2013 Salt Bowl drives, sales underway in advance of Sept. 27 showdown

Tickets and t-shirts for the 2013 Salt Bowl, the annual gridiron battle between the Bryant Hornets and Benton Panthers, are now on sale at Big Red Stores in advance of the game on Friday, Sept. 27, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

This year’s them is “Show Up for the Showdown.”

It’s the 14th Salt Bowl and the 31st renewal of the Saline County rivalry and, as usual, there are plenty of activities being planned in conjunction with the event, which has drawn over 20,000 (and as many as 27,000) fans annually.

For the third consecutive year, the two high schools are partnering with the American Red Cross to hold a friendly competition to see which school can recruit the most blood donors. On Wednesday, Sept. 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., a blood drive will be held at Bryant High School. The following day in the same hours, a drive will be held at Benton High School. All donors will receive a complimentary custom t-shirt while supplies last. Also those who donate could win one of five $1,000 American Express gift cards.

Students and area residents are encouraged to give blood to help cancer patients, trauma victims, surgery patients and more. Since the first Salt Bowl blood drive in 2011, 481 pints of blood have been collected.

“This is a great opportunity for students to help make a vital impact in their community,” said Michele Wright, CEO of the Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region. “College and high school blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of donations given through the Red Cross. High school rivalries can be fun and a great way for students to volunteer and help save lives.”

Both schools will also begin the annual peanut butter drive in conjunction with the Arkansas Rice Depot on Monday, Sept. 9. It will continue through Thursday, Sept. 26.

Students and residents of the area are encouraged to bring jars of peanut butter to local schools. Last year, Bryant’s Collegeville Elementary School collected the most for the drive which is held as part of the Food 4 Kids program.

The program provides food to students having problems in school due to hunger at home. By providing backpacks filled with “kid-friendly” food, the students on the Food 4 Kids program who might otherwise go hungry will be fed. Currently in over 600 schools, the program helps over 35,000 students and their siblings across the state.

In addition, the Bryant community pep rally for the Salt Bowl will be held at Everett Bruick GMC on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m., with the Legacy of Bryant high school band, the cheer and dance squads along with players and coaches participating.

In the game, the Hornets, who won 55-21 last year, will be seeking their eighth straight win in the series, which the Panthers lead 24-15-1 overall. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

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