ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Bike Blues and BBQ has become a tradition for many in the biking community but its cancelation isn’t stopping bikers from hitting the road. One of the stops is at the ‘Rally Off Exit 86’ event.
“You get to meet people from all over the country and you can share your riding experiences and everybody is your friend when you’re on a bike,” said Beth Cochran, in town for the festivities.
Bikers are coming from all over the country to what should have been Bikes, Blues, and BBQ.
“We planned this vacation back in February and we wanted to pull through and make sure we came down here and see the great roads Arkansas has to offer,” said Gulie Hudson, a biker.
The Pig Trail Harley-Davidson decided to keep its ‘Rally Off Exit 86’ event. General Manager Kyle Johnson said the event has taken place alongside BBB for 15 years.
They initially planned to drop the event after BBB made its announcement to cancel. However, after hearing from bikers who made plans months ago to come out they decided to move forward with the rally.
Johnson said they worked with the department of health to put a plan together to keep everyone safe while they check out the Harleys. There are markers on the ground, hand sanitizing stations and people are encouraged to wear a mask and social distance.
“We needed to have a plan in place to know that we could execute it and give people a good show. Otherwise, if a lot of people show up and you are not properly staffed it could be a negative experience for your staff and attendees,” said Johnson.
Johnson said with 11 acres of land it made it easier for them to spread everything out and easier for people to keep their distance.
All of the staff will be screened and temperatures checked at the start of their shifts.
“We had so many people reach out. They were coming and they were asking what are you guys doing? This means a lot to them. It’s a brotherhood when it comes to motorcyclists and we are happy to provide something so they could have a good time,” said Johnson.
Other groups like ‘Bikes With no Blues’ coming to light after the cancelation. The group declined an interview but said it was established to help support local businesses during these hard times.
Businesses like Motordog69 will be at the event this week. Owner John Mottola said he’s done business online for the past six months. He said he is glad to be back in front of customers.
“Without my customers and finding out what they want it’s hard for a company to grow. We are trying to practice safety and you know we are wearing our masks and using the hand sanitizer all day long,” said Mottola.
Bikers like Cochran rode down from Michigan. She said nothing beats moments with the biking community and getting on a bike.
“Well it’s freedom. The same sights you see from a car you experience from a bike.”
People can come out and test ride some motorcycles, check out some custom bikes and support local vendors.
Rogers police also out here giving a hand with traffic. Keith Foster with the department advises drivers to be extra careful on the road and to look out for bikers.