For over 60 years, the small town of Rhame has celebrated Rhame Gala Days as a way to have a good time.
By Frank Turner
This year, as is tradition, the town started the day with a parade and a massive turtle race. According to Rhame Community Club member Dana Eagon, over 50 slow but steady turtles trudged their way down Main Street, each speeding their way to first place.
“Racing turtles has been a long-standing tradition,” said Eagon.
So where do the people of Rhame find over 50 turtles? Eagon explained that people search dams and ditches to find the best reptile contestant.
“Everybody just brings them. People just go wherever they can find them,” she said. “My kids and I just found ours on the road. We had kept ours alive for a month before the race.”
Although her kid’s turtle didn’t win, Eagon said that she had a great time handing out squirt guns to the owners of winning turtles.
In the past, Eagon said that Rhame Gala Days had other strange traditions and races.
“I know, back in the day, they would do bed races,” she said. “They would get on old cots that had wheels on them and they would run them down Main Street. It would be fun to bring back an old tradition, but figure out how to do it legally and have fun with it.”
This year, Rhame Gala Days wasn’t just tradition. In addition to turtle races, the town hosted various kids’ games, an egg toss, and even a new watermelon-eating contest.
“The watermelon-eating contest went over really, really well,” said Eagon. “We are going to keep doing that. It was a lot of fun.”
Midday, the Rhame Community Club hosted a free-will donation meal for the community to benefit the community club.
In the evening, Rhame Gala Days finished with a rodeo and the live band, Fast Forward.
“Usually Rhame Gala Days has a DJ or a live band. This year was a live band that played on Main Street,” she said. “They were really good. They played a little bit of everything.”
Eagon said that, overall, the day was both successful and a chance for the community to get together.
“Rhame Gala Day is a great day to bring everyone together, to visit, and to take a day off of work.”