With the 45th annual Salt Bowl scheduled to take place in approximately a month, fans can begin purchasing tickets — and shirts — today. 

This year's game, with the theme "Salty Tradition, Since 1974," will be played beginning at 7 p.m. Aug. 30, at War Memorial Stadium. 

Benton will be the home team this year and will sit on the west side of the stadium. 

Tickets and T-shirts may be purchased at all Big Red stores throughout Saline County. 

Tickets are $12 each and include a Salt Bowl T-shirt and a coupon for a free queso from Chuy’s good at both locations in West Little Rock and North Little Rock until October 31. 

The Salt Bowl Committee urges everyone to buy their tickets and T-shirts early. Tickets are available at the gate the day of the game for $15, but that price does not include a T-shirt. Only AAA passes will be accepted.

Again this year, there are also Indoor Club Level tickets available for $25 which include a Salt Bowl T-shirt and can be purchased at either the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce or Greater Bryant Chamber of Commerce. They will also have parking passes available for purchase for $25.

Also beginning today, fans can go to any Everett dealership in Saline County and sign up to be in the drawing for a chance to “Throw Like A Pro.”  

Sign up between now and game day at any Everett dealership — GMC, Chevy, Ford and Infiniti or at the Everett tent at the tailgate party. Names will be drawn after the tailgate party and the participants will “Throw Like a Pro” at halftime for the chance to win a new GMC, Chevrolet or Ford truck.

Starting today, fan can also go to Chick-fil-A on Reynolds Road in Bryant and sign up for the chance to be “Kickin’ for Chicken.” Sign up between today and game day and names will be drawn and an individual will be given the opportunity to kick a field goal at halftime to win a year’s supply of chicken from Chick-fil-A. 

The Salt Bowl Committee is always pleased to be working again with organizations to give back to the community — The Arkansas Foodbank, the Arkansas Blood Institute and Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. 

After collecting a record 40,000 pounds of peanut butter last year, the Arkansas Foodbank will again be partnering with Skippy Foods for the annual Peanut Butter Drive from today through Aug. 27, to provide food for children and families in need in the community. Schools from Bryant and Benton will be competing to see which can donate the most peanut butter, with a goal of 25,000 pounds, and then Skippy Foods will again provide a matching gift. This year, parents and students will be able to bring their peanut butter to Benton and Bryant school open houses prior to the start of school.

Arkansas Foodbank is also partnering with several local businesses to be drop off locations. Saline County residents can drop off peanut butter at local Big Red Stores, any Everett dealership in Saline County and McFarland Eye Care. If other business would like to be a drop off location, they are encouraged to contact Nick Bradford at 501-569-4315. Businesses will then donate the peanut butter to the school of their choice in the Benton or Bryant school districts. The peanut butter stays in the school districts and food pantries in Saline County, according to the committee.

Fan can choose to donate $10 to the Arkansas Foodbank by texting FEED to 501501 as well. 

No one deserves to go hungry. Yet, Arkansas is second in the nation for food insecurity. One in six, or an estimated 515,000 Arkansans, do not know where their next meal may come from. For children, that rate is even higher. One in four children face food insecurity in Arkansas, and in some rural counties, that rate is as high as 1 in 3. Anytime during the month of August, anyone can help by texting and donating to help hungry children, families and seniors in need, according to the organization. 

The Arkansas Blood Institute will be hosting blood drives at both high schools as well. The Bryant High School blood drive will be held Sept. 10, and the Benton High School Blood Drive will take place Sept. 11. Both schools will be competing for a trophy for the school that donates the most pints of blood.

Beginning today, Goodwill stores in Benton and Bryant will begin collecting 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. On Aug. 29, the donations will be totaled. The winning district will be named at the game. Both schools will receive cash prizes and gift cards for families based on the number of donations collected. 

Game week will kick off with the Recycle Saline Coaches’ and Players’ press conference that will be held at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 27, at the Benton Events Center. Coach Brad Harris, Coach Buck James and two players from each team will be available to speak about this year’s game prior to the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce Salt Bowl Luncheon at noon. 

There will pep rallies for both teams and communities at Everett Buick GMC and Everett Infiniti during game week. The Bryant and Benton Community Pep Rallies will take place at 6 p.m. Aug. 27.  Bryant fans will be at Everett Buick GMC while Benton fans will be at Everett Infiniti. There will be free hot dogs, drinks and Kona Ice at each rally and drones will be flying over to determine which school has the largest crowd. 

The Dairy Queen Tailgate Party will be an all-day affair at War Memorial Stadium leading up to the Salt Bowl kickoff. To reserve a tailgate spot for family, friends, or a graduating class, contact War Memorial Stadium at 501-663-6385.

In addition, beginning at 4 p.m., businesses, nonprofits, churches, colleges, campaigns and 103.7 TheBuzz  will be showcasing themselves on the east side of War Memorial Stadium. Also at 4 p.m., thanks to sponsors Petit Jean Meats and Saline County banks and credit unions, individuals will be passing out free Petit Jean hot dogs and drinks and more than 80 vendors will be set up. Midtowne Church will be back with its Kids Zone of inflatables for the kids to enjoy.  

Those who are interested in a booth space should contact the Greater Bryant Chamber of Commerce at 501-847-4702.

The gates into War Memorial Stadium will open at 5:30 p.m. Pre-game festivities will begin at 7 p.m. with a flyover after the national anthem by Bulldog Flight-Mid South RVators. Then Future Panthers and Future Hornets and cheerleaders will be featured, as well as Community Service Awards — the Rob Patrick Award and the Donnie Burks Award. 

The honorary captain conducting this year’s coin toss is THV11 anchor Craig O'Neill who is celebrating his 50th year in the radio and TV business. The honorary co-captains are Coach Dwight Fite who initiated the beginning of Benton vs. Bryant and would end up being the head coach at both schools; Coach Paul Revis who was the head coach of the Hornets in 1974 and Doug Graham, superintendent of the Nashville School District and son of the late Benton Head Coach Max Graham (1974). 

At halftime, the cheer and dance squads will perform, the Benton and Bryant bands will again perform together, and “Kickin’ for Chicken” and “Throw Like A Pro” will take place.

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 Chris Kinzler Family, Silver Eagle GPX, Saline County Banks and Credit Unions, Greater Bryant Chamber of Commerce, and the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce. 

More information about the event, including new security procedures ,will be available at www.saltbowlar.com. Along with the website, the game and activities can also be followed via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @SaltBowlAR.

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