Remember those silly commercials where dogs would chase tiny little chuckwagons around the kitchen, only to be disappointed that they vanished into a bag of Chuck Wagon instant dog food? OK, maybe we’re dating ourselves.
We keep visualizing those scenes thinking about the National Championship Chuckwagon Races, to be held Friday through Sunday over Labor Day Weekend at the Eoff Ranch in Clinton, Arkansas. There will be about 150 teams competing in five different divisions for the title of National Champion, most likely shouting "Yaw, Yaw!"
The idea for racing chuckwagons started with Dan and Peggy Eoff sitting around one Labor Day weekend thinking that a chuckwagon race would really take Labor Day up a notch. They started out small, but the word soon got out among chuckwagon professionals. Organizers estimate that about 20,000 to 30,000 people show up to watch the races in addition to the bronc fanning and the Snowy River Race, a horse race that includes two downhill runs and a plunge into the river, kinda like the dramatic scene in the “The Man From Snowy River” movie. Again, we’re dating ourselves because we loved that scene.
There’s also live music and dances on Friday and Saturday evenings, a movie night, karaoke, vendors of western collectibles and other items at the Western Trade Show and Ozark Mountain trail rides beginning on Tuesday.
But here’s what the chuckwagon winners take home — in each division silver belt buckles and more than $20,000 in prizes, which includes saddles, jackets and “Chuckwagon Bucks,” or prize money to be spent at the Trade Show.