Paul Martin chosen Caraway Person of the Year
Caraway's Fourth of July celebration marked the 63rd anniversary of the event. The Caraway picnic, carnival, and rodeo draw a large crowd each year with many people "coming home" to join in the day's activities.
Each year the Caraway Lions Club chooses an outstanding person from the community to be recognized as the Person of the Year. This year's award went to Paul Martin. Gary Fletcher presented the plaque honoring him as the 2009 Caraway Man of the Year.
The Caraway picnic and rodeo is presented each year through the efforts of the City of Caraway, Caraway Lions Club, Caraway Park Commission and Caraway Rodeo Arena Association.
On Saturday morning the parade kicked off the day's events with police vehicles, fire trucks, rescue units, ambulances, floats, old cars and trucks, tractors, four wheelers, horses, and motorcycles all dressed up in red, white and blue. The parade was led by Mayor Barry Riley and Bill Foster.
Winners of the parade were:
Antique cars -- Rudy Woodsmall, Paragould, 1930 Model A Ford, first place; James Schoolfield, Kenton, Tenn., 1922 Model T Ford convertible, second place; Billy G. Shirley, Caraway, 1923 Ford T-bucket, third place.
Trucks -- Brian Wells, Caraway, 1992 Chevy Silverado, first place; Search and Rescue GMC, second place; Jennie Fletcher, 1950 Studebaker pick-up, third place.
Antique tractors -- Carl Blackwell, Wynne, antique hit and miss engine, first place; Gary Fletcher, Caraway, 1957 Garden Master, second place.
4-Wheelers -- Heather Shasteen, Caraway, Artic Cat with trailer, first place; Mellanie Gyngard, Caraway, Easy Go Golf Cart with children, second place; Patrick Bard, Caraway, Honda 4-wheeler and Freedom 4-wheeler, third place.
Floats -- Caraway Diamond Ball Team, first place; New Hope VBS, Caraway, second place.
Motorcycles -- Brody Foster, Brookland, Harley Davidson Rocker C, first place; Wes Baxter of Jonesboro, Harley Rocker C, second place; Timothy Augustine, Manila, Yamaha VStar, and Clayton Douglas, Black Oak, Harley Davidson Fat Bob, tied for third place.
Horses -- Merle Bard, Caraway, first place; Edward Sanders, Caraway, second place; and Ralph Bell, Bono, third place.
Judges for the parade were Gary Fletcher, Keri Watson, Jerry and Ann Vaughn.
Fletcher gave a special thank you to judges, Bernard Berry, Bill Foster, Paul Martin, and Jeff Rea for getting the grounds ready for the event.
Honoring the area's veterans has become a tradition of the Caraway Fourth of July celebration. Rick Stevens announced over 200 names in honor and memory of the men and women who have served and are serving in the military. Veterans present or family members were presented with certificates and a lapel pin.
"This is what the celebration is all about," Stevens said.
Representative Ray Kidd was present for the parade and spoke briefly thanking the military men and women for serving.
The activities included entertainment at the bandstand throughout the day, drawings, food booths, horse shoe tournament, bake sales, two nights of rodeo, prize giveaways and a spectacular display of fireworks.
Participating in the parade and the opening ceremonies of the rodeo was 2009 Miss Rodeo USA Jamie Virden from Washington. The rodeo events included barrel racing, steer wrestling, calf roping, bareback riding, and bull riding.