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Overview

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Chile Pepper Mission Statement; 
We inspire and support Northwest Arkansas youth cross country teams, promoting the benefit of exercise, healthy lifestyle, teamwork and lifelong sport.

Meet Dates: Friday, October 1st and Saturday, October 2nd, 2021

Race Schedule

NO PETS on grounds!  NO DRONES!  We are guests of the University of Arkansas Experimental Farm and these are strict rules.

NO Pre-Registration/Packet Pickup Available Friday or Course Preview for High School teams or Open 10K participants due to college meet schedule.

  • Cars, college team vans/buses are allowed entry from Garland Avenue at AGRI Park on Friday.
  • Race Staff, Credentialed Volunteers, and VIP 10K participants allowed entry from Garland Avenue at AGRI Park on Saturday.
  • Parking for Saturday High School Teams is adjacent to the Washington Country Fairgrounds as directed by race officials.  Buses may drop off students at Agri Park off Garland Avenue.
  • Pedestrian access for Race Staff, Credentialed Volunteers, and VIP 10K participants allowed thru Quality Lane gate or as directed by officials.
  • Chile Pepper T-shirts and other event merchandise will be available for purchase.

Scoring and Timing

Each runner will be required to wear a shoe chip which will be tied to his or her shoelace with supplied bread ties. At the conclusion of each race, the chips will be collected. Each participant or Coach, in the case of Teams, is responsible for returning the chip to the finish line area or registration tent if not participating.  Please turn in the chips you don’t use or you or the school may be charged.

Packet Pick-up and Registration

College Races will have packets available at 2:30 PM Friday, there will be 4 heats.

10k Open is only Citizen event available in 2021, pickup packet on Saturday beginning at 6:00 AM.

High School Team Packets may be picked up Saturday after 7:30 AM. 

Course Description

The Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival is held on the University of Arkansas cross country course in Fayetteville. The course is a combination of grass, cinder and uneven terrain.  SEC and NCAA Championships have been settled here!  Coach Bucknam describes it as the Superbowl of Cross Country!

Race Proceeds Distributed to Northwest Arkansas High School Cross Country Programs

Race proceeds are given to the Fayetteville, Springdale, Har-Ber, Rogers, Rogers Heritage, Siloam Springs and Bentonville, Elkins, Farmington, Gentry, Greenland, Haas Hall, Prairie Grove, and West Fork high school cross country teams.  Our mission is to get kids running and over $800,000 has been given to date.  $31,000 was distributed in 2020.

2021 Special Considerations

As you might imagine, the Chile Pepper Board is again faced with significant challenges in trying to determine a safe way to have a large cross country event. While as little as 60 – 90 days ago the Board intended to put on a full fledged “normal” Chile Pepper Festival, it has become clear since then that hard choices needed to be made if we wanted to have any event at all; especially with FULL Hospitals and Emergency Rooms in the Northwest Arkansas area and continued high rates of infections of Covid-19.  As a result of these extraordinary circumstances, there are distinct differences that you will see in the 2021 Chile Pepper Festival.

Current Key Offerings:

1. To have the most competitive event possible, all colleges and eligible high schools, regardless of location, are invited to run in this year’s event.
2. We will host College Men and Women’s events along with High School Caliente and Open events for
both boys and girls.  There is also a Citizen’s 10K on Saturday.
3. In-person purchase of that special Chile Pepper merchandise will be available (with some modifications to the buying process to reduce crowding).

Changes to a Normal Year:

1. THERE WILL BE NO SPECTATORS ALLOWED ON THE FESTIVAL GROUNDS ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2ND! While a very tough decision, the Board determined this was necessary to significantly reduce overall crowd size and ensure we would be allowed to even have an event. Also, this supports a long- held belief of the board that, if we had to reduce overall headcount at the Festival, our primary motivations are to provide school athletes a chance to compete, and give back to area schools’ cross country programs.
2. There will be no junior high events this year.
3. Masks are strongly encouraged where social distancing is not possible. Please consider this when approaching the Registration, Merchandise and Concession areas.
4. There will not be a Food Tent this year. Jose’s has been a major supporter of the Chile Pepper since its inception and will continue to be. The decision was simply that food was not critical this particular year, especially since events will be over by around noon. There will be normal concessions.
5. There will not be any Friday access to the course for high school teams to preview/run due to college races. Packet pickup will occur Saturday morning at the Registration tent for all high school events.
6. There will not be a pre-festival Press Conference.
7. College events will occur on Friday evening, October 1st.  Spectators are allowed (which are typically much smaller than regional high school events).
8. Volunteers will be allowed on the course while performing volunteer duties. If a person is not on the official list of volunteers, finalized prior to the event, they will not be allowed to access to the Festival grounds on Saturday. Numbers of volunteers will be spread across all supported schools. The overall number will be reduced proportionate to the reduced needs of the event limitations this year.