The largest high school football game in the State of Arkansas will take on a much different look for 2020 due to Covid-19. The Salt Bowl Committee has announced the theme for Salt Bowl 2020 is “Saltier Together”.
The 2020 Salt Bowl will be played on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 7:30 p.m., at War Memorial Stadium. The Bryant Hornets will be the home team this year; fans will sit on the west side of War Memorial Stadium.
Due to Covid-19 guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), in consultation with both school districts, and the Division of Parks and Tourism and War Memorial Stadium, attendance to this year’s game will be limited to 12,000 guests. Priority tickets will be given to the parents of student-athletes, band, cheer and dance team members. Tickets will NOT be sold at the stadium on game day. Only AAA passes will be accepted for entry. No indoor club tickets will be sold.
For the first time in Salt Bowl history, the game will be available via Pay Per View. Fans may purchase the game for $50 from now until game time at www.saltbowlar.com and click on the Salt Bowl at Home tab. After purchase, a link and password to watch the game will be sent by email.
Tickets are $10. (Unfortunately, there will NOT be a Salt Bowl T-shirt for 2020.) Each district has been allocated 6,000 tickets. Tickets will ONLY be sold at Big Red Stores. Benton fans should purchase tickets from a Benton Big Red location; Bryant fans from a Bryant store.
All guests will be required to wear a mask at all times except when consuming food or a beverage. Concession stand menus will be limited to pre-packaged items only.
It is also important to remember there are security procedures at War Memorial Stadium including a clear bag policy and each fan will go through a metal detector. A list of permitted and prohibited items can be found on the Salt Bowl website at www.saltbowlar.com. Gates to the stadium will open at 5:30 p.m. Fans should arrive early as social distancing will be practiced while going through security. Signs and markers will be throughout the stadium and concourses reminding attendees to follow ADH guidelines.
“We have been working since the beginning of the pandemic to ensure that if given the chance to play this year’s game we would do so with the safety of our coaches, student-athletes, band, cheer and dance teams first and foremost in our minds,” said Shane Broadway, spokesperson for the Salt Bowl Committee. “The Salt Bowl will be the largest outdoor event since the beginning of the pandemic; we take safety very seriously. We would implore our fans to follow the guidelines so that this will not be the first and last game of the season for our students. The committee is very appreciative of the guidance that we have received from the Arkansas Department of Health, the Governor’s office and the Governor’s High School Sports Advisory Group, and the Arkansas Activities Association.”
Game week will kick-off with the Recycle Saline Coaches’ and Players’ press conference held at noon on Tuesday, August 25th via Zoom. Coach Brad Harris, Coach Buck James and two players from each team will be available interviews about this year’s game. A Zoom link will be sent to the members of the media prior to the press conference. The Salt Bowl luncheon will not take place this year.
This year’s event will not include the annual Dairy Queen-Arkansas’ Largest High School Tailgate Party as tailgating will NOT be permitted on the grounds of War Memorial Stadium. The Future Panthers and Hornets sponsored by ACDI, will be recognized in a video, rather than live, presentation.
Pre-game festivities will begin at 7 p.m. and will include a flyover after the National Anthem by Bulldog Flight-Mid South RVators. Community Service Awards, the Rob Patrick Award and the Donnie Burks Awards, all sponsored by McFarland Eye Care, will be announced.
The Honorary Captain conducting this year’s coin toss sponsored by Republic Services will be Governor Asa Hutchinson.
At halftime, both bands will perform from their respective end zones. The Benton Band will be seated in the South End Zone and the Bryant Band in the North End Zone. Cheer and dance squads will perform, along with the annual Chick-Fil-A “Kickin’ for Chicken” contest.
For updates regarding this year’s game, fans can visit the website, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram @SaltBowlAR. Comment using the hashtag #SaltySaturday.
Salt Bowl 2020 “Saltier Together” would not be possible without the support of the community and sponsors. The sponsors this year include Big Red Stores, Everett Buick GMC, ACDI, McFarland Eye Care, Chuy’s Restaurant, Jones Heating and Air, Arkansas Urology, Dairy Queen, Skippy Foods, Chick-fil-A Reynolds Road, Petit Jean Meats, Arkansas Copier, Recycle Saline, Bin There Dump That, Ortho Arkansas, Arkansas Bone and Joint, Republic Services, Saline Memorial Hospital, Mascot Media, The Kinzler Family/SaltyDawg, Silver Eagle GPX, Saline County Banks and Credit Unions, Bryant Chamber of Commerce, and the Benton Chamber of Commerce.
Sign up between today and game day on Chick-fil-A Reynolds Road in Bryant Facebook Page or the Salt Bowl Facebook Page for the chance to be “Kickin’ for Chicken”. Selected winners will try to kick a field goal at halftime to win a year’s supply of chicken from Chick-fil-A.
The Salt Bowl Committee will once again work with organizations to give back to the community: The Arkansas Foodbank, the Arkansas Blood Institute and Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. These organizations and the work that they do are even more important given the impact of Covid-19 on the communities.
The Arkansas Foodbank will again be partnering with Skippy Foods for the annual Peanut Butter Drive. The peanut butter collection and competition will begin at the Salt Bowl game this year and run the entire month of September, which coincides with Hunger Action Month. The goal is to provide a nutritious staple food item for children and families in Saline County, as well as educate students of the impact of hunger in our community. Teachers will receive instructional packets from the Foodbank to use in their classrooms. With the goal of 25,000 pounds, schools from Bryant and Benton will be partnered with local Saline County food pantries as they compete to see which one will collect the most peanut butter. Skippy Foods has generously offering to provide a matching gift.
Arkansas Foodbank is also partnering with several local businesses to be drop off locations in the community. Saline County Residents can purchase peanut butter during the month of August for $1 at any local Big Red Store and drop it in the Foodbank collection barrels in the store. Everett Dealerships in Saline County and McFarland Eye Care in Bryant, Little Rock, Hot Springs and Pine Bluff also serve as drop off locations. If local businesses are interested in being a drop off location, contact Daniel Frazier at 501-569-4315. Businesses will then be able to donate the peanut butter to the school of their choice in the Benton or Bryant school district. All peanut butter collected during the drive stays in the school districts and food pantries in Saline County.
The Arkansas Blood Institute will be holding Blood Drives at both high schools. The Bryant High School blood drive will be Sept. 9, and the Benton High School Blood Drive will take place on Sept. 29. Both schools will be competing for a trophy to the school that donates the most pints of blood.
Goodwill Industries of Arkansas is another partner of the Salt Bowl. Beginning Aug. 17 through Aug. 27, Goodwill stores in Benton and Bryant will collect Salt Bowl donations. Students, families and the community are encouraged to donate gently used clothing and household items at their respective Goodwill locations. In addition to helping fund numerous programs that provide education, training and employment assistance, donations collected will mean money for the school districts and gift cards for families in need. Fans can also make a monetary donation at GoodwillAR.org, designating the school to support.
On Aug. 28, the donations will be totaled, and the winning district named at the game. The district with the most donations will receive a check for $1,500, along with $500 in gift cards to give to families in need. The second place district will also receive $500 in gift cards, plus with a check for $1,000.