A few words about the board. In 2001, the founders of Bikes, Blues, & BBQ voted in its first Board of Directors. Since then, our board has been dedicated to helping Bikes, Blues & BBQ generate over $1,500,000 for local charities, and become the largest family-friendly motorcycle rally in the United States.
All of the members of our board volunteer hours upon hours of their time each year to make sure Bikes, Blues & BBQ is a success. We would like to thank the board for their dedication to making Bikes, Blues & BBQ a successful event.
BIKES, BLUES & BBQ BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kenneth Mourton: Past President
Kenneth R. Mourton, the managing member of Ball & Mourton, Ltd., PLLC, concentrates his practice in taxation, criminal and civil tax litigation, estate planning and probate, business planning, business and real estate transactions, family and juvenile law, and alcoholic beverage law. Mr. Mourton attended the University of Arkansas and received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1970. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas and was also inducted as a Certified Public Accountants, Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants, Washington County, Arkansas, and American Bar Associations. He is admitted to practice before the United Stated Tax Court, United Stated District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas; United Stated Court of Appeals for the Sixth, Eight, and Tenth Circuits; and the United States Supreme Court. His honors include being chosen as a Special Justice to the Supreme Court of Arkansas, Medlock v. Leathers, 842 S.W.2d 428, (Ark. 1992), and selected as one of three tax attorneys named to the Arkansas Times 1998 Arkansas Best Lawyers list for tax attorneys. He serves as the Chairman of the Audit Committee and is a member of the Management Committee of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Mr. Mourton is actively involved in many civic organizations including serving as the Chairman of the Board and general counsel to the Razorback Foundation, holding a position with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, and serving as a Board member of the Arkansas Rural Endowment, a nonprofit corporation created by the State of Arkansas to help lower income, rural Arkansas children to obtain college eduations.
Neal Crawford: President
Neal Crawford graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1994. Neal owns several companies in Northwest Arkansas. Neal is one of the founders of Bikes, Blues, and BBQ Motorcycle Rally. Before the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ rally began, Neal and the other rally founders began Bike Night at Jose's to give motorcycle enthusiasts an opportunity to come together and to determine how interested people would be in hosting a rally in Fayetteville. Neal's other community involvement includes serving as a Commissioner on the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission from April 2003 to March 2011, organizing both the SpringFest and Mardi Gras events in Fayetteville. Neal also opened up The Skate Station in Fayetteville to give area youth a local gathering place. Neal and his wife, Krisha, have three children.
Steve Clark is the President/CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Clark has extensive experience as an elected state Attorney General, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Judge, Arbitrator, Mediator, Professor of Law and Entrepreneur. Steve's involvement in state and federal regulatory affairs ranges from investigations and prosecutions for fraud, white collar crime, and ethical violations. He has also been involved in litigation regarding the license and regulation of professionals, privacy regulations and consumer protection. Steve has had extensive experience in the healthcare arena. Furthermore, Steve has had hands on experience as a healthcare manager, managing a multi-site durable medical equipment business; serving as Vice President of Managed Care for a national home health company; and founding his own start up behavioral healthcare entity, The InnerCare Group. His company was one of the largest behavioral health companies in the nation when sold. While serving as Arkansas' Attorney General, Steve also served as President of the National Association of Attorneys General. He was selected by that group as the Outstanding Attorney General in the nation. State argued eight cases before the United States Supreme Court. Further, he served as a special legislative consultant to the United States Nuclear Waste Negotiator. He is a frequent speaker throughout the country to professional and academic groups on the subjects of ethics and public service, ethical best practices, and the duties of compliance and reporting. Prior to becoming the President and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Steve served as a Visiting Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Florida. Previously in his career, Steve served as a member of the faculty at the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville, University of Arkansas School of Law at Little Rock, and South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas. Steve is part of the permanent teaching faculty of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners headquartered in Austin, Texas. He is a certified fraud examiner. Steve is a graduate of Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville. He has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus of both schools. He was presented the National Child Protection Award by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Steve is a member of the downtown Rotary Club of Fayetteville and serves on several municipal and regional boards of commissions. He is married to Suzanne Greichan Clark. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Brian Crowne: Vice President
Brian has spent the last 30 years working in the music and event industry first as a musician and then as a venue owner and promoter. Brian and his wife Day purchased Georges Majestic Lounge in 2004 and The AMP...now the Walmart AMP in 2008. The Walton Arts Center acquired The AMP in 2011 and built the Walmart AMP in Rogers AR which opened in June of 2014. Brian continues to own and operate Georges and is the VP of the Walmart AMP. His company The Crowne Group LLC does consulting, marketing and turn key event planning and execution producing events ranging from wedding receptions to Greek events and large scale concerts. He is proud to be a part of enriching the community and to sit on the board of Bikes Blues and BBQ.
