(from International Mountain Biking Association news release)
Steve Schneider has joined IMBA as the region director for the South Central states. Schneider joins seven other region directors on IMBA’s team — these full-time mountain bike advocates work in distinct territories across the U.S. to improve and expand mountain bike opportunities. Schneider is based in Bentonville, Arkansas. The IMBA South Central region includes Louisiana, southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas.
IMBA’s region directors work closely with IMBA chapters — a revenue sharing relationship between IMBA and its chapters help pay for regional positions. Schneider will also partner with bike shops and manufacturers in his territory, and will coordinate with local, state and federal agencies to create new mountain bike facilities.
“Steve is a perfect fit to match the high caliber talent of current IMBA staff,” said IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. “There is tremendous knowledge and passion in Northwest Arkansas that has made the area a mountain biking destination, and Steve is ready to expand those opportunities across the region.”
Schneider grew up in California where he cut his outdoor teeth hiking all over the Sierra Nevada mountains. He has been living in the Ozarks since 1981, where he got started mountain biking about 20 years ago. He is currently the vice president of the local IMBA affiliate, the Ozark Off Road Cyclists (OORC), based in Fayetteville. Schneider was voted “volunteer of the year” in 2012, the same year that OORC won “volunteer organization of the year” from Arkansas Parks and Recreation. OORC has helped to build more than 100 miles of mountain bike trails in northwest Arkansas, which was a major reason for headquartering the region office in that area.
There are several trail systems currently being built and developed in the South Central region, including Fort Smith State Park (near Fayetteville, Ark.), and trails in the cities of Springdale and Rogers in northwest Arkansas, to name a few. OORC recently secured a $225,000 grant to revitalize and build 35 miles of existing and new trails in the forest near Buffalo National River. The project is a partnership of OORC, the U.S. Forest Service, Progressive Trail Design and the Walton Family Foundation.
Bentonville recently hosted the Slaughter Pen Jam music and cycling festival, which has grown into one of the most popular events of its kind.
“I look forward to defending trails from access threats, to continued sound stewardship by IMBA groups, and to further the enhancement of future trails,” said Schneider. “My goal is to help many more organizations in this region partner with IMBA to share the love, because it’s all about the ride!”
(Editor’s Note: I’ve known Steve for a couple of years now and have to tell you, he’s a workhorse. Not the kind of guy that sits back and directs work, his hands get very dirty. He’s a lead from the front kind of guy. As he works through his new responsibilities, I’m sure you will see him and the IMBA tent at many local mountain bike events. Take some time and meet him, he will be a great resource for mountain bike advocacy in the area. We are lucky to have him.)