The annual Arkansas Southeast Fair and Rodeo Parade will be held beginning at 4:45 p.m. Sept. 27, at 4:45 p.m. in downtown Pine Bluff. The parade theme of “Let Freedom Ride” will honor the late Army Sgt. Michael J. Strachota of Pine Bluff, who was killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in June. The grand marshal of the 73rd annual rodeo parade will be William Michael “Will” Strachota, the 3-year-old son of the soldier. Lauren Strachota, Strachota’s widow and Will’s mother, will accompany her son from their home at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, to Pine Bluff to take part in the parade.
Many of the Patriot Guard Riders who escorted the family during the July funeral and graveside ceremonies for the sergeant are also expected to be a part of the rodeo parade. Anyone interested in participating in this event, as a rider or in any capacity, can contact Rob Cheatwood at (870) 536-7072.
The weeklong fair and rodeo will get underway Monday and run through Sept. 29 at Hestand Stadium with carnival rides, food, livestock displays, roping and riding during the annual fall tradition.
The gates will open to the general public at noon every day during fair week. “Armband Nights” will be observed from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 25 and Sept. 27-29.