Reporter’s notebook: Bikes, Blues and BBQ virgin
FAYETTEVILLE–Most the time, reporters don’t place themselves in their stories. It’s just not done. There are times, however, when reporters become part of the story they are covering and openly share the information through their eyes. This is called a “reporter’s notebook.” Reporter’s notebooks are usually done in stories where there is little to no controversy being presented.
A reporter’s notebook is exactly how I’ve decided to share about one of the nation’s biggest bike rallies, Bikes, Blues and BBQ, which was Sept. 29-Oct. 2 in Fayetteville.
Let me start out by confessing something. I, Jamie Smith, have lived in Northwest Arkansas since January 2002 and have never attended this major event.
Not really sure why over all, but the reasons have changed over the years. I think the first few years I thought you had to have a bike to participate. That’s not true. There are plenty of events, food, booths and other stuff for non-bike enthusiasts to appreciate.
Later I thought it was a dangerous. You know, the whole biker stigma thing. I asked around and although there are some fights, it really is a family-friendly event. When I went last weekend, I saw less problems at this major bikers’ rally than I do on an average night on Dickson Street.
Then I just didn’t think much about it. I just knew Bikes, Blues and BBQ as the big event every year that brings thousands of noisy but neat-looking bikes to town. It makes traffic horrendous, but no worse than the twice-annual craft fair season (which is coming up soon, by the way!).
This year, I got my first ever invitation to check out this event and I accepted. I went with a couple friends to check it out on Oct. 1, a Friday night. It was packed!
From what I’ve heard, this year was record crowds for the 11-year-old event. I believe it. I’ve never seen Dickson that full nor have I had to park so far away. Parking is bad on Dickson (the entertainment district in Fayetteville for those in the state who are unfamiliar), but considering I use handicapped parking, it’s never been this bad.
So let’s take a look at what I saw. (Quick disclaimer: I am a reporter, not a photographer. I also only have a basic digital camera. For the most part, these would not be print quality.)
A few final thoughts …
I didn’t think there was any more danger or chaos at BBB than any other large event that involves alcohol. That said, it is thousands of people, many who are drinking, all in one place. If you attend next year, be wise. Don’t go alone (it’s much more fun with friends, I would think). Wear comfortable shoes. If you see a fight starting to brew, walk away. You won’t have any trouble finding law enforcement as they have officers from surrounding communities there to help out.
Next year, come up the I-540 and join us! Northwest Arkansas would love to have you as our guest.
For more information and pictures, visit http://www.bikesbluesandbbq.org/
Experienced reporter who is now an entrepreneur. Jamie's Notebook offers writing services including press releases, corporate blogging and feature writing.