blackburn gravel racing, UCI C1 Trials present be Haleon, and the Kids Enduro p/b Lunchables rounded out the competition, with a harvest of great results to celebrate the weekend.

Northwest Arkansas and Bike Fest endured a difficult weekend. It is, however, certain that both the Bentonville community and the cycling family strengthened their bonds and wove tighter the fabric of this beautiful corner of the world.

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