Mr. Jeff Koenig BSEE is the retired President/CEO of Upchurch Electrical Supply. He received the 2015 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award for northwest Arkansas from the National Association of Fundraising Professionals. He is past president and current board member of the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation. He also is past president and current board member of the Donald W. Reynolds Boys and Girls Club. He has supported numerous public education initiatives and served on the Fayetteville School District Board of Education acting as it's president from 1993 to 1995.
J.W. "Bill" Ramsey is the former President/CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. He is the owner of Public Relations Consultants of Arkansas Inc., operating in Fayetteville, and is the former owner of Crescent Department Store. Bill graduated from Prairie Grove High School and went on to obtain a BSBA in Marketing from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Bill has an impressive history of service to his community, first through service in the US Air Force and later in public service roles on the state and local level. Bill served nine terms in the Arkansas house of Representatives and is the Former Prairie Grove City Treasurer. His civic service includes serving previously as the President of the Prairie Grove Lions Club and in roles with the Prairie Grove Chamber of Commerce, the Prairie Grove Industrial Development Corporation, the Northwest Arkansas Motion Picture Commission, the Arkansas Aviation Historical Society Board and Northwest Arkansas Community College Foundation Board. Bill's current endeavors include serving on the Fayetteville Community Foundation. He also maintains membership in the Masons Lodge, the Scottish Rites, the American Legion, the Fayetteville Rotary Club and the Fayetteville Country Club.
Bill owns and operates Dickson Street Liquor Store in Fayetteville. He lives in Fayetteville with his wife Lara and his daughters Finley and Callan. He holds a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas. In addition to the Walton Arts Center Board, he currently serves as a member of the Bikes, Blues and Barbeque Board of Directors and he is a member of the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. He has also been appointed as a member of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Retailer Advisory Board. He is actively involved in the Fayetteville community, working to promote and enhance Fayetteville's Dickson Street Entertainment District. He also participates in several local volunteer organizations including the Komen Race for the Cure, the Humane Society of the Ozarks and the Boys and Girls Club of Fayetteville.
A native of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, Webb earned his associate degree in Business from Williams Baptist College in 1977. He majored in Business Administration at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. As the executive director of the Walnut Ridge and Forrest City Chambers of Commerce and in his current position as president and chief executive officer of the Springdale Chamber, Webb has worked in all facets of the business sector - from tourism, community and economic development to advertising, marketing and promotion. Under his direction the Chamber has led Springdale to record job creation levels, with over 16,000 jobs created since 1994. Perry received his Certified Chamber Executive designation in 2004 from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. Perry served as a member of the US Chamber's Institute for Organization Management's Board of Trustees, and was chairman of that national board in 2009. Previously he served two years as the chairman of the Curriculum Review Committee, and was an Institute faculty member for over fifteen years. As an avocation, he found time to serve as a basketball and football official for more than 25 years. During that time, he refereed more than 2,500 basketball games and more than 400 football games. Starting in 1987, Webb also officiated NCAA Division I basketball, working more than 250 games at the sport's highest level. He is a 2006 inductee into the Arkansas Officiating Hall of Fame. Perry and his wife, Rebecca, have three children; Amanda, Sarah, and Bartley, and four grandsons
Justin Tennant: Secretary
Justin Tennant is Managing Director at Verizon. Justin is a graduate from Fayetteville High School. Justin attended the University of Arkansas where he graduated with a BA in Journalism with emphasis on Advertising and Public Relations. Justin serves on the Fayetteville City Council. He also serves on NWA Regional Planning Commission, Ordinance Review Committee and Transportation Committee. Justin is a former Board Member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He also serves the American Heart Association, Fayetteville Future Fund, Walton Arts Center, Botanical Gardens, Northwest Arkansas Young Professionals and is a Watch Dog Dad and Volunteer Coach. Justin is married to Katie Clark and has two children.
