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This post is about playing hard in Northwest Arkansas. Over the next several months, the region will host what has been deemed the “Wildest Party on Earth”, the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship, and The Northwest Arkansas Cyclocross Series.

The origin of the divergence of the term “extreme sports” from “sports” may date to the 1950s in the appearance of a phrase usually, but wrongly, attributed to Ernest Hemingway.  The phrase is;

“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” (Wikipedia)

Applied to Northwest Arkansas this quote might be updated to read, “There are only three sports: rock-climbing, pump track, and cyclocross; all the rest are merely games.” Learn more about the upcoming extreme sport events below.

“The Wildest Party on Earth”

That was the title of the piece in Outside Magazine, which wrote an article about the event which they described as “the craziest rock-climbing event in the world”.

The event is called 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell! 24HHH is an endurance rock climbing competition and festival, held annually on the last full weekend of September, within the steep sandstone cliff walls of Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Jasper, AR.  Teams of two have the opportunity to choose between a 12 hour and 24 hour event, and the festival lasts a full 4 days with food, camping, music, swag, games, competition, and most of all fellowship.

The teams of climbers from across the country will gather at the canyon, which is home to over 400 established climbing routes, and for either 12hrs or 24hrs climb nonstop to earn points that will bet tallied to decide the winning team. To be considered official finishers, each climber will have to send at least one route per hour; to automatically qualify for next year, each will have to do 100. Some teams will climb hundreds of pitches.

Spectators can purchase a wristband that will cover the full weekend’s festivities BEGINNING WEDNESDAY including camping, climbing (no roped climbing during the competitions), swag, film screening, pasta dinner, pancake breakfast, adult beverages (over 21 only) and more. Cost is $45 per person and can be purchased online at www.horseshoehellapp.com.

Read the Outside Magazine article about the founders and what climber’s experience HERE.

Red Bull Pump Track World Championship

A few weeks after the rock-climbing party, the best pump track riders from over 20 countries will arrive in Springdale, Arkansas for the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship on October 13th. Taking place at the Runway Bike Park at the Jones Center, the new pump track is the largest of its kind in North America.

The Jones Center recently announced that it will hold a ‘Last Chance Qualifier’ on the 12th of October which will see a further 8 men and 8 women qualify for the World Final.

According to the announcement, “At the heart of the events mission is to be the most accessible cycling World Championship and together with the Jones Center the announcement of the LCQ will give the residents of Arkansas the chance to compete in their home state. On top of this, the LCQ is open to everyone across North America and around the world and with 16 places up for grabs, a riders chances of making the final is doubled.

Pump tracks are a worldwide success, combining rolling jumps with banked turns, they are accessible to all. Riders use the track features to gain momentum and attack the track as fast as possible. The LCQ will be the first time the unique track designed by Velosolutions founder Claudio Caluori will be raced on. The bespoke design allows riders to race head to head on an identical track layout, starting and finishing from the same position. Spectators will be treated to an incredible race atmosphere and exhilarating head to head to battles.”

The Last Chance Qualifier on Fri, Oct. 12 will be free for spectators and free parking. If you’re just a spectator on Saturday, then the event is just $10 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

NWA CX Series

Fayetteville is already well-known to cyclists across the region and the country for the Joe Martin Stage Race, for its dense network of amazing singletrack mountain bike trails, and for being a flat-out fun place to spend a weekend. And now it’s home to some of the best cyclocross racing in the South. – ozcross.cx

Like a triathlon, cyclocross mixes multiple athletic endeavors, namely riding and running, with a strong emphasis on skillful bike handling. Cyclocross has come to be known as one of the best-loved, most spectator-friendly forms of bike racing.

The re-introduction of cyclocross to the region will begin with the NWA CX Series. The NWA CX Series is a six-race series perfect for elite riders and newcomers alike! Held in six unique venues over the course of three months. The series will kick-off with a two-day event on September 29th-30th at Ward Nail Park in Lowell, Arkansas and conclude at The Arkansas State Cyclocross Championship in Avoca, Arkansas on December 1st. Oz Cross will take place on over Veterans Day weekend (November 10th-11th) just a few minutes from downtown Fayetteville.

There are several practices and clinics being held in NWA by various groups. All are aimed at increasing skills and growing the sport of Cyclocross in our region. If you’ve ever been curious to try cyclocross, this is the perfect opportunity. Juniors race for free, and beginners race for a discounted entry fee. Learn more at ozcross.cx.

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