As of this writing, I was told by phone and Messenger on Facebook, The National Championship Chuckwagon Races will be held, with events beginning August 29 and continuing through September 6. So at that time, from all over the United States, thousands will be descending on Van Buren County, which has had low numbers of Covid-19 cases.

Considering the Governor has issued an Executive Order requiring face coverings, which he resisted until it became apparent the virus was spreading rapidly in the state; considering The President, a face mask resister, has recently starting wearing a face covering and had said the worst is yet to come; considering the organizers of the VBC County Fair and Arkansas State Fair have canceled their events this year due to increasing pandemic spread; then, how can the Chuckwagon Races be in the best interests of our county?

How many of these visitors will be coming from parts of the country where the Coronavirus is spreading like wildfire? How many will have the virus but no symptoms? How many will refuse to wear a face mask? How many will be “superspreaders”? How many thousands of contacts will there be between these visitors and local residents, making contact tracing an impossible task?

If the races are held, let us not forget, when virus cases surge here in October, who it was that said, “Don’t worry, we’ve got everything under control.” Also don’t forget those who said nothing, did nothing, and let this avoidable tragedy move forward.

The organizers of this event have a choice between doing what’s in the real best interest of our community, or holding an event that puts a dollar value on human life. It won’t just be people in other places dying, it’ll be our friends, our neighbors and our family members.

Heroes or villains, which will it be?

Burgess is a regular contributor from Crabtree.

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