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it happened in Arkansas

I saw it coming. He stopped eating. His face started to turn red. He grunted. 

Then the diaper blew. 

We were in the van on our way to the National Chuckwagon Races in Clinton, Arkansas, with two kids half-asleep, rain pouring down, and only an hour to go. But when baby diapers blow, they blow all the way. 

 Chris pulled over at the next available spot so I could -- how can I put this? -- remedy the stinky situation. 

I looked up from the floor of the van where the baby was now smiling happily and said, "A liquor store?" 

 Then I saw the sign. "Last beer stop for 75 miles? Where ARE we?" 
Chris: "Parked next to a dumpster . . . with a Jesus fish in the logo."
Of course. 

Of course that's where we are. At a liquor store in the rain next to a dumpster . . .


Yes. Goats. 

I looked up and out the window and basically right into the faces of an entire herd of goats. Next to a liquor store dumpster. With a full baby diaper.

We laughed. Because when the diaper is full, that's what you do. 

Good news: Family + chuckwagon races = liquor store parking lot diaper changes totally worth it! 

I admit to only seeing about 1/10 of the actual event due to being frustrated with my three small children, one of whom decided she couldn't potty on the porta-potties lest she fall in, but from what I saw, we're totally going back . . . when the kids are 10, 9, and 8 respectively.


The races are held on Labor Day weekend each year and mimic the Cherokee Strip land run in 1893 when people were vying for settling millions of acres in Oklahoma. In a nod to that event, the chuckwagon race rules require both a chuckwagon and a guy on a horse (an outrider) to make it across the finish line in order to win.

The gun goes off, the outrider -- not yet on his horse -- tosses a foam "stove" in the back of the chuckwagon, which then cuts a figure 8 around a barrel. Then they're off!

The outrider must then mount his horse and race ahead of the chuckwagon. If his chuckwagon crosses the finish line before him -- even if it beats all the other chuckwagons -- they still lose. This is basically a tip of the hat to the land rush where folks on horseback would race ahead to stake a claim and then attempt to hold any other settlers off the property until the wagon with all the goods would arrive.

You can watch how it looks here.

The races are held on a private ranch. There's a natural sort of amphitheater so that those competing are down below and the rest of us watching were sitting in shaded canopies on bluffs overlooking the whole thing. It was blazing hot, but the western swing music was good, and if I hadn't been sweating buckets trying to feed a baby, I probably would have swilled a lemonade, put my feet up and stayed the whole week! 


Lest you think this is a small event, TWENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE and over SIX THOUSAND ANIMALS show up each year.

Twenty thousand!

That's a lot of buckaroos and buckarettes right there.  Most of them were just hanging out. Like tailgating . . . but way cooler and on horseback.

There were also a lot of cowboy hats.



Or ki-boy hats, if you're 2.5 years old.

If you ever end up attending, you can also see cattle dog competitions, take part in a cattle drive, watch pasture roping and goat roping, and even check out mules competing!

The food does not disappoint either . . . spoken as one who tried a corn dog . . . and taquitos. 

 And to top it off, even the announcers were pretty great. Neutral third parties? Not them.

If an outrider couldn't get on his horse, it was: "Gentlemen, we have met the enemy and it is US."

If a cowboy couldn't get his calf roped: "Somebody's gettin' fired back at the bunkhouse tonight!"

If a wagon driver couldn't get his team under control: "His reins are looser than the drinking age in Mexico!"

Got babies who need their diapers changed? Arkansas has a place for that.

Or a need to sit out under some trees and smell some dirt? Arkansas. Gotcha covered.

Want to watch some cowboy race wagons -- sometimes wildly out of control? Arkansas has that too.

Here's to speedy outriders, sweltering heat, peeping Tom goats, trusty chuckwagons and a good dumpster or two (in about ten years)!


  1. Sounds like a good place to be...stinky diaper and all!

  2. I'm fairly certain my very tiny, almost-4-year-old would have issues using a porta-potty. We keep this travel potty in the back of our van for potty emergencies since she also has problems with the noise in public bathrooms:

    And it's always good to have a trip to look forward to, even if it is in 10 years. ;)

    1. Great minds! We ended up buying a little potty for traveling for similar reasons. Who knew the air dryers to use after you washed your hands could scare little people so much too?

  3. Okay, blow out aside, that sounds like a super fun time! My crew may have to check them out some day. Although 75 miles? Really? What's a mom to do when the kiddos have put her through the ringer and she could really use a glass of riesling? 🤦
    P.s. Tell G that Dennis refuses to use a porta potty, too. Good girl, G! 👍

    1. Clearly you have to stop at the goat/liquor store and take a bottle (or three) with you! Or just have G deliver you some chocolate milk and donuts. Because when she calls you on her phone, she still insists that's what you're bringing. :)


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