May is Western Heritage Month
Ready to Rodeo Reception
The history of the Old Fort Days Rodeo will be on display throughout the month of May. Championship saddles, old photographs, trophies and much more rodeo memorabilia recall the long history of the rodeo. The exhibit open with a reception from 5-7 p.m. with guest speaker Denny Flynn, a champion bull rider and director of Kay Rodgers Park, speaking at 6 p. m. Charleston native Flynn will speak on the history of the rodeo in Fort Smith as well as his experience as a champion bull rider. Induction into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2010 crowns a lifetime of achievement for Flynn, known as the most talented bull rider to win a world title. Flynn qualified for the National Finals Rodeo ten times from 1974 through 1982 and set a record for the most bull riding average titles won. In 1979, his 98-point ride on Red Lightning set a record that stood for 12 years and remains the second highest score in Pro Rodeo history. His 1974 92-point score on a bull named Ed Pavik held the record for 15 years. Flynn has also been inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, formerly known as the Cowboy Hall of Fame. The popular Ready to Rodeo exhibit was created in 2002 featuring artifacts and images that explore the history and people who contributed to the annual Old Fort Days Rodeo. The first organized rodeo in Fort Smith was held at Andrews Field in 1934. Titled the "Pawnee Bill Rodeo," Major Gordon W. Lillie appeared in the parade and the grand entry of each show. Today, the Old Fort Days Rodeo is one of the oldest in Arkansas and a premier event. The reception and program is free with museum admission. $5 adults, $2 children, under age 6 free. 5-7 p.m. Fort Smith Museum of History, 320 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith, Ark. 479-783-7841 fortsmithmuseum.com
First Thursday, Downtown Fort Smith
Many downtown Fort Smith businesses stay open late and present live music, treats and shopping for the entire family. May 1-31 Lawbreakers & Peacemakers Shoot-Outs and Stories For Western Heritage Month, the Fort Smith Trolley Museum hosts the Lawbreakers & Peacemakers for Old West skits and demonstrations on weekends during May. These period-dressed outlaws and lawmen present authentic and exciting action, including (safe) shoot-outs and arrests, reminiscent of the work of lawmen of Parker-era Fort Smith and the American west, and explain their roles to the audience, especially kids. The Trolley Museum is also open for trolley rides and learning about the rolling stock on display there. Free demonstrations. Trolley rides require a token. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fort Smith Trolley Museum, 100 South 4th Street, Fort Smith, Ark. 479-783-0205 fstm.org
Hanging Judge Cutting Horse Competition
Witness the ultimate partnership of horse and rider in some of the most fluid, skilled, equestrian sports - a cutting horse competition. This real-life partnership is used by working cowboys to “cut” a particular cow out of a herd, without a rope. In a cutting horse competition, horse and rider select and separate a cow out of a small group. The cow then tries to return to its herd; the rider loosens the reins ("puts his hand down" in the parlance) and leaves it entirely to the horse to keep the cow separated, a job the best horses do with keen intelligence and style. Horse and rider have a time limit and usually “cut” more than one cow. Competitors are vying for more than $100,000 in prize money. Admission is free to watch this engrossing competition where the horses are the stars and the best riders appear to hang on for the ride. Kay Rodgers Park, 4400 Midland Boulevard, Fort Smith, Ark. 479-783-6176 kayrodgerspark.com
Vaqueros/Caballeros Costume CONTEST
La Huerta Mexican Restaurant invites adults and kids to a Spanish cowboy costume contest, featuring live music and prizes, judged by a selected panel. Free. 6 p.m. La Huerta, 400 Garrison Avenue, Fort Smith.
Safe Kids! Fair 2014
The 7th Annual Safe Kids! Fair is hosted by the U.S. Marshals Museum and Arvest Bank to give families the opportunity to learn ways to protect themselves and learn how to talk about sensitive personal safety topics. DNA LifePrint identity kits will be made with fingerprints, palm prints, photographs and DNA swabbing. The Fort Smith Fire Department, Sebastian County Sheriff's Department, Cox Communications, the KFSM Weather Team and related agencies participate. At 4 p.m. a concert by Kindersongs features children's music from their “Safety” CD. Arvest Bank provides free hot dogs and chips. Children will receive a t-shirt. Free. 3-6 p.m. Ross Pendergraft Park, 200 Garrison Avenue, Fort Smith, Ark. 479-709-3766 usmarshalsmuseum.com
Ed Hunter Stagecoach Copyright 2014
Western Heritage Art Show
A prestigious gathering of regional artists will exhibit and sell original art depicting subjects and styles related to the western frontier, prairie, Native American genres and cowboys. Some of the distinguished participating artists include Ed Hunter, Ralph Irwin, Sonya K. Ayres, Bill Hart, George Kountoupis, Dell Eddins, Patsy Lane and Peter Lippincott. The exhibit will be held at the historic Frisco Station, 100 Garrison Avenue, at the Fort Smith National Historic Site. Free admission. Parking is available at the station and at the municipal lot across Garrison Avenue.
Judge Parker’s Rope War
A community-wide tug o war bracket-style tournament featuring teams of ten consisting of community members, business and city leaders. Cost is $100 per 10-person team. Spectators and team supporters can watch for free! Family friendly event. High noon star time. Harry E. Kelley Park, North A Street and Riverfront Drive, Fort Smith, Ark. Enter your own team of 10 persons at ropewar.com.
Movies on the Green: The Cowboys
Enjoy a western movie on the UAFS Campus Green at UAFS, shown on a large outdoor screen with movie treats and seating on the green and Bell Tower steps. Take lawn chairs and watch the greatest Western film star, John Wayne, in this epic coming of age story. A crew of young, tenderfoot schoolboys are forced to become men to accomplish a cattle drive. Take some tissue - just a warning, no spoilers. Starring John Wayne, Slim Pickens, Roscoe Lee Browne and Bruce Dern in a role Wayne warned him not to take! Free. 8:30 p.m. UAFS Campus Green, 5210 Grand Avenue, Fort Smith.
Old Fort Days Futurity & Derby
Top barrel racing competition in the “world’s richest” event. The action starts for spectators at 9 a.m. May 22-23 with the exhibiting finals beginning at noon May from 9 a.m. with finals at 6 p.m. May 24. Free admission. Kay Rodgers Park, 4400 Midland Boulevard, Fort Smith.
Cowboy Mounted Shooting
The thrilling spectacle of professional mounted target shooting can be seen in an exhibition featuring local and national talent. Exciting! Free shows at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the U.S. Marshals Museum future site, North B Street and Riverfront Drive, Fort Smith.
Old Fort Days Kick-Off Free Concert - Heath Wright & the Hangmen
One night before rodeo events begin, there will be a free concert by Heath Wright of Vian, Okla. and a local band, the Hangment. Wright primarily tours with Ricochet and sometimes Restless Heart. The concert is at 8 pm. at the Kay Rodgers Park Expo building at 4400 Rodgers Avenue, Fort Smith.
Parade Day Pancake Breakfast
Old Fort Days 5K Colordash
Old Fort Days Rodeo Parade
A pancake breakfast featuring delicious bacon, sausage, and more will on the griddle at 7 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church Parish Hall, 22 North 13th Street, Fort Smith. May 26 Old Fort Days 5K Colordash In this community-wide fun race/walk, participants are provided a white shirt and then showered with colored starch powder at multiple stations throughout the race. Racers will start on Garrison Avenue right before the Old Fort Days Rodeo Parade for the enjoyment of the parade spectators. The Rodeo Parade starts immediately behind the runners. Hundreds of participants are expected. To sign up and for more details, go to thecolordash5k.com.