(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Caraway's Fourth of July Celebration 2007 marked the 61st anniversary of the community picnic drawing a large crowd with activities for all ages. The day was kicked off with a parade and flag raising ceremony. In the spirit of the holiday, parade participants decorated antique cars, trucks, tractors, floats, four-wheelers, and horses in red, white and blue. The parade was led by Mayor Barry Riley and family with local police vehicles, fire trucks, search and rescue vehicles and others participating in the parade.
Parade winners in the seven divisions are:
Antique Cars -- Asa Boatman of Caraway, 1954 Ford, first place; Dan Staggs of Monette, a 1939 Plymouth, second place; Carl Martin of Tyronza, 1949 Ford; third place.
Antique Trucks -- John Boatman of Caraway, first place; Gary Davis of Caraway, second place; Joe Henderson of Monette, third place.
Antique Tractors -- Gary Davis of Caraway, 1953 Ford golden Jubilee, first place; Rudy Anderson of Caraway, a 1965 Cub IH, second place; Dan Dunkerson of Black Oak, 1948 W.D. Allis Chalmers, third place.
ATV's -- Shania Junyor, first place, Kimberly Junyor, second place; Brian Anderson, third place.
Floats -- Caraway First Baptist Church, first place; Rivervale Baptist Church, second place; Dollar General of Caraway, third place.
Motorcycles -- Jacky Price, 2005 Black Harley Davison, first place; Mitchell Hensley, a 2005 Honda, second place; Corry Price, a 2005 Honda, third place.
Horses -- Chaney McClain of Caraway, first place; Heaven Meyer of Caraway, second place; Dan Norris of Bay, third place.
A flag raising ceremony followed the parade with Ricky Waugh and members of the Caraway Police Department presenting the colors. Steven Sanders sang the National Anthem.
Area veterans and members of the military service were recognized in a special ceremony. Over 200 names were called in honor of and in memory of the many dedicated members of the military for their sacrifices. Bernard Berry, member of the Caraway Lions Club, presented veterans or family members present with a red, white and blue pin in their honor.
Each year the Caraway Lions Club chooses an outstanding person from the community to be recognized at the annual celebration as the "Person of the Year."
Gary Fletcher made the presentation to this year's Man of the Year, Merrett Emery.
The plaque was inscribed:
From farming to fixing cars, from rodeos to family
You do it all -- a 24 hour man always on call
You're always willing to help, you never say no
You've extended a helping hand to so many unknown
Without you, Rodeo Heritage could not carry on in Caraway
Cowboy Bibles have touched many because of your faith
You put your all in God, your family, and your community
You are an inspiration to many and everything to your children
You are a great dad and even greater pepaw, that's clear
Merrett Emery: You are the Man of the Year!
Caraway Lions Club
July 4, 1007
Entertainment at the bandstand included The Regeneration Gospel Group and Jeff Knowlton and the Cherokee Rose Band.
Harold Browning manned the drawings throughout the day. Browning was surprised by his daughters and grandchildren with a special recognition plaque for his 45 years of service to the Caraway Fourth of July celebration.
"He has always loved being part of the Caraway Fourth of July Celebration," Christy Booth (Mr. Browning's daughter) said. "He loves his family, Caraway, and his country."
The tractor show has become a Caraway Fourth tradition. This is the 11th year for the Bottom Land Tractor Club to sponsor the display.
President Gary Fletcher said the 2007 show is one of the biggest ones ever.
"We appreciate everyone who participates in the popular show," Fletcher said.
Winners in the different categories are:
President's Choice -- 1989 (9180) Case IH, 4-wheel drive owned by Larry Dunkerson of Black Oak.
Best of show -- 1944 Farmall A owned by Doug Reams of Milligan Ridge.
First place -- 1953 Ford golden Jubilee owned by Gary Davis of Caraway.
Second place -- 1948 Allis Chalmers WD owned by Dan Dunkerson of Black Oak.
Third place -- 1951 IH Cub Low-Boy owned by Kevin Jones of Lepanto.
Award of Excellence -- 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee owned by Bill Foster of Caraway.
Achievement Award -- 1957 Farm Truck owned by Gary Fletcher of Caraway.
Participation Awards -- Tom Schoolfield of Caraway for his exhibit of antique tools; Carl Blackwell of Wynne for his antique engine display; Rudy Anderson of Caraway for his 1965 IH Cub; and Miller Brothers Farms for the 206 John Deere 8420.
Visiting in the afternoon were dignitaries Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Representative Marion Berry.
A horseshoe tournament, sponsored by the Caraway Search and Rescue Team, was held throughout the day.
Through the joint efforts of the City of Caraway, Caraway Park Commission, Caraway Lions Club and Rodeo Association, a two evening rodeo was held inside the ball park.
"This is the second year for the return of the rodeo in conjunction with the Fourth of July Celebration," Berry said. "We had a full house on Wednesday evening for the rodeo."
Events included bull riding, bareback riding, calf roping, saddle bronc, steer wrestling and women's barrel racing. Several local participants competed in the events as well as the opening ceremonies. Also on hand for the rodeo was Candace Carper of California, Miss Rodeo 2007. Mandy Emery Young of Caraway took part in the opening flag ceremonies.
Cowboy Church services were held preceding the rodeo on Wednesday evening featuring Kevin Knox with the Higher Trails Cowboy Church in Jonesboro. Special guests were Clyde and Elsie Frost of Lane, Okla. The Frosts' son, Lane, was a 1987 world champion bull rider who died in a rodeo accident in Cheyenne, Wyo., in 1989. His life was featured in the 1994 movie "8 Seconds." Mrs. Frost gave her son's life story and talked about his accepting Jesus. The Frosts signed copies of The Cowboy New Testament following the church services.
Prizes were given away following the rodeo. Caraway concluded the day with a spectacular fireworks display.
Berry said rain earlier in the week slowed down attendance to the annual carnival but the weather and crowd were good for the Fourth of July.
"We had a successful Fourth of July and we appreciate everyone who participates donates and attends each year," Berry said. "We do need more area volunteers to help get the park area ready and help with other activities so we can continue the annual event for years to come."