ozarks sunrise
(Photo/RN Photo Midwest)

Bentonville Strikes Again: ‘Expedition Ozark’ Joins Adventure Racing World Series

Northwest Arkansas continues to become one of the country’s premier outdoor recreation destinations, now joining the elite ranks of the adventure racing circuit in 2023.

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Mountain bikers, hikers, and fly fishers — among others — already claim Bentonville, Ark., as an outdoor hub of sorts. And last week, the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) formally acknowledged the heartland city’s prestige as well.

Beginning in 2023, officially April 3-8, the Expedition Ozark race will join the ARWS family as a World Championship qualifier. In so doing, Bentonville will become the fourth stop on the ARWS World circuit in North America.

“We are excited to make this announcement, as we believe the Expedition Ozark race will showcase the rugged beauty of the Ozark region to the best adventure racers in the world and bring the global spotlight again to Northwest Arkansas after the successful 2022 Walmart UCI World Cyclo-Cross Championships put our region on the international stage for cycling,” Ozark Outdoor Foundation president and CEO Michael Spivey said at a press conference Friday.

Currently, 17 destinations host races on the ARWS qualifier circuit, including Canada, Panama, and Oregon in North America. Each qualifier round sets a unique expedition course of 500 km or more. There, mixed-gender teams of four compete for 3-7 days of nonstop racing in the disciplines of trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, navigation, and more.

Expedition Ozark Joins Adventure Racing World Series

The announcement will further elevate Northwest Arkansas into the limelight, as it attracts both racers and fans from around the globe. Well over 300 teams compete in the ARWS circuit, representing six continents.

Many of the details around the Ozark Expedition race will remain secret until the day before the event. But race director Danny Collins confirmed trekking, orienteering, packrafting/paddling, and climbing/rappelling will be necessary to complete the 5-day challenge.

“We endeavor to make our races unique by highlighting the most beautiful parts of each country to the world,” said ARWS CEO Heidi Mueller, who selected Expedition Ozark to join the series in 2023.

“Whether it is ocean coasts or riverbanks, forests or jungles, sandy deserts or rocky mountains, racers are always excited to tackle the unique challenges of every course and in doing so, they provide exciting entertainment for spectators watching from around the world.”

Look for Expedition Ozark to take the world stage April 3-8, 2023. Learn more – and register! — at ExpeditionOzark.com.

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Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.