FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Bikes, Blues and Barbeque 2021 rally will being postponed has raised questions of other local events being a COVID-19 risk, including Razorback football.
The event organizers announced Thursday (Aug. 26) announced the 2021 rally will be postponed for now.
"It was a pretty easy decision once we had the medical evidence.' We got people already calling lighting up our phones saying, 'why did you cancel?. It's really not dangerous'," said Steve Clark, Bikes, Blues and Barbecue Board Member.
This comes after Washington Regional sent a letter to the City of Fayetteville discussing COVID-19 safety concerns around the rally, like a mass virus spread and outbreak possibilities. Washington Regional then sent similar additional letters to the event organizers and the University of Arkansas on Thursday (Aug. 26).
"We need to have capacity so if tour mom or my mom or sister is in a car accident there is room to treat them," said Fayetteville City Health Officer Marti Sharkey.
On the same day, the University of Arkansas sent a letter to the Bikes, Blues and Barbecue organizers terminating the events licensing agreement for the leasing space where the main stage for the event was being held.
The event organizers announced on Facebook Thursday night that they will be postponing the event because they do not feel they can offer a quality event with such massive changes on such short notice.
University of Arkansas leaders say they have been in touch with local hospitals who told them there is a big difference between medical resources needed for a motorcycle rally and a football gameday.
While they may encounter some heat-related issues and other situations, the University says hospital leaders have said that they could support gameday but can't support a multiple-day rally that draws in thousands from across the country each day.
The event organizers say they will not be looking at new dates for the rally until the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic changes in the Northwest Arkansas region. The event organizers are asking that the public follow their social media pages and website for updates on the event's status.