Friday, December 12, 2014

A Dust Up in Walnut Ridge, AR

This story was just too wild to pass up, although it's from 80 years ago. Dateline is Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. Source is the Times Dispatch, the local newspaper, and specifically in their "Yesteryears" column.

Apparently, a high school football game erupted into a melee. Don't know whether the five rivers in the area being at flood contributed, but it was a doozy from the newspaper account . . .

The Blytheville Chicks and the Walnut Ridge Bobcats met on Sexton Field last Friday afternoon to determine the football championship of northeast Arkansas. Walnut Ridge won all the money and all the fights, but Blytheville won the ball game, 6-0. During the game, fighting was in progress all over the park and the crowd on the east side of the field became entirely unmanageable and crowded onto the football field. J.P. Friend, who was charting the plays for Blytheville, was struck on the head with a Stilson wrench by a Walnut Ridge fan. Several stitches were required to close the wound. Friends said the trouble began when he appealed to an officer to keep the Walnut Ridge supporters from kicking him over each time he kneeled to write on the chart. After the game, a group of Walnut Ridge fans stormed the special train brought here from Blytheville, boarded several of the coaches, and when forced off threw rocks through the windows. The train was also showered with paper bags of flour. Because of flood conditions in northeast Arkansas, the special train bearing the team and fans had to be rerouted and arrived here in mid-afternoon. Because of the approaching darkness, a very abbreviated game was played.

The above account was followed by a final note from 80 years ago: "Billy Joe Sexton and Bobby Swindle went to Newport last Sunday."

As many of my readers know, the Walnut Ridge/Hoxie/Lindsay Switch/Minturn area is where my parents and grandparents lived and farmed for many years. I wish I had grown up there and someday dream of going back to stay. What a hoot! And thanks to the Times Dispatch for making my morning with a good chuckle.

No comments: