Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Riding: It's all in the Family

The Martins; Tonia, Emilyn, Cam
and Craig
For the Martin family of NW Arkansas, motorcycles are a family affair, going back several generations. Craig and Tonia Martin, along with their two children Emilyn and Cam, ages 10 and 11, are all expecting to be at Bikes, Blues and BBQ this year.  They will be riding in on a Honda Shadow and a Harley Road King Custom with the children, properly helmeted, taking their places behind mom and dad. 

Motorcycles have been a big part of the family's life for as long as they can remember. Both Craig and Tonia have grown up with families who ride, and both have followed in their parents' footsteps. These days riding continues to be very much a part of this family's life. Craig's father and brother, along with other family members, rode in from Illinois last year and are already packed and ready to ride down again for the rally this year.

"The rally has become an opportunity for us to get together and have a great time," Tonia tells us. "We love BB&BBQ because there are things for all ages and it is family friendly, so our family can spend
 Phil Martin (left) with Cam Martin riding, Richie Martin
(right) with Emilyn Martin riding
much needed time together having fun. My son Cam's favorite part are the stunt shows. My daughter Emilyn just loves being on the bikes. My husband loves the vendors and I enjoy the rides and family time. Every year we have more and more people hooked to the rally, and our group is growing fast. I love riding up through Eureka Spring and doing a loop to Fayetteville. I love the way NW Arkansas welcomes and embraces all the bikes and look forward to many more years of memories in the future!"

Craig Martin with his son Cam
 "We attended Bikes, Blues and BBQ for the first
time in 2009," Tonia continues, "and haven't missed a year since! We look forward to this rally every year. I take off work for the entire event, and since we've been attending and telling everyone we know back home about it, we now have several people that come up and attend it with us, including my brother-in-law's motorcycle club. This really is an event for all people with lots to do and great opportunities for breathtaking views and memories for a lifetime."

Originally from Granite City, Illinois, the family moved to NWA in 2007 and opened a small body and mechanic shop in Garfield, Arkansas; ALL Automotive.  Tonia and Craig have been married for twelve years.  This seems to be one case where the cliche speaks true; the family who plays together, stays together.  Or should we say ride?

The Martins left to right, Philip Sr., Craig, Cam,
Emilyn, Tonia & Richie
Parents wondering what points of interest the rally may hold for their young enthusiasts will have no difficulty finding plenty of fun, exciting, thrilling and even educational activities during the rally.  Drake Field offers Bikes, Blues and Bombers where families can see, tour and even fly in the world's only flying B-29 Super fortress.  The Washington County Fairgrounds is holding the traditional BBQ contest with opportunities for tasting and judging.  Also at the fairgrounds will be bike games and lawn mower pulls, something every kid and kid-at-heart is sure to enjoy.  Baum Stadium offers helicopter rides, train rides, and the United FMX Stunt bike team who will perform 40' leaps into the air!  Be sure to visit the NWA Mall for the Classic Cars Show, Friday at 6 pm there will even be a classic cars parade down College and Dickson.  Saturday on Dickson there will be the Stokes Air Bike Show and Battle of the Bikes, minors are welcome in the beer garden for the show before 6 pm with an adult.  At 4 pm the very exciting Parade of Power will proceed from the fairgrounds and down Dickson Street.  Between events, enjoy a bounty of shopping and amazing festival sweets and treats of which there will be plenty!