The Buffalo Headwaters Challenge
Race Details:

In the middle of winter, in the middle of nowhere… and the most fun you’ll have on your bike all year.

The Ozark Off Road Cyclists (or OORC) is stoked to present the 13th Annual Buffalo Headwaters Challenge (BHWC) Mountain Bike Festival January 26th through the 28th in Red Star, Arkansas.

Featuring the Upper Buffalo Mountain Bike Trail System, an IMBA EPIC, the BHWC is the OORC's Annual membership gathering and you must be a current member to participate.

What is the BHWC specifically?
It is an all-inclusive festival weekend over 3 days including food, drinks, tent and RV camping, live music, shuttle service, and mountain bike riding highlighted by the Annual “Challenge” rides on Saturday January 27th. The “Challenge” rides consist of the “Full Challenge” - a 40+ mile back country mountain bike experience, and the “Half Challenge” – around 25 miles of back country riding. Both ride options feature rowdy over the top aide stations to keep you fueled, fed, and pedaling. These are rides, not races… winning is just finishing.

How do you become a member?
Simple. The OORC is a charter chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) and annual memberships may be purchased at:

Already an IMBA Member with a different chapter? No problem. For those not looking to carry additional IMBA Memberships, a “Friends of the OORC” membership may be purchased at:

What about everything else?
New this year, the OORC has created a “Festival Pass”. While participation in the “Challenge Rides” is, and will remain FREE to current members or “Friends of the OORC”, we are asking for those in attendance that plan to camp, eat, drink, shuttle, and take part in the rowdy after ride shenanigans to please purchase a “Festival Pass” at the crazy low price of only $40 per attendee. That’s right, for only $40 we’ll cover your meals, hydration needs (including adult beverages), camping, entertainment, and facilities for the entire weekend. To purchase your “Festival Pass” click here:

But… here’s a couple cool things. If you have volunteered for the OORC, or one of our several branches across the Arkansas Ozarks, for twenty or more hours in 2017… you’ll be invited as our guest at NO CHARGE as our way to say thank you for your contributions to your communities. Those members will be notified from OORC leadership this January.

Also… the Annual BHWC doesn’t happen without the support of several volunteers assisting with a laundry list of tasks including serving, cooking, clean-up and more. If you would like to sign-up to volunteer onsite for any 4-hour block… we’ll waive the cost of the “Festival Pass”. To sign-up to volunteer and help host one of the rowdiest weekends of the year click here:

Check-In and Registration:
All members will be required to go through a quick onsite check-in/registration process at the Headwaters School that includes membership sign-up or verification, waivers, route selection, and festival pass bands. There will be several opportunities to register onsite, and you only need to check-in/register once for the entire weekend.

Schedule of Events:

We'll kick things off Friday January 26th with bonfire and carb loading pasta dinner Come early and catch up with old friends... and meet some new ones. We'll even throw in some acoustic campfire tunes!

Friday Schedule:
5pm: Event Grounds open at the Headwaters School for first come, first serve camping and parking.
5pm-9pm: Onsite Check-In/Registration Opens at the Headwaters School
7pm-9pm: Dinner is served at the Headwaters School including a carb heavy pasta, salad and bread.
7pm-11pm: We’ll stoke up a communal camp fire to gather round and warm your sole with frosty brews and some cool campfire tunes.

Saturday features "The Buffalo Headwaters Challenge" Rides. A supported back-country riding experiences with 500 of your closest friends! Plus, three meals, live music, and post-ride shenanigans!

Saturday Schedule:
7am-9am: Onsite Check-In/Registration Opens at the Headwaters School
7am-9am: Breakfast is served at the Headwaters School including hot oatmeal with all the fixing and fruit
9am: MANDATORY Riders Meetings at the outdoor stage
9:30am: “The Challenge Rides”! Neutral Roll-Out lead by Adventure Subaru starting with “Full Challenge” Riders.
1pm-5pm: Lunch is served at the Headwaters School featuring the event favorite grilled cheese and tomato soup provided from our friends from the Buffalo Outdoor Center!
6pm: We’ll crank up live music, a warm fire, cold brews and rowdy good times!
7pm-9pm: Dinner served at the Headwaters School

Sunday January 28th features the “Hoot N’ Holler” Funduro! A dayful of shuttle services taking riders to the tops of some of the largest descents in the Ozarks and letting gravity take over from there! After a challenging day of climbing on Saturday, this is the perfect way to end one of the years rowdiest weekends!

Sunday Schedule:
7am-9am: Onsite Check-In/Registration Opens at Headwaters School
7am-9am: Breakfast is served at the Headwaters School featuring hot off the griddle pancakes, fruit, and more!
9am: MANDATORY Riders Meeting at the outdoor stage
9:30am: “The Hoot N’ Holler” Funduro Rides! We will have shuttle service available to take you to the tippy top of some of the biggest descents in the Ozarks and let gravity take over from there! Spend the day catching shuttles with a “Funduro” experience!
10am-2pm: Shuttle service

Couple notes:

-The Headwaters School is located in Red Star about 50 miles east of Fayetteville, Arkansas on Highway 16 at County Road 3605 (on the left if coming from Fayetteville).
-Cell reception is spotty at best. Not that you'll have much time to be trolling the social webs with all the fun you'll be having anyway.
-Due to lack of reception, cash or check only on event grounds. We will not have the availability to process credit cards so if you don't sign up as a member, “Friends of the OORC”, or purchase your “Festival Pass” before heading out, you'll want to bring an alternate form of payment.
-Plenty of tent camping available. No generators please... people will sleep. If your traveling via RV we will have specific parking areas available that are flat...ish, but there are no hookups available on the main grounds. There are areas within kinda close proximity that offer hookups and cabin rentals.
-Please leave the pups at home. We love them trail dogs too, but for liability we ask that they sit this one out.
-Although a couple aid stations are available on the routes, we ask that riders approach the Challenge as an unsupported adventure ride and carry with them the tubes, tools, hydration and nutrition needed to get back. The courses will be marked, but this is Mountain Biking in the Ozark Mountain back country.


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  • 2018 Buffalo Headwaters Challenge (includes private property)

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    41.5 miles
    4,675 ft
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    2,566 ft
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