The Bikers of Bikes, Blues & BBQ 2016

The Bikers of Bikes, Blues & BBQ 2016
Photo by Lauren Husband Photography

Photo by Lauren Husband Photography

Photos by Lauren Husband Photography

For several years now in Fayetteville, mid-September has meant battening down the hatches or embracing one of the biggest motorcycle rallies in the United States, anchored on Dickson Street.

Bikes, Blues & BBQ normally gets rowdy and excessively loud — six citations were issued by Fayetteville police for engine revving — but it’s a motorcycle rally with upwards of 10,000 people in attendance.

Some Fayettevillians disdain the motorcycle rally that comes each year — especially this year with a group calling for a boycott on the festival because of the many vendors selling Confederate flag merchandise. Others enjoy the festive atmosphere and seeing all the tricked-out motorcycles drive by.

We hit up Dickson Street with a notepad and a camera and talked to bikers and festival attendees at random so we could learn about who makes the festival what it is on a micro level.

Essentially, many of the bikers in general look more intimidating than they are. As expected, there’s much more to the people who come to the rally than what meets the eye.

Meet a few of the bikers of Bikes, Blues and BBQ:

Cassie Overton and Samuel Phillips

Cassie Overton and Samuel Phillips

Cassie Overton and Samuel Phillips — From Harrison, Ark.

What’s something most people would be surprised to know about you?

OVERTON: I’m a truck driver. I’ve been doing it for seven months, and me and my husband team for ourselves. We go out on trips a week at a time, and it can be longer than that. It depends. Usually, we try to get home every weekend. We go to California and back. I miss my kids a lot on the job. I miss things now. Sometimes I’ll be gone on their birthdays and special events. It sucks.

What made you decide to do it?

OVERTON: My husband’s been driving for 29 years, my kids are all growing up. I’ve been a stay at home mom all their lives, and I wanted to get out. I was bored. Nobody needed me anymore. I initially thought about going to college, but my husband said why don’t you go to truck driving school? I said okay.

Seeing the country from the driver’s seat, what is that like seeing the land from Arkansas to the Pacific ocean?

OVERTON: I love it. I find beauty in all the different areas, like the desert — of course the Ozarks are the best. But I can find beauty all the way across. The best part is coming home.

Will Fair

Will Fair

willback_bikerWill Fair — From Seligman, Mo.

Tell us about your tattoos.

FAIR: Every bit of it was done with the lighter spring of a Bic lighter. All of my work was done by one guy. I have about 12 and half years of work done here, we’re talking about $3,000 to $4,000 of work. I got it in the penitentiary from my homie, but it only cost me a couple cups of coffee and some cigarettes. We spent a lot of time in the joint together, and he got to know me after seven years. He said I got you, buddy, and he did me. He used burnt Vaseline.

On my left arm — I’ve been battling a meth addiction for three years straight right now. My whole left arm is dedicated to that. Methamphetamines bring out the cannibal, then the bar fights and there’s the monkey that’s always crawling on your back for the addictions. The eyes mean that somebody is watching, always. I’m an outlaw biker. I’m not in a group, I’m just the outlaw biker. The “holler pride” is about where I’m from, the Seligman holler. Over here on my arm I have a picture of my dad with a shamrock behind him.

Grego Feyes

Grego Feyes

Grego Feyes — From Siloam Springs, Ark.

Does your bike have a name?

FEYES: I call it Ghost, because it eluded me most of my life because I’ve had five kids, raised them, and once they became adults and I stopped spending money on the kids, I bought the bike. I’m from Florida, but I don’t like riding there. There’s too many people. So I went searching for a small town life, and I found Siloam Springs, man. I’m in paradise. The wife and I, we take a week off vacation and we fold a map of the united states in half. Anything above the half was too much snow. We’re from Florida, so no coastal states. So, five years, five different states; Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, and we ended up in Springdale, Arkansas the following year. We did a 100 mile radius and found a beautiful place in Siloam Springs. That’s the last place I’m going to live. I got Ghost three years after I got here, in 2013. It’s a Harley Sportster Custom.

What does riding motorcycles mean to you?

FEYES: It’s time away from the world. It’s time away from all of the hustle and bustle and the stress. I get off of work, I make sure my wife — she’s sick. She’s got cancer. So, I make sure she’s all set in bed and everything. Then I take off and go for a ride. I’ve got my phone on vibrate so in case she needs anything, I can come right back. It’s just a way for me to relieve stress, feel the breeze and relax. That’s it. My wife, she couldn’t dye her hair anymore and she’s pure silver, almost white. Everywhere we went, like Walmart, people would say ma’am, you’ve got a good looking son there or ask if I’m her son. So I thought this can’t go on, she’s already depressed from the sickness and I talked to some people and dyed my hair white to match hers. She loves me.

Lee Samson and Becky Sullivan

Lee Samson and Becky Sullivan

Lee Samson and Becky Sullivan — Fayetteville, Ark.

How did you guys meet each other?

SULLIVAN: Online. I got on Bamboo, and we started talking. We first didn’t, until he changed his name and I started talking to him. He first had his name as Sam Cook. I met a Sam Cook before, and I didn’t like him. Then he changed his name to Lee.

SAMSON: We just spent about every night talking [laughs].

SULLIVAN: Night to dawn. I decided to go up to Harrison to meet him. He was staying with his mom. We had been talking for about a month, and I hadn’t seen a picture of him for a good while. We talked every night and I asked him a bunch of questions, one about tattoos. He said he had three or so, and I asked him send me a picture. He did, and I liked it. Next month will be a year we’ve been together. I finally got my divorce settled, and now we’re together.

SAMSON: We do nearly everything together. Whatever we decide to do, that’s what we do. We don’t make plans, really.

Jesse Littleon

Jesse Littleon

Jesse Littleton — from Louisiana

You’ve got a lot of patches on your leather jacket. What do they mean or symbolize?

LITTLETON: I stand for Jesus Christ. We have a Faith Riders tent over here where we share our testimonies. We come here to serve. Twenty-seven years ago, my story started when my wife and I got married. She went to church, and I didn’t. I was a typical good ol’ boy. I liked to live life and have fun. I always said I believed in Jesus, but I didn’t think I had to go to church to get into heaven. I thought being good, treating people right was all. I thought the people in church were all hypocrites, who would go to church but party during the week along with me and lived life like hell. I drank and smoke and did all of the above of drugs. My wife raised our son in the church, and at 14 years old he surrendered his life to the ministry. At 18 years old, God laid in on his heart to do a youth revival.

I was 38 years old, still wouldn’t go to church. At that point in my life, I didn’t realize that God was using my son to grab a hold of me and showed me what a Christian man should be like. One day, my son invited me to a revival, and I agreed. The next day, I talked with the pastor about what I thought it took to get to heaven. Afterwards, the pastor told me to get to heaven, you need to walk alongside God everyday. That’s what I’m doing now.

Categories: Cover Story