Championship rodeo kicks into gear at the Arkansas State Fair Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 14-16, with some of the nation’s leading cowboys seeking spots in next month’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association national finals at Las Vegas.
The usual bareback riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, bronc riding, barrel racing, bull riding and more will be featured starting at 7:30 p.m. each night, along with a 1:30 p.m. Saturday matinee performance.
The state fair’s midway continues through Sunday, Oct., 17, and with the early days of the fair beset by rain, this weekend figures to draw massive crowds.
Outdoor weekend entertainment includes free concerts by Night Ranger on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and the Ultimate Tribute to Elvis on Saturday at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
Daily admission to the fair is $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 7-12 and seniors 60 and over, a free for children under 6. Fairgrounds parking is $5. Family discount packages, with tickets for rides and food coupons included, are available at the fairgrounds or any Harvest Foods store.
Rodeo ticket prices range from $9 to $16 for adults and $6 to $13 for children and are available at the fairgrounds or through Ticketmaster (975-7575). Family discount packages for the rodeo are available as well.
Call 372-8341 or visit www.ArkansasState Fair.com.
Music and more
at Black Hall of Fame
Little Rock native and acclaimed jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, whose mentor was John Coltrane, is among a list of six African-American achievers with Arkansas ties who will be inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 16. On Sunday, Oct. 17, Sanders will perform in concert at the Statehouse Convention Center.
Sanders, who now lives in the Bay Area, will be inducted during Saturday’s ceremonies at the convention center along with Dr. Patricia Washington McGraw, a retired professor of English and African-American studies who has traveled to Africa seven times and visited 10 countries carrying medical and school supplies and food; Hazel Shanks Hynson, a renowned educator and musician who trained the late jazz pianist Art Porter; John H. Stroger Jr., the current president of the Cook County (Ill.) Board of Commissioners; Fatima Robinson, the noted hip-hop dancer and choreographer and a 2004 MTV Video Music Awards winner for best choreographer in a music video; and the late civil rights lawyer W. Harold Flowers.
Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. event in the Wally Allen Ballroom are $100, and proceeds benefit the Black Hall of Fame Foundation. Call 377-1950 for tickets.
Sanders’ concert Sunday in the same room will begin at 5 p.m. Ticket prices range from $25 to $50 and are available through Ticketmaster outlets (975-7575).
Red Octopus haunts
n Little Rock sketch comedy team Red Octopus Theater has its own brand of trick or treats with its Halloween extravaganza "Bride of Pagans," opening Tuesday, Oct. 17, and running through Saturday, Oct. 23, at Vino’s Brewpub. The show features new short films and the usual irreverent sketches from the veteran troupe, as they try to scare you into smiling. Showtime each night is 8 p.m. Admission at the door is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors 65 and over (all seats Tuesday are $5, and Tuesday and Wednesday shows are non-smoking).
Cars galore on the river
n "Kookie" cars, flamethrowers and neons will be among the hundreds of classic cars, trucks and motorcycles at the Big Cruisefest in the Rock Friday through Sunday at the River Market and Riverfront Park.
The event is expected to draw participants and spectators from 10 states. The Arkansas Pontiac Association is the host club for the event, and the nationally distributed Cruisin’ Style Magazine and motorcycle pub The Ride will be on hand.
Norm Grabowski, creator of the "Kookie" car featured in the 1958 TV detective series "77 Sunset Strip" is slated to showcase his Kookie II mobile. Lee McKinley is expected to be on hand to show off the 1929 Nash allegedly stolen and driven by notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde during a bank robbery, as well as a McKinley’s 1915 Metz, one of only three of its type in the world.
Friday evening activities include a River Market reception and nostalgic movie. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and activities begin at 10 a.m., including flame-throwing, neon and hydraulics contests. Saturday also features the culmination of a nine-week competition between Illicit Motorcycles from Hot Springs and Rogue Bikers from North Little Rock; one of the two will be crowned the winner of the Central Arkansas Biker Build-Off competition. Sunday starts with a non-denominational church service at 9:30 a.m., and the awards ceremony at 11 a.m.
With a rock climbing wall, arts and crafts, face painting and balloons, even the non-car buff will be entertained.
The event is free, though everyone is asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Arkansas Foodbank Network. Participant registration is $25 in advance or $30 a the door. Call 370-3201 or visit www.bigcruisefest.com.
Shaq is back
Shaquille O’Neal’s last team, the Los Angeles Lakers, was vanquished by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals last June. His new team, the Miami Heat, takes on the Pistons in a exhibition game Saturday, Oct. 16, at Alltel Arena. The Pistons feature NBA Finals stars Richard Hamilton and afro-wielding rebounder Ben Wallace. O’Neal, the most dominant NBA center in the modern era, joins a team that reached the Eastern Conference semifinals before losing to the eventual champs.
Tickets range from $12.25 to $50 and are available through Ticketmaster or the arena box office (975-7575). Game time is 7:30 p.m.