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article imageBilly Sims Barbeque expands into Arkansas Special

By Kay Mathews     May 1, 2014 in Business
Bentonville - Billy Sims, Heisman Trophy winner and legendary running back for the Detroit Lions, has been in the barbeque business since 2004. The Billy Sims Barbeque franchise just opened its newest store in Northwest Arkansas and Sims was there to greet fans.
What do football players do after retiring? In the case of Billy Sims, he divided his time between volunteering with nonprofit organizations and working in sports marketing. Then, along with a business partner, Sims opened the first Billy Sims Barbeque in Tulsa, Okla. in 2004.
Sims spent his junior high and high school days in Hooks, Tx. where he became "one of the most heavily recruited athletes in the nation." In 1975, University of Oklahoma (OU) Coach Barry Switzer recruited Sims and the rest is football history.
In 1978, Sims finished the season at OU "with 1,762 rushing yards and the Heisman Trophy." He then entered in the 1980 National Football League (NFL) draft and "was the number one overall draft pick going to the Detroit Lions." Sims's skills as a running back transformed the team and helped lead the Lions to the playoffs in 1982 and 1983.
Sims retired from pro football in 1985 and eventually started the Billy Sims Barbeque operation in 2004.
At the opening of his 41st restaurant, located in Bentonville, Ark., Sims was greeting fans of football and barbeque and signing autographs on everything from football memorabilia to menus.
Billy Sims greeted fans of football and BBQ at the Billy Sims Barbeque-Bentonville location on April...
Billy Sims greeted fans of football and BBQ at the Billy Sims Barbeque-Bentonville location on April 24, 2014.
When asked why he chose to open his first Arkansas location in Bentonville, Sims said, "I was almost a Hog!" He went on to explain that Frank Broyles, coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1958 to 1976, was among those trying to recruit him in 1975. "I've spent a lot of time in this area, and I know people here like good barbeque."
General Manager Melody Green said that there had been a "constant stream of customers coming in" during Sims's three-hour in-store appearance that began at noon on April 24. She was pleased with the turn-out and so was Sims. He was all-smiles as he embraced fans, posed for pictures, shared memories of his legendary football career, and talked about his passion for barbeque.
Billy Sims greeted fans of football and BBQ at the Billy Sims Barbeque-Bentonville location on April...
Billy Sims greeted fans of football and BBQ at the Billy Sims Barbeque-Bentonville location on April 24, 2014.
Customers seemed to enjoy the array of choices on the menu, from sandwiches to combo plates to baked potatoes and chili.
Billy Sims Barbecue-Bentonville is located at 3511 S.E. J St. Hours of operation are 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week. For more information about the Bentonville location, call 479-268-3568.
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