Organizers cancel chuck wagon races
By Scott Loftis
The annual Rock Bottom Chuck Wagon Races, which were scheduled to be held Wednesday through Sunday in Green Forest, instead were canceled last week after organizers were unable to reach an agreement with state health officials over COVID-19 concerns.
In a Facebook post, the Fowler family said:
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the final decision to cancel Rock Bottom 2020. This decision was not made hastily, there were countless hours and many nights of family discussions to resonate with our decision. The state of Arkansas has threatened us with the use of the state troops and our national guard to prohibit you from entering our property. We have meet [sic] with lawyers and are aware that our civil/constitutional rights are being violated. However, we cannot and will not ask you to fight our fight. All that we ask is that you understand our situation and will respect our decision. We will plan on returning in 2021 with the biggest and best Rock Bottom Ever.
“With that said we do ask that you all please be aware of your rights, do not let this ‘new normal resonate’ being socially distant is not normal, masks are not normal. I know that this dismantling of ‘Rock Bottom’ is a small part of a much larger plan. please contact your elected officials and voice your concerns about our liberties being violated. This is not a time for silence! May God Bless the United States of America. Our love and many thanks to all of those whom support ‘Rock Bottom’ hopefully we make it up from here.”
The event’s website, rockbottomchuckwagonraces.com, says: “ Rock Bottom 2020 will be considered another casualty of Covid-19 and Comminusim [sic].”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson was asked about the event during a news conference on Wednesday, May 13, the day before the Fowler family announced the cancellation.
“I would encourage the sponsors of that to, one, read the guidelines and then, secondly, they need to have any plan approved by the Arkansas Department of Health,” Hutchinson said. “You need to work closely with them, understand what the guidelines are and if there’s any nuances that don’t fit within the guidelines, that we can address, submit the plan and we can take a look at that.”
On Friday, Mike Fowler said there was no way to comply with the state’s requirements for the event.
“The only thing that I’m going to answer at this point in time is that the Arkansas Health Department, the requirements that they put in front of us were unachievable,” Fowler said. “There was no way that anybody, in the state, would be able to follow. The guidelines that they put down were impossible to follow. And that’s all I’m going to comment.”