Can We Stop With All This Floodin’?

Can We Stop With All This Floodin’?

Parody song, video support flood relief


“It was big and mean and powerful. And once you got near the river, you could feel the evil coming off that thing.”

That’s how Rick Hayes recalls the Arkansas River as the flooding in the River Valley continued to encroach on towns on both sides of the state line.

For the first time ever, Hayes says, the Garrison Avenue bridge connecting Fort Smith and Oklahoma was shut down due to flooding. This closure gave Hayes — known as “Big Dog” on his KISR 93.7 morning radio show — an idea for a little bit of levity in the midst of tragedy.

“I’m sitting there listening to ‘Old Town Road,’ and I think, ‘Man, Old Garrison Road. We need to do a parody song on this and talk about how we can’t get to Oklahoma, how we can’t get to the casinos, how we can’t get to the bars’,” he remembers.

Some 48 hours later, Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ No. 1 hit “Old Town Road” had a localized Fort Smith parody version written by Rham Cunningham, Hayes’ Baker Broadcasting Media coworker and Rock 94.1 morning host. And people went crazy for it.

“It took on a life of its own and became requested just as much as ‘Old Town Road’,” executive producer Hayes says of the tune they thought they’d play for maybe a few days.

“It literally exploded,” Cunningham adds. “The public and even my 4-year-old daughter Sophie, (who is also featured in the video) started singing the lyrics to the new version! It was crazy, but the reaction was positive.

“After the song took off, making a music video was the next logical step, then finding a way for this to somehow benefit the flood victims was our next focus.”

The music video debuted on June 18 and has more than 20,000 views between Facebook and YouTube. Now, the song and video are available to download for 93 cents in support of the United Way of Fort Smith, with all the proceeds going directly to flood victims.

“We have to remember that it’s not just Fort Smith and Van Buren and Moffett and Roland; it’s Dardanelle, Conway, Ozark — all those people got flooded out, so that’s also why we chose the United Way, because if we get everybody handled here, then we’ll start moving that money downstream, and helping those folks out,” Hayes explains.

Though it will take the Riverfront years to get “back to normal,” and some who lost their homes never will, Hayes and Cunningham both point to the community’s resiliency in such a scary time.

“We truly are ‘Fort Smith Proud’ and ‘River Valley Strong,’ and morale is still high, despite this tragedy,” Cunningham asserts. “This is an incredible community on a normal day, but when you throw a natural disaster at us, you see just how incredible we really are.

“For years I’ve said the words, ‘I Love Fort Smith Out Loud’ and when things like this occur, I can easily see that I’m not the only one. That makes me proud to live in Fort Smith, Arkansas.”



‘Old Garrison Road’

WHAT — Parody song and music video whose sales benefit United Way of Fort Smith


COST — 93 cents

LISTEN — Radio host Rick “Big Dog” Hayes has a promo currently running on KISR 93.7 (96.1 in Fayetteville) every hour explaining where listeners can view and download the video.

Categories: Music