HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Emmitt Smith, the legendary Dallas Cowboys running back who is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will serve as the celebrity grand marshal of the First Ever 21st Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 17, in downtown Hot Springs.
“Wow,” said Visit Hot Springs CEO and parade founder Steve Arrison. “We are beyond thrilled that Emmitt Smith will be our grand marshal. He is still fondly remembered by millions of fans as one of the greatest ever to play the game. I know 98-foot Bridge Street won’t be able to contain all the fans who want to see this legend in person on March 17. But we have Central Avenue and Malvern Avenue before and after the parade route where fans will find plenty of room to cheer this sports icon.”
In his 15 seasons as a running back in the National Football League, Smith amassed many records that still stand today, including most career rushing yards and most career rushing touchdowns. Smith’s impressive resume includes three Super Bowl championship rings, his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, and, most recently in 2019, his selection to the NFL 100 All-Time Team (a prestigious list honoring the best players of the NFL’s first 100 years).
As a first-round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, Smith was the cornerstone of the Dallas Cowboys offense for 13 seasons. The eight-time Pro Bowler was the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons and on October 27, 2002, he surpassed Walter Payton as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.
After his playing days, Smith served as a football analyst and then took his television career a step further when he won the third season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, during which he was dubbed “the king of effortless cool.” He also added author to his list of accomplishments, publishing Game On, which outlines the principles that helped him succeed both on and off the field.
Smith then transitioned to the role of entrepreneur and runs several companies spanning real estate, construction and technology. He is active in charitable outreach in the Dallas area and on a national level, providing educational opportunities and unique experiences for underserved youth. In addition, Smith is in demand as a motivational speaker.
In August of 2021, it was announced that Smith has become a co-owner of a NASCAR team partnering with Jesse Iwuji Motorsports for the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. A major theme of Smith and Iwuji’s partnership will center on STEM education for lower-income communities and diversity and inclusion initiatives within the sport of NASCAR.
Smith resides in Dallas and, among his athletic accomplishments and business endeavors, is foremost a father of five children.
Entries are now being accepted for participants in the First Ever 21st Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Hot Springs on March 17.
“Only 40 entries are accepted each year, and entries are cut off after we get 40,” Arrison said. “We’d love to be able to take more, but since our parade is only 98 feet long, we have to limit the number of folks who can join in the fun.”
Arrison said information for registering can be had by emailing Visit Hot Springs Special Events Manager Alexis Hampo at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the entry form.
The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade annually attracts more than 30,000 fans from across the country to Bridge Street, which Ripley’s Believe It or Not declared the World’s Shortest Street in Everyday Use. It features an array of 40 or more zany entries that include a troupe of marching Irish Elvis Presley impersonators, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, wacky floats, marching bands and assorted performance groups who adopt the parade’s irreverent take on the boisterous holiday.
Already announced as taking part in the 2024 parade are “Yellowstone” TV star Forrie J. Smith — who plays fan favorite Lloyd Pierce — who will be the official starter on Sunday for the parade, and country music star Pat Green, who will perform a free public concert on Saturday, March 16, to kick off a weekend of big fun.
For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.