LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Football is definitely back in Arkansas …including one of the biggest rivalry games in the state— the Salt Bowl.
Last year the event ended abruptly after a false alarm sent people scrambling. This scare was definitely a topic of conversation, but the main theme was the support both schools have for their team and how this rivalry game is something special for Saline County.
Alyssa MCelfresh, a Benton fan, said this is the game of the year for both schools.
“We are really all one and on this day there is a division that’s friendly and it’s a good atmosphere and the spirit is great,” she said.
It is a special spirit that fills the air every year at War Memorial Stadium.
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Karen Edwards, a Bryant fan, said the atmosphere is indescribable.
“It almost gives you like a NFL atmosphere,” she said.
When the Benton Panthers and the Bryant Hornets go head to head, MCelfresh said it is a family affair.
“Everybody shows up to show their support and we have a great time,” she said.
45 years of this football showdown rivalry is an old tradition for some families, like the MCelfresh’s, and a new one for others, like the Edwards’.
“We are excited to be here. Our first year, so this is going to be a tradition from now on,” Edwards said.
The annual Salt Bowl, a game highly anticipated by both teams, ended in a panic last year though when the sound of a stun gun left fans scrambling out of War Memorial Stadium.
“It was a very scary experience. I’ve never experienced anything that like that before,” MCelfresh said.
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Donnie Higgins played for the Hornets in 1976 and said last year’s Salt Bowl was unlike any other.
“It was a very scary experience. I’ve never experienced anything that like that before,” he said.
This unknown false alarm creating chaos last year, but not stopping anyone from showing up Friday night.
“We knew we wanted to come out and show our support. It’s a new year and a new night,” MCelfresh said.
After all, at the end of the day, Edwards said, “It’s football season.”