Big news for Arkansas is coming out of the annual Interbike show in Las Vegas, NV last night. With a $160,000 purse, this race should bring some top riders to Arkansas next year.
From the news release:
(LAS VEGAS, NEV.) Sept. 20, 2017 – Epic Rides today announced the Oz Trails Off-Road backcountry mountain bike event & festival. Utilizing the Oz Trails network at the foot of the Ozark mountains in Northwest Arkansas, the fourth event in the Epic Rides Off-Road Series will be held October 5 – 7, 2018 (Columbus Day Weekend) in Bentonville, AR.
“Northwest Arkansas communities have worked together to build more than 200 miles of world-class singletrack,” said Gary Vernon, Program Officer at the Walton Family Foundation. “Our cities are ready to welcome riders from all over the country who will experience the trails and cycling lifestyle that defines the region.”
The Oz Trails Off-Road will also be the finale for the Off-Road Series Men’s and Women’s Pro Backcountry events with a double cash purse of $60,000; a sizeable piece of the biggest backcountry mountain bike event purse in the world totaling $160,000.
“The Oz Trails Off-Road is not only exciting because Epic Rides is expanding further outside our backyard than ever before, but also because of how supportive our partners in Northwest Arkansas have been,” said Todd Sadow, Epic Rides President. “They share our vision of providing premier mountain bike events across the country, promoting the community-focused, family-friendly aspects of mountain biking while unifying the sport.”
From beginners to seasoned weekend warriors and full-time professionals, each Off-Road Series event welcomes mountain bikers of all experience levels with three different length courses challenging the mind and body as well as delivering awe-striking views of nature’s beauty. Each event has its own unique flavor and character thanks to the vibrant host cities that value the importance of healthy living and outdoor recreation.
“The Oz Trails Off-Road is more than just about Bentonville, it’s about all of Northwest Arkansas, as the region boasts trails suited for all skill levels,” said Kalene Griffith, Visit Bentonville President, and CEO. “Not only have trails provided a significant boost in the quality of life for our community, but they’ve also attracted visitors from across the U.S. and events like the 2016 IMBA World Summit, further validating Northwest Arkansas as an outdoor destination.”
But what really separates the Off-Road Series from other events is that it’s far more than just a mountain bike event; it’s a celebration of community, offering three days of free live music and Four Peaks Brewing Co. beer gardens for everyone to enjoy – including non-mountain bikers. For supporting sponsors, each events Bike and Gear Expo showcases the industry’s most innovative mountain bike gear. And for the host communities, the Off-Road Series gives national exposure to each city, showing off their very best to visitors and leaving behind a substantial economic infusion after each event.
“Our community is home to many adventurous outdoor enthusiasts, and the addition of our Back 40 trail network last year has already had a huge economic impact with visitors to our region,” said Peter Christie, City of Bella Vista Mayor. “The trail network has enabled us to promote a culture of healthy, active lifestyles and we are excited to host the Oz Trails Off-Road as a way to promote our new trails and outdoor community.”
This organic, grassroots mountain bike event model has been in development for 14 years, successfully growing since the inaugural Whiskey Off-Road took place in 2004 on Prescott’s Whiskey Row. Although each Off-Road Series event presents challenging courses that push its participants mentally and physically, the accomplishment one feels after finishing can have an enormous positive impact on their lives.
Registration for all four Off-Road Series events opens on January 1st. All registrants receive an Official event t-shirt, personalized # plate, limited-edition poster and decal, a goodie bag and custom finisher’s award. The growing popularity of the Off-Road Series has resulted in all events filling to capacity in advance, so participants are encouraged to mark their calendars for January 1st.
This news falls on the heels of an announcement earlier this week that OuterBike will also be held in Bentonville October 26-28 of 2018. October is going to be a busy month in Northwest Arkansas.