Reese Thompson: Treasurer
Reese Thompson is a Vice President of Commercial Banking at Arvest Bank in Fayetteville. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Central Arkansas in Business Management before moving to Northwest Arkansas in 2006. Since that time he has worked for Arvest Bank in Management, as a Credit Analyst, and as a Commercial Loan Officer. Reese is the Head Coach of the Springdale Youth Wrestling Club and serves on the Arkansas Youth Wrestling Association Board of Directors. He has volunteered every year at the Rally since 2009. His spare time is spent running long distance races, rock climbing with his children, and the occasional Tough Mudder.
A HISTORY OF FUN, BIKES, AND GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
BIKES, bLUES, & BBQ TODAY
The first Bikes, Blues, & BBQ rally was held in the year 2000 with just over 300 riders. Today, Bikes, Blues & BBQ is the largest motorcycle rally in the United States benefiting local charities. Last year, it was estimated that over 400,000 people attended the rally from all 50 states and many other countries.
Bikes, Blues, & BBQ also benefits the local economy. According to a 2013 study conducted by the University of Arkansas Center for Business and Economic Research, an estimated $69-80 million economic impact was generated to Arkansas during the Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally week.
THE BEGINNING OF A TRADITION
The notion for Bikes, Blues, & BBQ began over 20 years ago when Richard Watson, then Fayetteville’s Police Chief, bought his first Harley. At that time he started attending many of the major motorcycle rallies throughout the United States.
While doing so, he saw the economic potential of hosting a rally in Northwest Arkansas. Not only would a motorcycle rally benefit the entire area, but it would also provide some of the most beautiful motorcycle riding in the country. Northwest Arkansas is ideally suited for a rally since it is located in the heart of the Ozark Mountains.
The original rally founders, Watson, Steve Ward (President of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce) and Neal Crawford (owner of Jose’s Mexican Restaurant), talked about the idea of starting a rally for about six years. During that time Bike Night at Jose’s was begun to give motorcycle enthusiasts an opportunity to come together and to determine how interested people would be in hosting a rally in Fayetteville.
Due to the success of Bike Night at Jose’s and overwhelming enthusiasm from local bikers and businesses, Ward presented the rally idea to the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as a potential project for the city of Fayetteville.
After careful review and positive feedback from the community, the Chamber voted to host an annual motorcycle rally in the city of Fayetteville.
RALLY WITHA PURPOSE
From the very beginning, the founders realized that although the three festival components — bikes, blues, and barbeque — would be enough to put on a great event, so much more was possible. They wanted to hold Bikes, Blues, & BBQ to a higher standard and give it a greater purpose.
First, they decided that the rally had to be an event where everyone was welcome, including children, so it had to be family friendly.
Second, the rally needed to give back to the community. Not only would the rally boost the economy, but the founders also felt the rally should donate the profits raised by the event to local charities.
Third, the founders felt one last thing was needed to complete the rally festivities — a poker run dedicated to charity. Kathy Johnson, working with Meals on Wheels at the time, was contacted to see if she would be interested in hosting the poker run during the motorcycle rally. She agreed and did an amazing job establishing one of Bikes, Blues & BBQ’s finest events. The Poker Run is now hosted by the Fire Fighters Association, and over 1,200 bikes participate.
Between the first and second year, the founders determined that the best way for Bikes, Blues, & BBQ to give to charity was to become a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, and to vote in a Board of Directors to help govern the event. The original board members were Richard Watson, Ken Mourton, Neal Crawford, Denny Tune, Charlie Goforth, Bill Ramsey, and Buddy Ledford.
Since 2000, Bikes, Blues & BBQ has generated over $3 million for local non-profits. If you are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Northwest Arkansas, please click on the link below for information regarding submitting a funding request to Bikes, Blues and BBQ.
