IT’S WATSON DAY: Benefit for child with cancer kicks off on the Natchez Bluff

Published 2:09 pm Saturday, March 18, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Despite the pre-Easter cold snap setting in this weekend, around 40 motorcyclists and several families made their way bright and early to the Natchez bluff for a full day of activities to benefit a Natchez three-year-old’s family amid his battle with cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

To warm things up, the smell of hot jambalaya attracted visitors to Smoots Grocery Blues Lounge, where a lot of the activities and live music are held.

Festivities continue until 6 p.m. and later, which include a petting zoo, bounce houses, live and silent auctions, a gun raffle, live music, cornhole tournaments and laser tag around a massive hay bale maze stationed in Bluff Park in addition to the motorcycle poker run that began at 10 a.m. at various locations and a live broadcast of a roping event in New Mexico a poker tournament in Texas — all to help the young Watson Calhoun and his family.

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To kick things off, Mayor Dan Gibson issued an official proclamation declaring the day “Watson Calhoun Day.”

The three-year-old was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, cancer that forms on the brain stem at the top of his spinal cord. Watson has undergone emergency surgery to remove the tumor but the cancer spread throughout his brain and along his spinal cord, top to bottom, said his mother, Melissa Calhoun.

The benefit will help the family with food, lodging and travel expenses while Watson undergoes aggressive chemo and radiation treatments in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ronnie Calhoun, the host of Miss-Lou Champions Spotlight, is Watson’s great-uncle but might as well be immediate family to Watson, he said.

“He’s still happy and active like he doesn’t understand his condition, which I guess is for the best,” he said.

Find the full itinerary of the day’s activities below.

For those who can’t attend, donations can also be made at Delta Bank to “Melissa Calhoun Special Account.” Contact 601-493-3740 for more information.


Cornhole Tournaments: The first tournament starts at 1 p.m., second tournament starting at 6 p.m. The cost is $50 per team. Contact Jacob Hamilton at 318-471-6219 to register or for more information.

Live Music: Performances by Hannah Belle, Matt Willis, Bryce McGlothin, Charlie Hugg, Thomas Sanders, Craig Cox and Jena Ducros

Raffles and Live Auction: Weekend getaway packages, cornhole boards, furniture, gift cards to Sports Center, Taylor Cooley Photography and Cypress Point Taxidermy, pontoon duck blind, two guided turkey hunt and more.

Kid’s Area and Games: Bracelets are $10 for all-day activities, including laser tag, bounce houses, petting zoo, face painting and more.

Live-streamed fundraising events: Roping for Watson rodeo fundraiser in Carlsbad, New Mexico and Dealing for Watson – poker tournament in Big Spring, Texas

Food, beverages and vendors: Jambalaya plate lunches are sold for $10 each. There is also a snack and Coca-Cola wagon. T-shirts, car freshies, koozies cookies and sweets and prints of “Watson Superhero” artwork by Jenny Hinkle are also for sale at Smoots.