Mayor: Teams arriving for Live United Bowl ‘helps our community’

A Southern Arkansas University defender tackles a Missouri Western player during the 2018 Live United Bowl at Razorback Stadium in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Photo courtesy of SAU Athletics)
A Southern Arkansas University defender tackles a Missouri Western player during the 2018 Live United Bowl at Razorback Stadium in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Photo courtesy of SAU Athletics)

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- The 10th Farmers Bank & Trust Live United Bowl kicks off at noon Saturday at Arkansas High's Razorback Stadium and organizers expect it to be one heck of a game.

The matchup between the Missouri Western Griffons and the Southern Arkansas University Muleriders features two exceptional football teams that barely missed making the playoffs in their respective divisions.

"We've got two of the highest ranked teams that finished the regular season. These were the first two teams knocked out of the playoff bracket," said Allen Brown, Texarkana, Arkansas, mayor and Live United Bowl chairman. "It's got interest up around town because people can come to the Live United Bowl and see a great college football game."

"When you look at how these teams have performed against ranked opponents, it looks to be a really good matchup," he said.

Teams are arriving in Texarkana on Thursday night and will start off their stay here by packing food boxes for Harvest Regional Food Bank.

On Friday, the teams will be visiting several local nonprofits, including Runnin' WJ Ranch, Opportunities Inc. and Haven Homes where they will decorate for Christmas and the P.R.I.D.E Academy. These agencies are supported by the United Way of Greater Texarkana, which receives the proceeds from the Live United Bowl.

"When we were forming this thing (Live United Bowl), we needed to show these guys we're a community that cares and we're doing this for a reason. What better way to do that then to let them have a day at some of the agencies the United Way supports. It's become the highlight of their trip here besides the game itself," Brown said.

Teams will attend a banquet Friday night at Texarkana Convention Center.

Afterward, there will be a community-wide pep rally starting at 8 p.m. in the courtyard adjacent to the Convention Center. The pep rally is free and open to the public.

"It's going to be a loud, fun collegiate pep rally," Brown said.

On game day, there will be some familiar faces taking the field.

"We're going to see some local flavor from both teams and I was told we have close to 50 local kids in the SAU band," Brown said.

Saturday's weather is supposed to be nice and the community is encouraged to come out and support the Live United Bowl.

"I think you support this game because it helps our community," Brown said. "Take a chance and come out and see this college football game in your own backyard and you'll probably come back next year. We're going to have pregame activities. You can see the bands perform. When you go in the gate and buy a ticket, you've just supported our community.

"Without this game, we wouldn't have people in hotels or eating in all of our restaurants. We're doing this to raise money for the United Way and we're doing it for our community which certainly benefits from the economic development."

Tickets are $10 for adults and $4 for students and will be sold at the gate on game day.

"We wanted to make sure this is affordable because one of the main things it does is give students a chance to see college athletes in your own backyard at a reasonable price," Brown said.

Gates will open for tailgating at 8 a.m.

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