Brickfest adds bull riding on Saturday

By Wayne Bryan Published June 26, 2014 at 9:27 a.m.
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Wayne Bryan

Josh “Porkchop” Garrick, a professional rodeo clown, is the promoter for the Brickfest Bull Bash, a new event for the 34th annual Brickfest, to be held Saturday at the Malvern City Park. Garrick, a Malvern native, said bull riders from across Arkansas and surrounding states are expected to attend.

MALVERN — The biggest new feature of Brickfest 2014 is a lot of bull.

The first Brickfest Bull Bash, a professional bull-riding rodeo, will be held Saturday night at the Hot Spring County Fairgrounds Rodeo Arena.

“The Bull Bash will feature 37 of the best bucking bulls in North America,” said Josh Garrett, a professional rodeo clown who has organized the new event for the festival. “It is the first time we have had this kind of event in town. … It is something of a leap of faith, but we think everyone will have a great time.”

Garrett, known as the rodeo clown Porkchop, said 32 professional bull riders had signed up for the event. He said the riders will come from around Arkansas and nine other states to compete in the event, which will offer $6,000 in prize money. In addition, Sheridan-native Justin Coon of Professional Bull Riding Inc. — a major rodeo circuit — will be one of the judges for the event.

The rodeo arena is adjacent to Malvern City Park on Martin Luther King Boulevard, the site of most Brickfest events.

A Malvern native, Garrett is one of bull riding’s top clowns and has traveled across 22 states, bringing laughter to rodeo fans while doing the dangerous job of making sure that when their rides are over, the riders are safe from the fierce bulls.

“I’m proud to be associated with this event in my hometown,” Garrett said. “It is great to see townspeople pull together to gets things done for an event like Brickfest.”

The event will begin Friday with with a quilt show, opening at 9 a.m. at the fairgrounds building. At noon, the BB shooting gallery will open in the park for its second year as a Brickfest event.

An opening ceremony for the festival is set for 7 p.m. Friday on the Bank of the Ozarks Stage in the back of Malvern City Park. The ceremony will feature the Malvern High School Drum Line and a combined choir from the high schools in Hot Spring County. At 9 p.m. Friday, the Best of Motown, a musical group from Branson, Missouri, that includes a Malvern native, will end the evening’s entertainment.

The full day of Brickfest starts Saturday with the annual 5K run, beginning in the shopping-center parking lot across the road from the city park.

A popular event at Brickfest is the Brick-B-Que Baby Back Rib Cook-off that begins at 7 a.m. at the park. Barbecue enthusiasts from around Arkansas and beyond will cook up ribs that the crowd can enjoy.

“We usually have around 20 barbecuers signed up each year,” said Kathy Perkins, chairwoman of the board for the Malvern/Hot Spring County Chamber of Commerce. “They just need to bring their sauces and their grills; we provide the meat.”

Perkins said the winner of the cook-off will receive a $1,000 prize.

The Rev. Henry Mitchell said there will be a 3-on-3 basketball tournament during Brickfest. The event will be held at the Boys and Girls Club of Malvern and Hot Spring County on Moline Street.

Another event that draws lots of onlookers is the annual Classic Car and Truck Show, which will also feature motorcycles. Hot rods, muscle cars and stately sedans from throughout the 20th century will be on display.

The morning’s agenda will include the annual baby contest, a dog show, the annual Brick-Car Derby and a concert by gospel recording group Three Bridges on the Bank of the Ozarks Stage.

A brick-toss contest will be held at noon, along with registration for the best-dressed-brick competition. Judging for the contest will begin at 1 p.m., along with a BB-shooting contest,

A watermelon-eating contest is set for 3 p.m., and a baby-back-rib dinner produced by the cook-off contestants will begin at 5 p.m., followed by presentation of the cook-off awards at 6.

“The barbecue will be served at the 4-H Building in the park,” Perkins said. “That way people will not have to eat in the heat but can enjoy the barbecue in the cool inside.”

Brenda Weldon, who has served on the Brickfest Committee for 24 years, said the night’s musical entertainment will begin with a country-bluegrass band at 6:30 on the main stage.

Following the bull riding, the main concert will begins with Tracy Lawrence. Weldon, the festival’s music coordinator, said the decision to bring Lawrence to Brickfest as the featured artist was in large part a result of the success of his concert at the Hope Watermelon Festival last summer.

“We heard good things about his performance in Hope,” she said. “We felt like it would be good to bring him here to Brickfest.”

A native of Foreman, Lawrence has had 22 songs on the Billboard Top 10 chart, with 18 No. 1 singles. He has sold more than 13 million albums in his 20-year career.

A fireworks display at the park will be the final event of Brickfest 2014.

Tickets for the Brick-B-Que are $10 and can be purchased Saturday at the park. Tickets for the Brickfest Bull Bash are $4 in advance and will be $6 at the gate. Children younger than 5 will be admitted free.

For information about ticket locations, call (501) 467-5202. All concerts are free to the public.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or at wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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