The Bikers of Bikes, Blues and Barbecue 2014

The Bikers of Bikes, Blues and Barbecue 2014

It’s no secret that some Fayettevillians make plans to pack up and get out of town when the motorcyclists ride into town for Bikes, Blues and Barbecue. It’s also never been a secret that motorcycles and helicopters are just plain loud things, too.

Amidst the turkey legs and smoking barbecued meats, screaming blues solos, engine kickbacks and motorcycles of all shapes, colors and sizes were the multitude of bikers who rode them into town. The bikers that come to the festival are easy to group into one aggregate of people who are taking over Dickson Street for the weekend.

In an effort to avoid a general bird’s-eye view of the festival, a different approach was taken to get to know who makes the festival what it is: the people. Or in this case: the bikers.

Photos by Lauren Husband


Kris and Chuck Gilden

From Conway, Ark., the couple has been going to the festival for 10 years because they said they like to party. Chuck owns a Road King Harley Davidson, and his wife Kris owns a Kawasaki Drifter.

“What are you most proud of?”

Chuck: “I’m proud of my wife!”

Kris: (Chuckles) “I would say I’m most proud of my family. We have two wonderful boys, a great husband and brothers and sisters. We’re very tight-knit. We’re together all the time. My clutch just went out on this trip, and the first thing I did was call dad and he’s like ‘Let me know, I’ll be there!’ They fixed it though, but you can count on him for anything and he’ll be there. Anything. I mean anything.”


Cliff, Jasper and Amanda Craddick

From within walking distance to the festival on Mt. Sequoya, this young family said they loved coming to the festival to take in the atmosphere and do some serious people watching. While Cliff and Amanda said they aren’t bikers, Cliff said he’d like to get one some day. Jasper, their son, is 14 months old.

“What’s the most challenging part of being a parent?”

Cliff: “It changes everything, I mean, you’re here in a different aspect y’know what I mean? Sleep is definitely a challenge. It’s a responsibility, y’know you’re constantly thinking about somebody other than yourself. But it’s the most rewarding thing ever and we would never change it. We still do everything that we did before having a baby, but we just include him now. We’ve got a little buddy that tags along. It’s really cool.”

“What’s something you’re learning about your son as a person?”

Cliff: “At his age, it’s like a new trait every day. There’s a new skill. It’s just kind of fun to see both of our personalities come out in him.”

Amanda: “He’s a creeper. He’s always staring people down.”


James Tanner and Rhonda Yepez

James Tanner, from Little Rock and Rhonda Yepez, from Fayetteville, have been going to the festival together for about four or five years now, but Yepez has Tanner beat at nine total times. Tanner is a road captain for a motorcycle club of 30 people, which puts him in charge of watching everyone who’s riding and making sure it’s a safe ride.

“How did you two meet?”

Yepez: “I came down here his first year coming to the festival. I met him and we talked, and…”

Tanner: “We’ve been together ever since.”

Yepez: “That’s right.”

Tanner: “I just saw her, she had this kind of stuff on her face. She was like glistening the way the light hit her, and I just kinda looked at her and she looked at me.”

Yepez: “It was across the street. We just talked and hung out and watched the bikes go by.”

“What would you say is the best thing about each other?”

Tanner: “Well, I’m the good looking one, so uh…”

Yepez: “That’s right baby, you got it! Yeyah! You’re the sexy one of the club.”

Tanner: “Her personality.”


Craig Middlebrook, Pearce and Pam Hungate (and Les and Shadow, their dogs)

This leathered-out crew from Elkins, Ark., has been going to Bikes, Blues and Barbecue for 14 years. Craig has been to Sturgis, one of the biggest motorcycle rallies, and he said he preferred coming to Fayetteville because of the family-friendly atmosphere and the welcoming area.

“When was the last time you laughed your ass off?”

Middlebrook: “We were on vacation in Alabama and we bought a micro pig. It rode back sleeping in the kids’ laps. We’d look at each other every once in a while and say, ‘We’ve got a pig.’”

Pam: “She was 15 pounds, full grown, box trained and we brought her on vacation with us for two weeks.”

Middlebrook: “We had to sneak her into our condo. The funniest part was getting her wrapped up in blankets and towels. Pam was talking loud to the cleaning people and I was runnin’ down the hall with the thing going ‘Arh, arh, arh!’”

Pam: “I was like, my son’s really sad about leaving. He’s crying! We named her Penelope.”


Heila Newman and Stephanie Johnson

Heila and Stephanie have been friends since they were children growing up in Muskogee, Okla. They’ve been going to Bikes, Blues and Barbecue for several years, and it’s a no-boys allowed trip where the goal is to let their hair down and have a good time enjoying the blues music.

“Who is your role model?”

Newman: “Jesus Christ, believe it or not. Okay, I know you see me—six foot tall, long blond hair, very pretty and leathered out—but I’m an ordained minister in Muskogee. I graduated from Bible college, I have a masters degree in theology. I come here because it’s okay to drink a beer and let your hair down a little bit.”

Johnson: “My role model is me!”

Newman: “That’s true, she’s a single mom who raised two kids who are both pretty productive members of society. We’re kind of our own role models!”


Amanda and Tona Tincher

For Amanda and Tona Tincher from Ft. Smith, Ark., Bikes, Blues and Barbecue has become an annual mother-daughter trip. They both ride Harley Davidson motorcycles, and like dressing up for the festival. Tona said based on how she dresses and acts at her job, nobody would know that she likes to really cut loose from time to time.

“What was your favorite mother-daughter experience?”

Tona: “Bikes, Blues and Barbecue in 2011. It was the best one ever!”

Amanda: “That was when we had the party at the Clarion. You have to mention the ‘Party at the Clarion.’ We had a great time. Great food, good experience, good friends…”

Tona: “And chair races in the parking lot!”

Categories: Cover Story