Thursday, April 24, 2008

Devil's Den State Park 4th of July: West Fork, Arkansas

Looking for a fun way to spend you're Fourth of July? Why not take a trip to Devil's Den State Park? They'll be hosting their 33rd Annual Devil's Den Games.

They will celebrate by having a softball and horseshoe tournament as well as many other games and best of all, they'll top off the event with an ice cream social. Admission is free.

For more information you can contact them at 479-761-3325 or email them at

The park everything from primitive camping to rustic CCC cabins available. There are several hiking trails. A free map that can be transferred to your GPS is on the web for the 14 mile long Butterfield Trail Loop if you're feeling adventurous. A park cafe and a swimming pool are open during summer months. You can also rent canoes, tandem kayaks, pedal boats and water bikes to cruise the lovely eight acre lake there.

Have a great trip!

Rodeo of the Ozarks: Springdale, Arkansas

The Rodeo of the Ozarks is not just a one night event. It starts with a Dinner and Dance on June 28th and ends with a PBR bull riding event on July 5th. Attendees come from all over the country. Some of them even travel the old fashioned way. By wagon train. Every year on June 25th wagons, buggies and horseback riders meet at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Harrison Arkansas and begin the 100 mile trek to the rodeo traveling at the speed of four miles per hour.

The John Shaddox wagon train members are hosted overnight by various families along their route and arrive in time for the July 1st parade (beginning at 3:00 p.m.) that officially kicks off the rodeo. A second parade is held on July 4th at 10:00 a.m. While there is no pre-registration required be sure to read all rules and regulations before participating.

I think the best place to view the parade is at the corner of 265 and Emma Avenue on the lawn of the Jones Center for Families. Bring a blanket or a folding chair and some sunscreen as this parade can last for more than an hour.

The Rodeo features Mutton Bustin' for children aged 4-6 years old and under 55 pounds. The youngsters ride sheep and are graded much in the same way cowboys are. Kids are required to wear a long sleeved shirt, jeans and appropriate footwear. Protective helmets are provided. Top riders move on to the next round ending with a finale on July 4th. Entries are limited to 25 per night and will be accepted beginning May 1st.

You can purchase tickets online and I highly recommend Buckle Club seating if it's in your budget. They also sell Buckle Club memberships packages that are not available online. These include tickets for all four nights of the rodeo, a meal, and free parking passes in the stadium each night. Please keep in mind that all ticket sales are final.

The will be unable to host their normal fireworks display this year but will have a line up of nationally known singers performing a concert after each nights rodeo. Keep an eye on their website for the celebrities names.

The Shiloh Museum will be hosting an Old West Film Festival as well.

June 28 Rodeo Dinner & Dance, Rodeo Community Center, 6:30 – 11:00 p.m.

July 1 Rodeo Parade – Parade begins at the rodeo grounds and proceeds west to downtown Springdale. 3:00 p.m.

July 1-4 64th Annual Rodeo of the Ozarks – gates open at 6:00 p.m. nightly. Mutton Bustin’ begins at 6:30 p.m. Miss Rodeo of the Ozarks 2007 will be crowned on July 4.

July 4 Rodeo Parade - Parade begins at the rodeo grounds and proceeds west to downtown Springdale. 10:00 a.m.

July 5 Buckin’ In The Ozarks PBR Bull Riding, 7:30 p.m.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • No pets are allowed. Only service dogs for the disabled are allowed inside the arena.

  • No outside food or beverages are allowed.

  • No strollers are allowed due to space limitations.

  • Still photography cameras are allowed but no device that is capable of recording video is allowed inside including cell phones.

  • Smoking is not allowed in the seating area.

  • Parking on the grounds is $3.00 There is parking along Hwy 265 and at the Jones Center for Families. Shuttle buses will run in these areas.

Remember that the gates open at 6:00 p.m. and the Grand Entry starts at 7:30. Their events are sanctioned by the PRCA and WPRA so expect to see some great riding going on.

Have a great trip!

Schedule of events

Rules and regulations for participating in Rodeo of the Ozarks parade

The John Shaddox Wagon Train

Mutton Bustin' entries

Old West Film Festival

Parking, security, pets and strollers

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rte 66 Giant Rocker:Cuba Missouri

Cuba, MO On April 1, 4 miles west of Cuba, MO on Route 66, a rocking chair 42’4’’ feet tall was set in place beside the adjoining Fanning US 66 Outpost & General Store. The rocking chair is the brainchild of Outpost owner Dan Sanazaro, a guy with a “can do” attitude.

Sanazaro thought that the fledgling business that he and his wife Carolyn opened in February needed something to draw travelers to its unique combination of taxidermy, lodge style d├ęcor, sporting goods, and convenience items.

What better way to garner attention than a 46’ wood and steel rocking chair in the traditional Route 66 colors of black and white. Sanazaro thought it would be like one of the old Route 66 roadside attractions that drew travelers to businesses in the past.

To make his dream a reality, Sanazaro turned to local artist, soon-to-be engineer John Bland. Bland, who isn’t afraid of a challenge, drew a sketch of the chair and then drew the blue prints to scale. He took his plans to a civil engineer, who ran the plans through computer software to test the engineering specifications. Although Bland had no formal training as an engineer, his plans were off only by a fraction of an inch. With adjustments made, Sanazaro and Bland were ready to bring a builder on board.

For this step of the process, Sanazaro turned to long-time friend Joe Medwick, who had the equipment and know-how to make the rocking chair a reality. With 25 years of experience in welding, Medwick of 5M Welding and Excavation, knew that he could build the chair.

First, Medwick fabricated the rockers, which are 31 ½ feet long and weigh about 2000 pounds each. He moved the rockers to the Outpost and constructed the rest of the rocking chair there using eight and eleven inch steel pipe. Medwick measured, cut, and welded the frame on site with the frame lying on the ground. Artist Bland painted the Outpost logo, “Route 66 Rocker,” and “World’s Largest” on a wooden panel that serves as the rocker back. Painting mitts were used to prime the frame white, and a coat of black paint followed.

On April 1st, two cranes were summoned to lift the frame onto the rockers. With the crowd watching in fascination, the large frame moved through the air to the steel rockers. After some final adjustments and cutting, and with sparks flying, Medwick made the final welds.

The Route 66 Rocker now looms above the road to attract another generation of Route 66 travelers to wonder at what American ingenuity can do when three men with a dream come together.

The Outpost’s website is
. Although the site is still under construction, Dan and Carolyn can be emailed through the site. The phone number is 573-885-1474.