Next weekend (November 10-12) the Ozark-Off Road Cyclists will celebrate the history of mountain biking in Arkansas and over 20 years of trail advocacy. It will be a weekend full of new memories being made while celebrating some old memories. I checked in with the Executive Director of the OORC Brannon Pack to find out more about this rowdy weekend of recognition.
OCA: Can you give us the run down on what next weekend looks like?
BP: The OORC is stoked to create a platform that highlights the history of Arkansas mountain biking and organized volunteer trail advocacy. That’s really what the weekend is about. Recognition. Recognizing the efforts of the men and women that for decades have helped shape Arkansas, and more specifically the Arkansas Ozarks, into a recreational destination.
The festivities kick-off Friday evening November 10th at Georges Majestic Lounge on Dickson St. in Fayetteville, Arkansas for “Trail Rocks”. This rowdy fundraiser includes a packed lineup of some of the most popular regional jam bands including Jeff Fox, Earl and Them, and features Isayah’s Allstars! Doors open at 6pm and it’s only a $5 cover. We’ll be doing some recognition of some of the individuals and businesses that have been instrumental in expanding the mountain bike trails in the Region, as well as creating a social opportunity for friends old and new to come together. Plus, Dig Clothing Co. will be on hand with some of their latest wears… inspired by trail builders!
From there, we’ll pick things up Saturday morning November 11th at the iconic Mt. Kessler in Fayetteville. The OORC will be hosting group rides of varying skill level and speed starting at 10:30am. This summer, the OORC partnered with Progressive Trail Design and the City of Fayetteville to expand the trail offerings at Mt. Kessler. As an organization, our members and volunteer trail advocates donated over 850 hours of trail building on the mountain this season. We are wrapping up the project and this will be the first opportunity for many to experience what we feel is one of the most unique trail systems in the Oz Trails. Plus, Orbea Bicycles will be out with their 2018 demo fleet of rowdy new mountain bikes for people to throw a leg over and take for a spin. The rides are free… so bring your riding buddies!
Then, in what we feel is the highlight of the weekend, we are presenting the “Playing in the Dirt” Gala on Saturday evening November 11th at the beautiful Pratt Place Barn in Fayetteville, Arkansas. When you think “gala” I don’t think “mountain biking” is the first thing that comes to mind, but this speaks to the growth of trail advocacy in the region, as organizations like the OORC have matured into sustainable nonprofits.
Doors open at 6pm, and the evening will feature the story telling of the history of Arkansas mountain biking, and the recognition of two-decades of advocacy by the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists. Guest speakers include Grady Spann, the Director of Arkansas State Parks, and a keynote by Dave Weins, the Executive Director of the International Mountain Bike Association. This intimate evening includes dinner and drinks and features musical guest “National Park Radio”. Oh… and there is some exciting stuff in the works that will be announced for the first time at the Gala.
But wait… to cap off a weekend of mountain bike shenanigans, we will be hosting another group ride Sunday morning at the “birthplace of Arkansas mountain biking”… Devils Den State Park! We’ll hit the trail at 10:30am on Sunday November 12th for guided group rides! We can’t think of a better way to end the weekend… than where it all started 30 years ago.
OCA: Why is this a important weekend for the OORC and really all trail building in NWA?
BP: As an organization, after two-decades, this is a great time for us and the community to reflect, remember, and recognize how we have gotten to where we are. Arkansas is quickly becoming a national destination for mountain biking, and the efforts of the volunteer community have played a large role. Not long ago, this organization was at a crossroad. We foresaw the growth of trails in the region, and if we were to continue to meet our mission (to advocate for, build, maintain, and preserve sustainable multi-use soft-surface trails), we too needed to grow. This weekend will highlight our growth: from a membership base of over 500, paid staff, and the expansion of our branches that now represent a quarter of the State of Arkansas, the OORC has positioned itself as a leader in trail advocacy. But, as the trail systems expand, that need to foster advocacy will continue. The OORC is the organization building community ownership, and future trail stewards, but we need support to continue to be successful. This weekend will detail opportunities to support your OORC.
OCA: How does someone purchase tickets for the various events?
BP: Trail Rocks is first come, first serve, and tickets can be purchased at the door for only $5 at Georges Majestic Lounge (21+). The group rides are free… and open to everyone. The Playing In The Dirt Gala, has limited seating available, but it’s not too late. There are a few tickets left to be a part of a truly special evening. Tickets may be purchased online here.
We are pumped to highlight the efforts of the individuals and businesses that have been critical in the growth of a mountain bike destination, and we hope you can join us to celebrate two-decades of… PLAYING IN THE DIRT!