Highroller History

21 Feb

We hear it almost daily, “man you guys have been here forever. I got my first bike here back in ….”. We always smile and nod. “Yep we’ve been here a long time,” We reply.

Highroller Cyclery has been serving NWA area for a good long time. What does that mean though? I decided to dig a little deeper into our shop’s history and see what skeletons I could rustle up. I contacted Clay Bass, longtime owner of the Highroller from 1974 until 2006. I figured he could give me some info. Here’s what I came up with.

Highroller was started on February 15 in  1972 by Bobby Young and Dan Burton. However, the rich history of Highroller doesn’t start with the bike shop. The building was originally built in the 1930s as a grocery store which it remained until Johnson Plumbing used the building for their headquarters.  A motorcycle shop moved into the location in the 1970’s and the building was almost lost to a fire when a gas tank leak was ignited. Luckily all was not lost and our location in Downtown Fayetteville stands strong to this day. Well, OK the business is strong… the building is a little worse for wear.

In 1974 The Highroller was sold to Clay Bass a young man from Fort Smith with a desire to own his own business and control his own destiny.  Under his eye the Highroller grew to have the reputation of the go to bike shop in the area. The main focus early on was service and repair with some sales of new bicycle as well. This may explain the emphasis we place on service to this day, though we sell many more new bikes. Back in the beginning mechanics at the Highroller even repaired broken frames by welding and brazing.

The back of the shop. A long time ago.

In the 80’s this little thing called the mountain bike came along and we were on board! Highroller realized the benefits of fat tires early on and adopted them early on. Thanks to many of them the Ozarks are still one of the best places to ride mountain bikes in the US. These pictures have some of the states more famous cycling personalities in them from “back in the day” Are you in there?

Trialsin has come a long way.

Some early media.

In 2006 long time manager Chris Dillard bought the business from Clay and has nurtured the business to the highest level in its long history. Hiring only the most qualified staff and continuing to stock the industry’s best products, Highroller is poised to endure long into the future. Many other shops have come and gone throughout the years but the Highroller is still here, serving you like always.

Community events will be a big part of our buisness in the future

The shop has been here for so long and served many generations of cycling enthusiasts that the Highroller staff are always getting customers that tell us how they got their first bike in the store when they were a kid or about races back in the day. If you have a story about the Highroller we would love to hear about it. Email us your stories at highrollercyclery@gmail.com

Thanks for reading,



One Response to “Highroller History”

  1. Daniel March 6, 2011 at 3:26 am #

    I blogged about this subject myself recently, and it was a pleasure to read your take on it highrollercyclery. – cars2scrap.

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