This past weekend, the Big Mountain Enduro Race (BME) Series held its first competition of the year at Mount Nebo State Park in Dardanelle, Arkansas. BME is a five-race series held in various mountain biking destinations in the United States. The series’ next race will be held at Sunrise Park Resort in Arizona. Following stops in Colorado and Utah, the series will culminate at Big Sky Resort in Montana. The Mount Nebo venue is the only race in the series held outside of the Rocky Mountains.
Mitchell Allen of the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation (APRF) mentioned that the foundation contracted with Jagged Axe Trail Designs to build new trails specifically for the race. He said, “Permanent new trail which will remain open for the park to use after the event is about 3 miles.” Allen went on to say, “The Foundation along with the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism funded the new trails and lodging for BME staff. Also, organizing the event by working with the state parks and BME to get all the permits signed and to assist with logistics.”
The trails at Mount Nebo State Park are part of the Monument Trail system which includes trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Devil’s Den State Park, and Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area. The original Monument Trails built at Mount Nebo were designed and built by Rock Solid Trail Contracting and the recent additions were completed by Jagged Axe Trail Design.
Johnny Brazil, owner of Jackalope Cycling in Russellville and board member of Friends of Nebo has been a part of the local support for the event. Brazil said, ” My goal was to showcase our area, our mountain as, legitimately, a world-class spot.” Monday morning, after the race, six of the pro riders were in his shop. “They thought the place was Rad, they were super impressed with the hospitality of the area,” said Brazil. According to Brazil, one of the female pros from San Diego spent a lot of her week in the area fishing for largemouth bass in Lake Dardanelle since she can’t do that back home.
According to Big Mountain Enduro
The Arkansas round of the Big Mountain Enduro brought 275 total racers from over 30 states. Riders travel from all over and stay in hotels and eat at the local restaurants for usually 5 days. Most riders travel with family or team members bringing the total to nearly 1,500 people during the week of the event.
According to Robert Herber, Event Director for Big Mountain Enduro, “It was a fantastic weekend for the opening round of the Big Mountain Enduro at Mt Nebo, Arkansas. We are so grateful for all of the support that the State of Arkansas and the local community showed for the event. The outpouring of support from everyone makes these events so special to everyone on our team and the participants. Arkansas Enduro is a growing scene and we are very thankful to be a part of putting these amazing trails on the map”
When asked about bringing the event back to Mount Nebo in 2024, Heber said, “There is definitely a strong possibility that we do return to Arkansas next year. It’s a pretty involved process in picking venues and it’s become very obvious that everyone who attended had a great time.”
My own experience at the event can be summed up in an interaction I had with a spectator at the bottom of the first stage on Sunrise Connector. I met a gentleman from Montana who had brought his 14-year-old son down here in their van to compete. He seemed impressed with the venue. I couldn’t help but think how events like these do more for promoting the state than just about any advertising campaign or marketing outreach.