GRAVETTE – Amanda Price attended the October 11 meeting of the Gravette Historical Museum Commission and donated an official dashboard dated 1943. The dashboard completed an item already in the museum’s collection, a chalk bulldog with the inscription “Relic of the Journey to State Tourney of Jonesboro 1940.”
Amanda is the granddaughter of Olin Leonard, whose name is among the players whose names are inscribed on the Bulldog. The players whose names are listed are Norman Clark, Burt Allinder, Vance Perry, Conley Austin, Marion Roberts, David Ralston, Olin Leonard, Kenneth Zimmerman, Jack Russell, Floyd Russell, Donald Wells, LM Pearson, WP Ellis, Nelson Leonard, Haddon Leonard, Lindsey Motley and Durrill Gunsaulas.
There is an interesting story behind the Bulldog, sort of a trophy for that trip the town’s basketball team made to Jonesboro. Apparently there was no trophy to hand over to the winning team, which was Gravette. After the game, the team traveled to Memphis, Tenn. Wanting something to commemorate their victory, the team members bought a lion. When they couldn’t find one, they settled on the bulldog to signify their victory.
Other inscriptions on the bulldog include the word “Oscar”, which is presumed to be the team name for the dog, and the words “Yes, Thelma” on the right side. No one has been found to verify Thelma’s identity. “7 miles from Missouri and 10 miles from Oklahoma” has been listed, presumably to describe Gravette’s location, and “Homestead Inn” and “Pivot Rock” likely identify where the team stayed on the trip and a location that they visited in Eureka Springs on their way home.
Price said the scoreboard and other record books were found in a barn in her grandfather’s square, where she now lives. The Leonard farm served as a polling station for rural La Gravette voters for many years.
(Information for this story was provided by Steve Mitchael, Chairman of the Gravette Historical Museum Commission.)