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story.lead_photo.caption Mayor Bob Bruggeman of Texarkana, Texas, foreground, throws a pie in the face of Arkansas-side Mayor Allen Brown during a friendly game Thursday at the Small Business Expo hosted by the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce on Main Street. The mayors' final task was to eat an entire pie. Photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA — The cities mayors defended the honor of their side of town in contests of skill that evoked the folksy roots of Texarkana. From cornhole to pumpkin bowling to lassoing (where Arkansas-side Mayor Allen Brown seemed to demonstrate superior technique).

But the true highlight was the pie eating contest. Brown managed to get there first, but Texas-side Mayor Bob Bruggeman quickly joined him and tuckered into his pie. Both launched quickly but began running out of steam about halfway through their respective pastries.

"Maybe we could weigh what's left?" Brown suggested at one point.

Finally, as the two mayors waited for desert to shift, Brown seemingly brought the battle to a close by picking up what was left of his and pitching it into the face of Bruggeman.

The mayors did shake hands.

"I think I won," said Bruggeman. "Great competition, thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone for coming out and watching this. Thanks to the Chamber, the sponsors, the participating businesses. I need to go get cleaned up."

"I think (I know) I won," said Brown. "Good, friendly competition, and I echo Bob, and thank the Chamber for putting this together, heightening downtown awareness, cooperation and fun."

This was the second Small Business Expo put on by the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce. Despite a misting rain, overall, the crowd like the conditions this year better than last.

"Our first business expo took place in August," said Natalie Haywood, Chamber events and communications coordinator. "It was hot then. This is better. And the weather being like it is helped create a fun atmosphere. We appreciate everyone's support, making this event happen, even during a pandemic."

Lots of booths were present with various businesses, local and regional, showing their wares and meeting customers.

"This is about supporting our community, events like this," said Kim Fowler, assistant vice president of mortgage lending at Commercial National Bank. "An outdoor event like this is fine and it is always wonderful to see our customers."

Bren Gonzales, one of the small business operators, was introducing attendees to her enterprise: Be Healthy By Bren. Formerly of Florida, she came to Texarkana two years ago and brought her business with her.

"I'm assist my clients in nutrition and health concerns," she said. "Not everything in healthier lifestyles works for everyone. I help my clients find what works for them."

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