Two months after the country’s third-largest motorcycle rally ended, Bikes, Blues & BBQ organizers handed out $100,000 Wednesday night to local charities.
“There is no better feeling than to hand out a check to a charity,” said Bikes, Blues & BBQ executive director Joe Giles. “The charities do so much good in this part of the country. So many of them are strapped for funding. It’s always a tough thing. To be able to help them out in any amount is just a wonderful feeling.”
The money was split between 24 charities. The largest single donations were $20,000 to the Fayetteville Boys and Girls Club and $18,000 to the NWA Economic Development District.
“It’s a great amount of money,” said Fayetteville Senior Center And Wellness Director Cayla Ervin. “We are so pleased that Bikes, Blues & BBQ honored us. We are very happy.”
Trish Richardson and her husband have been volunteers for five years. She said it’s great to be part of an event that gives back so much to Northwest Arkansas.
“It just made us want to volunteer more because we know it’s helping everybody out in our community,” Richardson said.
Ervin said she encourages the community to be supportive of the event.
“The money that goes to all of the charities involved is really important,” Ervin said. “It is non-profits and so it helps so many people. You are reaching out to our community.”
Giles said the organization reached its goal of $100,000 to charity this year. Giles hopes to hand out even more money next year.
“More. I am not telling what my goal is, but it’s to beat the record,” Giles said. “The record is $135,000.”
A University of Arkansas study places the motorcycle rally’s economic impact between $30 million dollars and $50 million dollars.
It’s estimated that more than 400,000 people showed up for the latest rally in October, the rally’s organizers said.