The athletic departments from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Central Arkansas announced the formation of the Governor’s I-40 Showdown, a rivalry series established to promote the spirit of in-state competition between the Little Rock Trojans and the Central Arkansas Bears while celebrating the athletic programs of both schools.
“The Governor’s I-40 Showdown will produce a good-natured rivalry with well-earned bragging rights when the triumphant school brings home the trophy,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “The Showdown no doubt will boost interest in all 11 sports designated for the competition and will encourage the athletes by showing their fans are behind them. And this rivalry will give the universities another platform to promote their academic programs to recruit new students.”
While these two Division I institutions, separated by just 30 miles, have competed against each other for decades, the newly-formalized rivalry will ensure the Bears and Trojans continue their rivalry in all sports that are mutually sponsored by both institutions.
“This really promotes the spirit of in-state competition,” said Little Rock Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque. “It really promotes these two fine institutions and our athletic programs, but really our student-athletes. We promote the entire student-athlete and this gives us another avenue to showcase their successes.”
“There are other Division programs in other states that do something similar, and we think it just makes sense,” said Central Arkansas Director of Athletics Brad Teague. “In-state competition just makes sense, and why wouldn’t we want to do this? It’s a big time announcement, and we’re proud of it.”
As part of the Governor’s I-40 Showdown, Little Rock and Central Arkansas will compete on the fields of play each year across 11 sports. The Bears and Trojans will meet annually in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s golf.
Each head-to-head competition will have a pre-determined point value for the winning team. The university that accumulates the most points during the athletic season will have its name permanently engraved on the Governor’s Trophy – a traveling trophy that will reside on the reigning champion’s campus the following year.
The Governor’s Trophy will be presented at the final competition between the two schools, which is the annual baseball game played at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.
The first head-to-head meeting between the two schools as part of the Governor’s I-40 Showdown will take place Friday, August 17, when UCA and Little Rock meet in women’s soccer at the Bill Stephens Soccer Complex in Conway.
The two schools will go head-to-head in 10 different sports in 2018-19 with women’s basketball added to the rivalry in 2019-20.