Ozark Outdoor Foundation, Arkansas Children’s Northwest announce OZ CX festival built around 2022 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup

FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. (July 20, 2022) – In January, Northwest Arkansas was on the world stage when Fayetteville hosted the Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. Building on the success of that historic event, Ozark Outdoor Foundation and Arkansas Children’s Northwest announced today that a weekend festival, with the sport at its center, will raise funds and awareness for the hospital and its mission to heal Arkansas children.

Dubbed OZCX, the weekend of Oct. 14-16 will feature the 2022 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup and is expected to draw cyclists from more than 25 countries. Walmart will again be the lead sponsor, said Mike Spivey Ozark Outdoor Foundation president and CEO.

“In addition to spectator-friendly professional cyclo-cross racing, the OZCX festival weekend includes an engaging industry-packed expo and participatory and amateur experiences – including community focused shenanigans like the OZCX Costumed Streets Sprints, Corporate and Community Relays, and the OZ KIDS Cross event,” Spivey said.

With food trucks, music and the activities for guests of all ages, Spivey said the weekend will be a party with a purpose.

That purpose is personified by 10-year-old Dash Thompson of Fayetteville. Dash is one of fewer than 30 people in the world diagnosed with Basilicata-Akhtar syndrome and among the more than 200,000 children served by the hospital in Northwest Arkansas. When Arkansas Children’s Northwest opened in Springdale in 2018, Dash was able to see all his specialists just minutes from home cutting back on visits to the hospital’s Little Rock campus about three hours away.

“Arkansas Children’s has been a godsend to our family,” said Dash’s mom, Michael Ann Thompson. “It was a long and stressful journey just getting to the point where we knew a diagnosis. They have provided us with compassionate care from the outset and having the Northwest Arkansas campus has been a tremendous benefit to our family. I couldn’t be more grateful and I hope people will consider donating to this worthy cause to help families like ours who just want to see our children heal and thrive.”

Shannon Hendrix, senior vice president and chief administrator with Arkansas Children’s Northwest said proceeds from OZCX and any other contributions, regardless of size, will help the hospital provide care close to home for children in the region.

“No Arkansas child is ever turned away from Arkansas Children's, but reaching every child requires support from the entire Arkansas community,” Hendrix said. “We are so grateful to have been selected as the nonprofit partner for this exciting event and look forward to cheering on the racers as they battle it out in Northwest Arkansas.”

Also attending the press conference was Stacy Hurst, Arkansas’s Secretary of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. Hurst noted that last year’s UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup was a boon for Northwest Arkansas and helped shine an international spotlight on The Natural State.

“We’re excited to again welcome cyclists from around the world to our state and our Northwest Arkansas region,” Hurst said. “The Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships held earlier this year cemented Arkansas’s national reputation as a world-class destination for cycling, and this event will build on that positive momentum. We at the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism appreciate organizations like Ozark Outdoor Foundation and Experience Fayetteville for helping to promote our great state as a tourism destination and outdoor recreation hub. We are proud to do what we can to help them execute a successful event.”

About the Ozark Outdoor Foundation

Ozark Outdoor Foundation is a charitable organization that creates healthy and enriching outdoor recreational experiences in Arkansas that honor and celebrate the natural beauty of the Ozarks and elevate the region as a better place to work, live, and play. To fulfill the mission, Ozark Outdoor Foundation partners with organizations to host, create, and operate a variety of outdoor recreational events in Arkansas. From world-class championship caliber races to fun outdoor family events, the foundation aims to position Arkansas as a premier outdoor recreation destination where all are welcome regardless of ability. More at: www.ozarkfoundation.org.

About Arkansas Children's

Arkansas Children's is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas' more than 700,000 children. The private, non-profit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs — all focused on fulfilling a promise to define and deliver unprecedented child health. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is a 336-bed, Magnet-recognized facility in Little Rock operating the state’s only Level I pediatric trauma center; the state's only burn center; the state's only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit; the state's only pediatric intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric surgery program with Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons (ACS); the state’s only magnetoencephalography (MEG) system for neurosurgical planning and cutting-edge research; and the state's only nationally recognized pediatric transport program. Arkansas Children’s Hospital is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in seven pediatric specialties (2022—2023): Cancer, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Pulmonology and Urology. Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the first and only pediatric hospital in the Northwest Arkansas region, is a level IV pediatric trauma center. ACNW operates a 24-bed inpatient unit; a surgical unit with five operating rooms; outpatient clinics offering over 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; occupational therapy services; and Northwest Arkansas' only pediatric emergency department, equipped with 30 exam rooms. Generous philanthropic and volunteer engagement has sustained Arkansas Children's since it began as an orphanage in 1912, and today ensures the system can deliver on its promise of unprecedented child health. To learn more, visit archildrens.org.

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