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Salt Bowl holds vaccine clinic for high school football fans

The historic Salt Bowl has been played in the state for many years. The past two years have looked a little different, in part to the pandemic.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The 2020 Salt Bowl between Benton and Bryant looked nothing like the games of years past: COVID-19 made sure of that. 

This year's game was no different, but had far less COVID-related restrictions.

For fans like Jefferey Moore, you just can't beat the Salt Bowl.

"Well it's a great atmosphere and I support the Bryant Hornets, I'm a Bryant Hornet all the way," Moore said. "It means a lot to me, just to be a part of it, you know, I'm really from Saline County. It just feels real good to come up to Little Rock and have a great game."

Saturday's game was a lot more than just the first game of the season for the crosstown rivals.

"It's a good rivalry game. So, it's good. Good to be back," Moore said.

For organizers like Shane Broadway, this is also big. It's a chance for some kind of normalcy, but also to keep people safe.

"That's really what this is all about and what this event is all about, is making a difference in our community," Broadway said.

Joining the booths for food and games was a new and unique one – a vaccine clinic.

"Last year we didn't have a vaccine," Broadway said. "Now we have a vaccine, and so this is something that we can hold to that can help stop the spread of this, so let's do that."

The Arkansas Department of Health approached them about the clinic, and Broadway said they jumped at the opportunity.

He said they saw so many high school games cancelled due to the pandemic last year, they wanted to ensure the same thing didn't happen this year.

"That can put that in jeopardy, and these kids' ability to experience their senior year of football," Broadway said.

Moore knows that feeling all too well – his son plays for Bryant. But he said Saturday was good to see, even if he is a little nervous.

"I'm still a little hesitant but I think eventually things will turn around," he said.

So while the focus was on the field Saturday, Broadway said there's still a message to take away from this – even if no one had used the clinic at all.

"By them getting their shot, they may tell somebody else, they tell somebody else, and it trickles down," he said. "If you change one person's life here tonight, that's great."