Roughstock Challenge helps FFA chapters

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Rodeo fans will get a chance to indulge themselves Saturday as the seventh annual Carroll County Roughstock Challenge Battle of the Banks rodeo kicks off at the Carroll County Fairgrounds Arena.

The action is set to begin at 7 p.m. featuring bareback riding, saddle bronc, barrel racing and bull riding competitions, with some of the proceeds benefiting the FFA programs at Berryville, Green Forest and Alpena High Schools.

According to Green Forest FFA sponsor Keith Kilbourn, the event serves as one of the major fundraisers each year for all three programs.

“We do a few other things, but this is a good one,” Kilbourn said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to work together.”

Originally, the event also featured a friendly competition between the FFA programs — something Kilbourn described as akin to a fantasy rodeo in which each chapter drafts a list of competitors who would earn points based on their performance.

“We have a 3-foot-tall traveling trophy that went to the winner,” Kilbourn said.

That competition eventually evolved into the “Battle of the Banks,” which follows a similar format, with each of the five banks — Equity Bank, Arvest Bank, First National Bank of Northwest Arkansas, Anstaff Bank and Cornerstone Bank — drafting their own team.

Each bank puts a $1,000 donation into the pot, with the winner’s share going to a charity of their choice and the remainder being divided among the participating FFA chapters.

The rodeo itself serves as a qualifier for the American Cowboy Rodeo Association and an Arkansas Rodeo Association event, which Kilbourn said serves to bring in quite a few competitors, sometimes making for a long night.

“We try to time it to two hours and then they stop the rodeo,” Kilbourn said. “They don’t want to keep people too late. Then they finish it later. If there are riders that haven’t rode yet, they get a chance later on.

“We’ve had riders out there until 11:30 p.m.”

Kilbourn said attendees will be expected to follow current pandemic protocols — which will likely include face coverings — and that both sides of the arena will be open, which will provide plenty of space for social distancing.

In addition, the concession stand will be open, offering everything from cold drinks to hot dogs, hamburgers, chili and pulled pork.

Admission for the event will be $8 for adults, $5 for children aged 6-12, and free for children aged 5 and under. Kilbourn said the three FFA chapters will split the gate and concession proceeds.

Livestock for the event will be provided by Rough Stock Unlimited and competitors can expect a $6,500 total payout with an additional $2,000 of added money in certain events.

“It’s a really good event and it’s a chance to help the kids,” Kilbourn said. “Plus it’s a chance to get out and spend some time with the family.”

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