Jill Rohrbach, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Every Labor Day weekend, the thunder of hooves and rattle of wagons fills the valley of Bar of Ranch in Clinton during the National Championship Chuckwagon Races. This year an estimated 150 teams will compete in five different divisions for the title of National Champion.
Bands perform after the races and dances are held on Friday and Saturday nights. Also set up at the ranch are vendors of western collectibles, crafts, art, saddles, and tack for the Western Trade Show. Six trail rides through the Ozark Mountains begin on Tuesday and run through the weekend’s festivities. Other special events throughout the week include karaoke, ranch rodeos, and cattle and horse drives.
The National Championship winners in each division take home silver belt buckles and share in more than $20,000 in prizes that includes saddles, jackets and “Chuckwagon Bucks” – prize money that can be spent at the Trade Show after the races.
While today the races have folks vying for a national championship, the chuckwagon races originally came about as merely something to do during a Labor Day party that Dan and Peggy Eoff had for a group of friends. Eight teams competed that year and 200 people came to watch. The next year there were 16 wagons. The Eoffs began promoting and it grew. One year there were about 30,000 people in attendance.
Everyone is welcome to camp at the ranch free of charge. Once admission is paid to the event, all other activities are free.
To enter a competition or if you have questions, call Dan or Peggy Eoff or Dane or Dapple McCracken at 501-745-8407 or 501-745-5250.