Volume 9 Issue 4 – Benton

Have you ever wondered where the football’s nickname, “pigskin,” came from?  It might surprise you to learn that footballs were originally made from the inflated bladders of animals, including those of pigs.  Animal bladders were much more accessible and less expensive than other alternatives.  As you can imagine, the process of inflating those early pigskins was a pretty disgusting task.  Luckily for all football aficionados, the use of blown-up animal bladders fell out of practice sometime in the 1860’s. Thanks to Charles Goodyear, footballs then started being made out of vulcanized rubber and covered in cowhide.

Since 1955, all official NFL footballs have been made at the Wilson factory in Ohio.  They produce nearly 4000 footballs every day.  It takes about 600 cows to make enough NFL footballs for one full season. Typically, a single cowhide can cover up to 10 footballs.  Every cow that has to forfeit its life for the game of football must dream about playing a starring role on the sport’s biggest stage!  Sadly, any given cow has only a one in 17,420,000 chance of becoming a Super Bowl football.

Those odds are just about as slim as striking it rich by winning the Powerball jackpot! Speaking of unlikely odds, what are the chances of all four high schools in Saline County getting new head football coaches in the same year?  I would think there is a higher probability of being born with a sixth finger or toe!  Good thing I’m not a betting man, because that is exactly what happened.

When the 2016 High School football season begins, all four Saline County teams will have a new Commander in Chief – Bryant (Buck James), Benton (Brad Harris), Harmony Groove (Paul Calley), and Bauxite (Daryl Patton).  If that isn’t crazy enough, all four of these coaches will be facing off against each other in the same 24-hour time frame. Harmony Grove will battle Bauxite in the First Annual Saline River Showdown. Then one of the largest rivalries in Arkansas sports, featuring the Bryant Hornets and Benton Panthers, takes place in the 17th Annual Salt Bowl!

While there have been a lot of changes in who is patrolling the sidelines, something that will never change is how Saline County’s loyal and passionate fans come out in force to support their favorite teams. One thing is certain, there is going to be a lot of excitement about this upcoming football season. Your town. Your life. Your magazine.

See the Bryant Hornet side of this issue.

Click on the cover to see the virtual edition.