Adventure Arkansas: IMBA World Summit

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- Once every two years, the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) hosts a world summit, which is attended by hundreds of mountain bikers from around the country and the world.

This week, the Summit took over downtown Bentonville. In this week’s Adventure Arkansas, Meteorologist Sean Bailey speaks with those who saw the beginnings of the sport in Arkansas and the future of mountain biking in the area. 

For Arkansas mountain bikers, like Park Ranger Tim Scott, Devil's Den is where it all began in the 1980s.

"It was a good place to invite the public and other trail users to enjoy and come to the park. Devil's Den was the first state park to have mountain bike trail," he said.

For long-time cyclist Heath Banning the changes over the past few decades have been immense.

"We had maybe 15 miles of single track total. Now we have projected 200 plus and another projected 150 miles in the next five years. For me it’s a dream to see it happen," he said.

That growth is now capturing the attention of the international mountain biking community.

IMBA Director Aimee Ross explains why the experience of biking in Bentonville caught their eye.

"It’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen. The trails have become a part of what this area is and the experience that people can get when they come here," she said.

The focus of this year's Summit is “Building Tomorrow’s Mountain Biking Today.” For local mountain biking advocacy groups like Ozark Off Road Cyclists this will enhance the ground work their group has been doing for decades.

"What’s really cool about our volunteer experience and the opportunity that we create is that it’s lasting," OORC Executive Director said. "When you come out here and build a trail, it’s there. I’ve built stuff my kid’s kids are going to ride someday and I think that’s pretty exciting."

All agree the past and present are paving the way for the future.

"The last few years it’s really blossomed into that it’s really well received statewide, trails everywhere. It’s just a really good thing for the state," Scott said.

According to Ross, the secret is out.

"I think that shows where we’ve come to as a community and I think it’s the beginning and as a cyclist that’s really exciting," Pack said.

IMBA organizers said 2016 World Summit in Bentonville was the first summit to be completely sold out.

Events are going on through Saturday. Including a mountain biking expo, workshops as well as biking trick demos and group rides.

Segment Sponsored by: Adventure Subaru