The 10th annual Buffalo Island Relay for Life was held on June 24 with a sports theme, "Teaming up for a Cure." The afternoon showers did not dampen the spirits of the teams and citizens who gathered at the Leachville City Park to participate in the event.
Following the survival sign-up, the National Anthem was sung by Ramona VanCleave.
Members of the Steering Committee were introduced. Chairman for the event is Brenda Matheny with Rebecca Clowers serving as co-chairman. Other committee members include Team Recruitment, Janice Edgin; Sponsorship, Brenda Matheny; Publicity, Revis Blaylock; Survivorship, Sharon McKinney; Hospitality, Tammy Spikes; Luminaries, Rebecca Clowers; Activities and Wall of Tribute, Paula Bowen and Rebecca Bowen; Accounting, Amber McCoy, Southern Bank; Logistics, Bill Helter; Decorations, Darlene Hetler; Helpers, Dale Blaylock, Karen Wallace, Katherine Clowers; Program Book, Tina Matheny; Community Rep, Jackie Wallis; ACS Program Rep, Erica Morris.
Each year Honorary Survivors are chosen from each town across Buffalo Island to represent their town and lead the victory lap. The 2011 Honorary Survivors are James Williams, Caraway; Carolyn Caldwell and DeAnna Phillips of Lake City; Scout Lyerly of Black Oak; Linda Sims of Manila; Dora Biggerstaff of Leachville; and Janette Brandon of Monette. All other cancer survivors attending were recognized. A balloon release was held just before the survivors started their first victory lap of the evening. Family members joined the survivors for the second lap and everyone joined for a third lap around track.
Several teams entertained with skits before the luminary ceremony.
The luminaries were lit and names of cancer survivors and names of family and friends who have lost their battle were read. As the luminaries (candles placed in white bags around the walking track with names in honor of survivors and in memory of those who have lost their battles) were lit.
Fireworks were provided by the Cave Dwellers of Leachville. Dalton Lewis came form Cardwell with his barrel train and the kids enjoyed the rides. Spud the Clown came from Jonesboro and made balloon animals for the children.
A lot of fundraising activities take place on the way to the Relay for Life. Matheny expressed her appreciation to the committee members, teams, sponsors and everyone who helped make the event a great success.
Teams and captains included Honeycypress Razorbacks "Rootin for a Cure -- Hog Wild" (Shirley Thompson); Kay's Cheering Mustang Grannies "Yelling for a Cure" (Kay Stags; "Cotton's Funnel Cake Batters, "Hittin' for a Cure" (Cotton Morris); 4-H Mighty Ducks, For a Cure (Mindy Simpson); "New Harmony Kickers, "Tackling Cancer" (Stacie booth and Tracey Bohannon; New Harmony Sluggers, "Striking at Cancer" (Revis Blaylock); Sassy Fighting Mustangs "Fouling for a Cure," (Karen Wallace; Southern Bank's Southern Cinco (Amber McCoy); Southern Belles & Beaus, "Tackling Cancer One yard at a Time," (BJ and Teresa Young; Heritage Home Run Hitters, "Grand Slamming for a Cure, "Brandy Bowman; Kickers, "Kicking Cancer for PA (Pam Sullivan); Manila Family Music Linebackers, "Kicking Cancer" (Sharon McKinney); Leachville Police, Fire Department and First Responders, "Teaming up for a Cure" (Keith Evans and Mark Johnson); "The sonic Crew Pitchers, "Strike Out Cancer" (Matt Davis); Leachville Methodist Sonshine Hoops, "Shooting for a Cure" (Rita Wildy and Mari Hayden); Tammy's Hospitality Dugout, "Clear the Dugout for a Cure" (Tammy Spikes; BIC Jr. and Sr. Lady Mustangs, "Shootin for a Good Cause" (Coach Fowler).
Several drawings and a silent auction was held throughout the night.
Trophies and plaques were presented in several categories. This year's winners include:
Best Campsite -- Southern Cinco, winner; Honey Cypress Razorbacks, first runner-up; New Harmony Kickers, second runner-up.
Best Team Spirit -- New Harmony Kickers, winner; Southern Cinco, first runner-up; Cotton's Funnel Cake (Cotton's Funnel Cake Batters), second runner-up.
Best Grub -- New Harmony Sluggers, winner; Cotton's Funnel Cakes, first runner-up; Southern Belles and Beaus, second runner-up; Southern Cinco (popcorn) honorable mention.
Best Spirit Stick -- Southern Cinco, winner; Marie George, first runner-up; Honey Cypress Razorbacks, second runner-up.
Best Entertainment -- New Harmony Kickers/Sluggers, winner; Southern Cinco, first runner-up; Honey Cypress Razorbacks (calling the Hogs), second runner-up.
2011 Most Luminaries sold by individual -- Brenda Matheny (269). Most Luminaries sold by a team -- Heritage Home Run Hitters (96).
Most money raised at a single event -- BIC Jr. and Sr. High Lady Mustangs, shooting free throws for a cure, winner; Leachville Methodist Sonshine Hoops (hamburger supper), first runner-up; heritage Home Run Hitters (bake sale), second runner-up.
Most money raised overall -- New Harmony Sluggers, winner; Manila Family Music Linebackers, runner-up.
Jackie Wallis, community representative encouraged the committee members and team leaders throughout the year preparing for the grand finale. He was a "good sport" and made a challenge to the Buffalo Island committee members. Wallis said he would let the committee members cut his hair off if they raised over $20,000.
"We accepted the challenge and exceeded our goal," Matheny said. "Jackie is a man of his word and even brought the clippers. Shelia Spurlock and Paula Bowen cut off his hair."
Wallis said it was worth it and he was happy to give up his hair.
"I would like to thank everyone for all of the help and support for the Buffalo Island Relay for Life this year as well as in years past," Matheny said. "it takes a combined effort of all the communities, steering committee members, teams, corporate sponsors and staff to do this event. As Relay Chairman, I just want to personally thank everyone. No matter how or what you did, we could not have done it without your help and support. Thanks to you all again and God bless you."
Matheny admits she was a little concerned in the afternoon after all of the luminaries were placed around the track and it started raining. It did quit after a couple of hours and the bags were beat down. Later the sun came out and it was a wonderful evening.
"We can't control the weather but everything worked out good and we were able to get some of the bags to stand back up," Matheny said. "Katherine Clowers was the committee chair over that and when they lit the candles almost everyone burned and it look beautiful as they lit the track. We met our goal and went over. Our community rep Jackie Wallis had to let us cut his hair off. That will teach him to challenge us. He was a good sport about it and I appreciate everything he did to help us in our Relay."