During the VIP Experience ride during the IMBA World Summit 2016 in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Saturday, November 12, 2016

Want $10K and a New Mountain Bike? Move to Arkansas

The latest move to attract new residents and top talent is sure to appeal to riders of all levels and disciplines.

Home of the 1,100-mile High Country Route and an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)-recognized mountain bike mecca, Arkansas already attracts riders from around the world. But the Natural State’s latest push to bring in new residents will surely make it even more appealing to cyclists.

The Life Works Here initiative seeks to attract transplants from around the U.S. to live and work in Northwest Arkansas. Sponsored by the Northwest Arkansas Council (NAC) with support from the Walton Family Foundation, the program will award $10,000 and a new bicycle — road or mountain — to accepted applicants.

“We’re offering top remote working talent — maybe you? — a $10,000 cash incentive to move to the region,” NAC said. “The funds will help with everything you need to set up your new life in Northwest Arkansas. In addition to $10,000, incentive recipients will be gifted a street or mountain bicycle to help you take advantage of the 162 miles of paved trails, the 37-mile Razorback Regional Greenway and the 322 miles of world-class mountain biking trails that have made outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area.”

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While NAC hasn’t placed a cap or set a number of awards, it committed to investing more than $1 million over the next 6 months through the initiative. And if cycling isn’t your thing, award recipients can opt for annual membership to a cultural institution, like theaters, museums, and more.

‘Life Works Here’: Why You Should Move to Arkansas

Slaughter Pen Trails Bentonville Arkansas
Riding at Slaughter Pen trails in Bentonville; photo credit: Scott Schroen

NAC notes that beyond the program incentives, there are practical reasons to consider moving to the region. It cites “one of the best costs of living” and a per-capita income that’s more than 14% higher than the national average.

Additionally, the site offers a handy cost-of-living calculator to show off how far your dollar will go in Arkansas compared to other major metropolitan areas.

To be eligible, applicants must be at least 24 years old, currently live outside Arkansas, have 2 years of work experience, and be employed full-time. And if selected, awardees must be able to relocate to Northwest Arkansas within 6 months.

Not familiar with the region? Northwest Arkansas includes outdoor hubs like Bentonville — an IMBA silver-level ride center — and Fayetteville, among others. Learn about all the region’s cities and key data here.

What are you waiting for? You’ve got nothing to lose by checking it out. And if you’re selected, let us know if you need a riding buddy!

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.