FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain once again played host to a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Cyclo-Cross World Cup event.
Sunday was the second year in a row for Fayetteville to be the site of both the Elite Women and Elite Men UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup races. It also capped off the weekend-long OZCX Festival held at the park which featured, music, local vendors and food.
This year's World Cup was just one of 14 global races and one of two to be held in the United States. Michael Spivey, President and CEO for the Ozark Outdoor Foundation was proud to be part of such an event in his own backyard.
"It's quite a privilege to have an event of this caliber here, not just in North America but also in the community of Northwest Arkansas," said Spivey.
He says the weekend brought in more than 5,000 vistors to the area and helps boost the local riding scene and economy.
"It's an amazing energizer to the cycling community, but it's also an amazing energizer to the business community here and to the broader culture of Northwest Arkansas," says Spivey.
More than 500 individual races were held this weekend, all culminating to the World Cup finale. The world-wide popular sport not only garnered a televised international audience but brought spectators in from across the country.
Greg Schimonek travelled from Omaha, Nebraska to watch the event first-hand. As an avid fan of the sport he was excited to watch his favorite riders compete up close, but was impressed by what Centennial Park had to offer.
"This area is probably a well-kept secret but from the people that have been here, it's not a secret, it's something that's very apparent," said Schimonek.
Schimonek has attended previous Cyclo-Cross World Cup races in Iowa City and was impressed by what he witnessed this weekend and is looking forward to more.
"I think what's been developed here at Centennial Park can only get better from here," said Schimonek. "This is probably just the beginning of things to come."
The weekend race event brought in athletes from all over the globe. With close to 30 countries represented, Spivey was elated to once again put out the welcome mat for Northwest Arkansas.
"It's just a special opportunity to be able to host folks from all over the world to this very special community of ours," said Spivey.
The event not only helps continue to place Fayetteville on the global map in the world of cycling, but the weekend-long event made sure to give back to the community. Spivey said all proceeds from the weekend will be given to the Children's Hospital of Northwest Arkansas to help children and families in need.
There are plans to have another Cyclo-Cross World Cup hosted at Centennial Park in Fayetteville within the next five years.
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