FAYETTEVILLE -- Bikes, Blues & BBQ raised more money for charity this year than any time in its 17-year history.
The four-day event in September raised more than $230,000 for area nonprofit groups and school programs. It raised about $173,000 in 2015.
Executive Director Tommy Sisemore, who took over the job this year, estimated 325,000 to 350,000 people attended the 2016 rally. He attributed the record amount of money raised to a few factors.
"We had a great marketing campaign," Sisemore said. "We really feel like we had plenty of people show up, and then we had an increase in sponsorships and vendors."
The rally has made a $200,000 commitment over 10 years to Arkansas Children's Northwest hospital. The 230,000-square-foot medical center will open near Arvest Ballpark in Springdale in January 2018. The hospital so far has raised about $54 million toward a $70 million fundraising goal.
Fred Scarbrough, president of the Arkansas Children's Hospital Foundation, said the hospital has tried to develop as many partnerships as possible in its goal to provide care for all the children in Northwest Arkansas.
"The support of Bikes, Blues & BBQ over the next decade will allow for volunteer engagement, community exposure and increased financial support," he said.
The rally will take $20,000 from its proceeds each year to give the hospital. Sisemore said the commitment aligns with the event's purpose.
"The rally was founded on helping women and children and the underserved of our region," he said. "The more that we're in the community, and the more we do for the community, the more we're hitting our mission statement."
About 40 other entities benefited from this year's event. Some groups receive money directly and others raise money at the four-day rally. Organizations fill out grant applications and the Bikes, Blues & BBQ board tries to meet as many of the requests as it can, Sisemore said.
The Children's Safety Center received just more than $2,500 in support. The organization received a portion of sales and its volunteers collected tips at the Beer Garden. The center helps conduct child-abuse investigations in Washington County. Officials estimate they'll see more than 600 children by the end of the year.
"That money goes directly to help with our advocacy services and our forensic interviewing that we do at the center," said Emily Rappe Fisher, the center's development director. "We're able to kind of allocate that where we need it most."
The Washington County Fair Board received more than $75,000 this year. Rally and fair officials have a partnership to provide camp space to about 2,000 people during the motorcycle event, among other endeavors.
The following organizations were the beneficiaries of the 2016 Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally:
7 Hills Homeless Center — $1,000
Arkansas Children’s Northwest — $20,000*
Area Agency on Aging — $5,585
Arkansas Support Network — $2,316
Big Brothers Big Sisters — $1,130
Boy Scout Troop 122 — $1,200
Boys & Girls Club — $10,659.35
Camp Alliance — $8,808
Childcare Aware — $2,256
Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County — $750
Children’s Safety Center — $2,578
Community Creative Center — $2,000
Elkins High School Band — $9,600
Fayetteville Lions Foundation — $4,044
Fayetteville Firefighters — $8,800
Fayetteville High School Band Boosters — $5,000
Fayetteville Public Education Foundation — $2,500
Fayetteville Youth Wrestling — $750
Habitat for Humanity — $8,355.96
Havenwood — $6,219.40
Jackson L. Graves — $2,572
JDRF — $3,251.10
Life Source — $750
Life Styles — $1,000
Lincoln High School Athletic Club — $1,500
NWA Center for Sexual Assault — $2,285
NWA Women’s Shelter — $500
Open Avenues — $2,439
Ozark Literacy Council — $1,000
Pagnozzi Charities — $2,500
Peace at Home Family Shelter — $2,000
Planned Parenthood — $1,000
Ralph Baker Scholarship Fund — $2,000
Restoration Village — $2,500
Sequoyah Kiwanis — $6,000
Single Parent Scholarship Fund — $2,599
Springdale Kiwanis — $800
Washington County 4H — $2,300
Washington County Premium Sale — $3,000
Washington County Fair Board — $75,029
Welcome Health of NWA — $2,500
Youth Bridge — $1,500
In-kind donations — $7,900
Total — $230,475.76
*The festival will give Arkansas Children’s Northwest an annual $20,000 donation for 10 years, totaling $200,000.
Source: Staff report
Fair Board President Kendall Pendergraft said support from Bikes, Blues & BBQ is crucial to the fair's operations.
"Through the campground rentals, through the office rentals, through building rentals and everything else we do with Bikes & Blues, that is our biggest fundraiser for the year," he said. "By the time we get the bills paid and everything, it actually makes us more money than the county fair."
Recipients can get a combination of grants, a portion of sales and direct payment for things like working concession or providing services. Sisemore estimated the event gave away a little more than $140,000 in direct funds and shares from sales.
Committing to an annual gift of $20,000 for Arkansas Children's Northwest over the next 10 years means the rally plans to stay, Sisemore said.
"We're the third largest rally in the nation. We're the world's biggest charity rally," he said. "I wouldn't have taken the job if I didn't think the rally was sustainable for many, many years to come."
Metro on 12/19/2016
Print Headline: Bikes, Blues & BBQ doles out most money to charities in 17-year history