More than 200 riders converged on the Evans farm Tuesday evening to meet with local farmers and share experiences about gravel cycling, the fastest-growing cycling sport in the US.
Wes Evans and his wife, Laura, were named Benton County Farm Family of the Year in May. They hosted the event in partnership with Arkansas Rural Recreational Roads (Arkansas R3), Arkansas Farm Bureau, and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Dennis Nelms said he’s been taking cues from the Northwest Arkansas cycling community by bringing accessible climbs closer to the people who want to get outside.
Northwest Arkansas (NWA) is seeing major business-backed outdoor infrastructure investment, and the focus is shifting toward climbing of late. This article investigates this new coordinated and strategic, urban crag development effort as an example of how for-profit investment and collaboration around outdoor climbing development could continue to change our sport.
Speaking about public-private partnerships, [Tom] Walton said, “I don’t have the foggiest idea how directionally which way they’re going to go all the time, but when you bring people together, you figure it out. And when you find the common thread, then it actually builds momentum and takes off.”
“Northwest Arkansas has seen an explosion in the outdoor economy due to strategic investments in infrastructure and experiences,” Tom Walton said. “There’s no reason a person couldn’t start a small business or make a career in the outdoor industry here. And it’s the council’s job to make those opportunities visible to all Arkansans. We used to be called the Land of Opportunity, and now we are the Natural State. There’s no reason we can’t be both.”
Wearing ball caps and smiles, first gentleman Bryan Sanders and Runway Group co-founder Tom Walton met Axios NWA at OZ1 Flying Club last week to discuss the Natural State Initiative.
“I really think Arkansas has the potential to be the equivalent or better than Colorado [in] 10 years’ time in terms of owning the outdoor rec experience,” Walton told Axios.