Southwest Times Record is changing its annual Best of River Valley Preps Awards show from a physical event originally scheduled for Friday, May 29 to a star-studded awards show that will be available at no charge at 6 p.m. CDT on Thursday, June 18. The show will feature more than 20 professional athletes as hosts and award announcers, and provide the community with an on-demand broadcast to maintain the annual tradition of honoring hundreds of student athletes for their hard work and dedication in their sport during the past school year.
“Our student athletes are constantly being told that drive and dedication are the tools for success,” said Southwest Times Record Publisher R.J. Brenner. “Their commitment shows each and every day on fields, gymnasiums, pools and courts. It is with that same resolution that we at the Times Record continue to evolve our celebration for these athletes. No one had a heavier heart at the idea of canceling our annual event, but the safety and welfare of students will always come first. It is with that in mind that I believe we have struck a perfect balance between celebration and safety with our Best of River Valley Preps Awards presentation this year. With all of the other challenges we face in this unprecedented time, it brings a smile to my face to know that our students will hear their names being called out in celebration by the likes of Drew Brees, Venus Williams, and a roster of the greatest sports heroes in the world. Please mark your calendars, and enjoy the show.”
The awards show will be available to watch on any smart device through YouTube and the event website at swtimes.com/preps, thanks to the continued support of area business leaders like partners Taco Bell and Arvest.
The awards event will be hosted by television sports anchors Jesse Palmer and Sage Steele. Celebrity athletes will be participating in the awards presentation and include New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees as the football award presenter; Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams as the tennis award presenter; Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor as the volleyball award presenter; and Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee as the cross country and track awards presenter, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
“While disappointed that the traditional in-person ceremony won’t happen as usual, Arvest is still excited to be a part of the River Valley Best of Preps Awards show,” said Beth Presley, vice president of marketing for Fort Smith Region Arvest Bank.
“We are thrilled to see the list of celebrity presenters in this new streaming format. It is our proud honor to help recognize our hard working student athletes from across the area, some of who’s seasons were suddenly cut short. This event will give the student athletes, coaches and families something to look forward to.”
The show will feature opportunities to win autographed gifts and other prizes, both before the debut and during the show. Students who register online by Sunday, May 10 on the event website will receive event updates and be included in any gift mailings.
Gannett owns and operates the largest high school athlete recognition program in the U.S. Viewers can find various locations, including the Best of River Valley Preps Awards show, at sportsawards.usatoday.com, as well as on the event website at swtimes.com/preps.