During the organizing stage, Watson decided that the event needed a proper name. Someone suggested the word bikes be in the title, and another person pointed out that most rallies have blues artists, and another mentioned that barbeque should be added to the mix, thus christening our beloved rally as Bikes, Blues & BBQ.
A SPIRIT OF GIVING BACK
Bikes, Blues, & BBQ is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and has donated over $3,000,000 to local charities since 2000. Bikes, Blues, & BBQ is also a recipient of the Arkansas State Tourism 2008 Henry Award for Special Achievement. The Henry Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the state’s tourism industry in the preceding year.
Bikes, Blues and BBQ is the largest charitable motorcycle rally in the U.S. Bikes, Blues and BBQ raised an astounding $250,000 during the 2019 rally, and over $3 million since the first rally in 2000. We pride ourselves in giving back to the Northwest Arkansas (NWA) area, and in 2019 we had the privilege of giving back to twenty-two local businesses/organizations in NWA. We are embarking on a grant-recipient spotlight tour to show you all the operations and behind the scenes of the organizations and businesses we work with. Our goal is to shine a light on these incredible organizations and share with you all the reasons we continue to exist as the nation's largest charitable motorcycle rally.
Meet some of the local charities below.
Open Avenues is one of the 22 businesses/organizations that received a grant from the 2019 Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally. Open Avenue's mission is to provide opportunities to adults with disabilities by facilitating personal growth and attainment of vocational goals. They exist with the vision that all people with disabilities are respected for their unique contributions to the community. Open Avenues' vision and mission are inspired by these four values; Regard for each individual, resolute in our commitment, dignity of meaningful work, knowing and doing what's right.
Open Avenues is a safe space for so many. We had the pleasure of touring their facility and meeting some of the members and workers at Open Avenues. While visiting we saw that this organization works with other companies in NWA. Some of the companies have been working with Open Avenues since the very beginning. They get their work from the 21 businesses and industrial partners who outsource work to Open Avenues. In their work center they strive to find employment that matches each person's interests and abilities. Practical, hands-on, real work experience that includes production and attendance goals while you earn a paycheck.
Open Avenues offers the industrial community of Northwest Arkansas an alternative work force for their off-line production needs. The employees can begin working at Open Avenues at the age of 25. We learned that one employee has been with the organization for over 40 years! Within the Open Avenues work center they are currently employing about 100 adults with disabilities.
They are using the grant from Bikes, Blues and BBQ to fund busses for the employees at Open Avenues that do not have a means of transportation. Kelly Sampson said that without the buses, Open Avenues could not operate due to so many employees depending on the transportation to get to and from work.
For more information about Open Avenues, click the following link: http://openavenues.org/
Boys & Girls Club
The Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club is one of the many businesses/organizations that received a grant from the 2019 Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally. The Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club is a safe place for many kids, residents, and families of the area- 10,000 community members per year, to be exact. They provide a plethora of activities, projects, and educational opportunities at this location. The Boys & Girls Club works to instill respect, responsibility, empowerment, high self-esteem, and integrity in their members.
Our team was able to visit the DWR Boys & Girls Club and see the organization in operation. During our visit, most of the youth were just getting out of school. The building was full of energy as all the students rolled in and began partaking in all the after-school programs and activities.
The Boys and Girls Club is using their grant to fund some of the Youth Development Programs (YDP). YDP provides children with nine different programs that they can participate in after school- ranging from education/career, character/leadership and health/life skills. It is enlightening to know that the money raised at Bikes, Blues and BBQ goes toward programs like YDP, that allow students to grow both educationally, independently and intellectually.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Fayetteville, click the following link: http://www.fayettevillekids.org/
Operation Open Season
Operation Open Season is one the grant recipients from the 2019 Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally. At Operation Open Season they support state and local high school building programs while providing hunting and fishing opportunities for America's wounded heroes. Not only are these opportunities available in Arkansas, but thanks to Operation Open Season they are now available all over the country. OOS has opened over 120,000 acres for veterans to enjoy. On average, there are usually 35 veterans that are placed on the property.
