Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bikes, Bikers and Traditions Among Friends

Justin and his wife, Leslie
"The best part of Bikes, Blues and BBQ are the rides... the Pig Trail and the PLETHORA of incredible motorcycle roads all within an afternoon cruise of Fayetteville. The Family Friendly atmosphere for the kids, SAFE FOR EVERYONE without any tension or violence. The rally has become an annual tradition for us, a laid back good time we look forward to every year." ~ Justin, Scotty and Matt
JUSTIN HENRY Fayetteville, Arkansas "We all know what we will be doing every year during the last weekend in September"
2010 was our first Bikes, Blues and BBQ run. My wife Leslie and I rode in with Scotty Robertson and Matt Gillen from Steele, Missouri.  It has become a tradition for myself and some of my closest friends. The rally has definitely become a staple on our calendars. In fact, Scotty is already looking to build another bike that could win best of show!
Scotty Robertson and his grand champion
Harley-Davidson factory custom
I always enjoy the Pig Trail and riding around Beaver Lake during the rally, but I really like to hit the War Eagle to Eureka Springs area the best. To be 100% honest, we don't ride during the rally as much as I'd like because we are too busy catching up and hanging out with friends.
I started playing music with Scotty on Dickson back around 2002. We both played in a band called Starroy, as founding members dating back to late 1996. The music vibe on Dickson is just as great now as it was then, lots of live music as well as live music supporters. As musicians, we'd really like to see more development with the live music; more diversity in artists to help appeal to all rally goers.  
The bike rally vibe is very similar, lots of kind people and everyone is there to enjoy Dickson Street and the overall lively, party atmosphere. The food vendors had several fantastic offerings. Though, it's hard to look like a big, tough biker when you are totally consumed by the almighty deliciousness that was the cheesecake on a stick!
During Bikes Blues and BBQ 2012, my wife and I planned to get to the rally late Saturday afternoon, AFTER our honeymoon. As it happened, the airlines had much different plans for me and my new bride. Early flights due to inclement weather led to a layover in Dallas, so we didn't make it in until late Sunday. I totally missed seeing Scotty win the grand champion belt!
Scotty Robertson (left) and Matt Gillen
holding their Battle of the Bikes awards
Since my wife and I have relocated to Fayetteville, I don't get the opportunity to travel "to" the rally anymore. But, that's a good problem to have as we both love where we live. Years past, when we've traveled Hwy 412 from Steele, Missouri, we always enjoyed the beautiful ride. I grew up going to lake Norfork in the summers and riding through that area brings back a lot if childhood memories.
Bikes Blues and BBQ 2013 was to be our first wedding anniversary celebration. My wife was not totally thrilled our 1st anniversary was to be filled with beards & bikes, so luckily she was was on board with celebrating a week late. That and all the usual duties required to house a handful of extra bike(r)s. We stock our house with bikes, bikers and other friends/family during the rally. Our neighbors are great to not complain, because I know between the cold drinks, big laughs and loud pipes... We've gotta be loud!!!
We have recommended Bikes Blues and BBQ in the past and definitely will in the future!  
SCOTTY ROBERTSON Steele, Missouri "I traveled with Matt Gillen 400 miles in the rain with lots of thumbs up."
My best Bikes Blues and BBQ memory was the year I traveled with Matt Gillen 400 miles in the rain... with lots of thumbs up! The feeling was great, especially going home after winning the grand champion title with the belt strapped on my back in 2012. It's amazing being recognized by people I don't know because of my bike. I've met a lot of good people along the way that I look forward to seeing every year. There are LOTS of cool bikes, and always something to do.
MATT GILLEN Steele, Missouri "BBBQ has become a yearly tradition. The ride, the friendships. Hell, it's my Sturgis."
The atmosphere on Dickson is welcoming. Not rowdy or raunchy. I'm not so much into the shopping, I just like watching people enjoy themselves. I recommend BBBQ! When is it and when do we leave?

Matt Gillen with his bikes; "Jarhead" '01 Sportster,
"Cherry" '05 Heritage,
and "Christine" '98 Heritage Springer