COTTER — Visitors to Big Spring Park this Saturday can attend a dedication of the park’s baseball field,
take in a classic car show and snack on quality barbecue as a group of chefs battle it out for bragging rights.
Proceeds from the event, which opens to the public at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, will go towards helping the city
maintain the park and purchase additional playground equipment.
“We already have some area events like chili cook-offs, and this will be a similar event,” event organizer
Justin Morrow said. “I love barbecue, so I figured why not have a barbecue cook-off here in Cotter.”
Judges will crown a grand champion as well as first-place winners in the categories of beef brisket,
pork ribs and whole chicken. Each entrant is encouraged to provide samples for the public to taste,
and donations will also be accepted to name a people’s choice winner.
Saturday’s events also include a 10 a.m. dedication ceremony at the park’s baseball field, which is being
named “Jere Reagan Memorial Ballpark” in honor of the late Cotter resident.
The event’s car show will open to the public at 9 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. and include door prizes
and a 50-50 drawing. Automobiles on display will be parked closer to the White River than at previous
car shows, which usually housed the cars at the ballpark.
“We’re hoping to get a nice breeze off the water,” Morrow said. “Hopefully that will help with the temperature.”
Saturday’s forecast calls for plenty of sunshine with a high of 91 degrees. Barbecue fans hoping to beat the
heat can always take a dip in Big Spring, the park’s namesake, to cool off.
Morrow said he began organizing the event about two months ago when he saw that Big Spring Park
“would be sitting empty.” Late September in the park used to mean Bridge Bash,
the marquee event of the Food Bank of North Central Arkansas, but that fundraiser is being held on the
campus of Arkansas State University-Mountain Home this year.
Morrow said half-a-dozen barbecue teams had signed up for the event, and others have made a verbal
commitment to compete, but had not completed all of the entrance paperwork yet.
“I would like to have about 10 teams,” he said. “The contest is really open to anyone that wants to compete,
all the way from restaurants and catering companies to backyard barbecue chefs.”
Entrance fee for the barbecue cook-off is $30 per team. Each team will provide their own meat, which will be
checked by officials prior to cooking. Teams may set up and begin cooking as early as 3 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Judging for all categories will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, with the winners announced at 4 p.m.
For more information on the cook-off, contact Morrow at (870) 421-6227.
Entry fee for the car show is $10.
For more information on the car show, Contact Gary Blanck at (870) 453-7340 or (847) 867-5644.