Caraway Fourth of July picnic and rodeo activities planned

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Caraway will host its 63rd Fourth of July picnic with activities starting June 30 continuing through July 4.

The Bluff City Carnival will arrive in Caraway Tuesday, June 30. Arm band nights will be Wednesday and Friday.

The annual event is a Fourth of July tradition throughout the Buffalo Island area. It is put together by the Caraway Rodeo Arena Association, Caraway Lions Club, City of Caraway and the Caraway Park Commission.

The annual Caraway parade will be held Saturday morning. Line-up will begin at 8 a.m. at the Riverside Junior High School and the parade will begin at 9 a.m.

Miss Rodeo USA, Jamie Virden, of Ellensburg, Wash., will be participating in the parade and opening ceremonies of the rodeo.

Following the parade, there will be a flag raising ceremony, recognition of Caraway veterans, and entertainment at the bandstand with drawings throughout the day.

The Caraway Community Rodeo will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings in the ballpark in conjunction with activities July 3-4. Friday night rodeo action will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday night rodeo will begin at 6:30 p.m. Both nights will offer a full rodeo. Following the Saturday night rodeo, drawings will be held for prizes. Tickets from the Saturday night rodeo will be used for the drawings.

Rodeo tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Merett Emery, chairman for the Caraway Community Rodeo, said the rodeo is a popular event and draws a large crowd.

Emery said Mark Johnson with Johnson Rodeo Company in Jackson, Mo., is sanctioned with the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) and is hired to bring the rodeo to Caraway. Johnson is originally from Caraway. The event is featured in rodeo magazines and cowboys from all over, as well as local riders, compete in the Caraway Community Rodeo.

"We've had riders from Canada and other distances who follow the IPRA circuit to ride in Caraway," Emery said.

His older son, Michael, and daughter, Mandy, got him and his wife, Michelle, involved in rodeos during their growing up years. They both were involved in horse shows and competed during their high school years. Their younger son, Grayson, 6, has started barrel racing and enjoying horses as well. Grayson and their grandson, Mason, 4, are looking forward to participating in the parade and the grand entry of the rodeo this year. Their granddaughter, Maggie, is only 1-1/2 years old but she already likes horses.

"There is a lot of local interest and having the rodeo in Caraway gives our local riders the opportunity to compete close to home," Merett said. "It is a lot of work but it is worth it. We are very appreciative to our sponsors. If it was not for them, it would not be possible. We have sponsors from all across Buffalo Island, Jonesboro and Blytheville. Diane Powell and Caraway Mayor Barry Riley help in gathering sponsors for the rodeo."

Following the rodeo and drawing for the prizes, a spectacular fireworks show will be held. Caraway has a reputation for having one of the great fireworks display which seems to get bigger every year.

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