The grant given to Operation Open Season goes to Fayetteville High, Har-Ber High, and Rogers High for their building programs. These high-school programs will allow the students to build blinds for future hunts in Arkansas.There are 30 schools in Arkansas that are currently building blinds or other veteran service projects. In addition, there are new schools joining the program in surrounding states, like Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
We had the pleasure of getting to visit the Har-Ber High School building program and listen to Scott West tell his story and elaborate on how Operation Open Season has impacted him personally. These testimonies from veterans indicate that these hunts give them a sense of purpose again, and the great relationships that are built have been very therapeutic as well. A lot of wounded veterans have been affected by this operation in positive ways. Whether it's a hunting or fishing trip, these heroes are able to get outside and enjoy time with friends, the landowners and staff from OOS.
For more information about Operation Open Season, click the following link: http://operationopenseason.com/
Children's Safety Center
For the past 23 years, the Children's Safety Center has been a safe space where abused children can seek and receive help. Their mission is to empower children to overcome abuse and begin to trust, hope, and heal. In 2018 alone, the CSC provided services to 838 children, conducted 763 forensic interviews, provided 92 forensic medical exams, provided on-site therapy for 154 new child clients, and conducted a total of 748 therapy sessions.
We love getting to work with such influential and loving organizations like Children's Safety Center. The grant they received from the 2019 rally goes toward their advocacy program and the forensic investigations.
There are close to 11,000 handprints along the walls. When a child comes through the CSC, he or she leaves an indelible handprint on the wall representing an emotional story of recovery. This powerful handprint has become the defining symbol of our mission as each handprint tells a story full of heart and hope for the future.
For more information about Children's Safety Center, click the following link: https://www.childrenssafetycenter.org/
Jackson L. Graves Foundation
Inspired by Jackson Lee Graves, the Jackson L. Graves Foundation was founded to improve the quality of life for neonatal and pediatric patients and families involved in critical care situations. Jackson was born eight weeks premature with an abdominal wall birth defect and spent four months and one week at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas before passing away on February 19, 2005. The foundation prides itself on improving family-centered care in the NICU environment. Their goal is to make the family's time at the hospital as comfortable and peaceful as possible. Their projects range from the most immediate needs of the patient's family members to neonatal nursing education to specialized hospital equipment.
The Jackson L. Graves Foundation received a grant from Bikes, Blues and BBQ from the 2019 rally. The foundation makes Christmas packs for some of the patients and their families during the holidays. Our grant was used to purchase some of the products for the Christmas packages. The products include items that the family genuinely needs and can help them as much as possible during their often long and expensive overnight stays in the NICU. This year the foundation made about 90 Christmas packages for families and patients during the holiday season.
For more information about the Jackson L. Graves Foundation, click the following link: https://www.jacksongraves.org/
CASA of NWA
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Northwest Arkansas (CASA of NWA) is an organization that provides volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in the region. They ensure that the children in foster care have a consistent voice, safe home and a promising future. In 2019, CASA of NWA has championed for 954 abused and neglected children- growing 13 percent since 2018. The vision of CASA of NWA is that every child in foster care has a skilled CASA of NWA champion (volunteer) by their side, and that vision has been filled thanks to all 373 CASA of NWA volunteers. Throughout 2019, CASA of NWA has supported 174 family reunifications, 113 adoptions, and 15 foster teens as they graduated high school or earned their GED.
CASA of NWA's volunteers serve children 0-20 year(s) old in Benton, Carroll, Washington and Madison county. Volunteers range from ages 21-70+ and have a retention rate of 79 percent. The grant that CASA of NWA received from the 2019 rally will allow a volunteer to advocate for a child for an entire year.
For more information about CASA of NWA, click the following link: https://www.nwacasa.org/
Other charities Bikes, Blues and BBQ works closely with...
Area Agency on Aging of NWA
Arkansas Children's Hospital
Arts Center of the Ozarks
Community Creative Center
Elizabeth Richardson Center
Fayetteville High School Wrestling Booster Club
Fayetteville Public Education Foundation
Magdalene Serenity House
NWA Center for Sexual Assault
Peace at Home Family Shelter
Teen Challenge Ranch
Washington County Historical Society
Welcome Health of NWA