Patrick Mahomes II, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, will be one of the featured guest presenters in the Best of River Valley Preps awards show on Thursday, June 18. Mahomes will announce the male and female athletes of the year, which are the top awards of the night.


“Taco Bell/KMAC is so proud of all the teams and their coaches for exemplifying all the key attributes in being the River Valley All Stars,” said Taco Bell General Manager Matthew Perry.


“It’s an exciting accomplishment when we see our student athletes rise above adversity, work together as a team and represent their individual schools with dignity and a true sportsmanship attitude,” he added.


“These teams truly represent the Best of the Best, and it should encourage all those in our community of the bright future these young people represent. It is truly an honor to celebrate with them and recognize each for Living Mas!”


Mahomes, a native of Tyler, Texas, dazzled Chief fans during the 2019-20 season with come-from-behind rallies that ultimately led to the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl victory since the 1969 season. His poise and leadership during critical moments defied his age, 24, and led to him becoming the youngest player in NFL history to be named the Super Bowl MVP.


“We are thrilled to add a professional athlete of Patrick Mahomes’ caliber to an already robust lineup of amazing professional athletes,” said Times Record Sports Editor Brian Sanderford. “We wanted to make sure that the broadcast awards show, which replaced our live event for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was extra special for the athletes, coaches and schools that we honor each year as part of the annual Best of River Valley Preps award show. Thankfully, our business partners also believed in this vision and didn’t want the honorees this year to go without a celebration of their efforts.”


Mahomes joins a robust list of professional athletes who will be announcing the Players of the Year for each state sanctioned sport covered by the Times Record including Venus Williams, Michael Phelps, Drew Brees, Wayne Gretzky, Gabby Douglas, Bode Miller, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Gary Woodland, Misty May-Treanor, Jordan Burroughs, Norm Duke, Rose Lavelle, Jessica Mendoza and Keli Smith Puzo. Television sports broadcasters Jesse Palmer, Sage Steele, Dr. Jerry Punch and Courtney Cronin will host the awards show. Additional presenters will be announced in coming weeks.


The show will premiere at 6 p.m. on June 18 and is free to watch at swtimes.com/preps.


Honorees who have been listed on the event website and in the Times Record should register by May 20 to also receive a special gift package that will be mailed to their home prior to the event. If they fail to register by the deadline, their certificate and medal will be available for pickup at the Times Record office at a date to be specified later. Registration is not required to watch the show.


“Arvest Bank is pleased to once again offer our support for the Best of River Valley Preps Awards, an event that reflects many of the attributes — hard work, dedication and determination — that we value as a company. We hope all of those who watch the broadcast awards show will feel the pride and sense of achievement that comes from putting those attributes into action, and also hope they recognize Arvest’s commitment to the communities we serve every day,” stated Roger Holroyd, the president of Arvest Bank Fort Smith Region.


“We are excited to hear that Patrick Mahomes II and many other professional athletes are lined up to congratulate the River Valley athletes,” he added. “We are disappointed that we can’t celebrate in person, but we are excited to show you that we are proud of you and your accomplishments through this special event.”


Not all state sanctioned sports will be included in the Players of the Year awards due to spring sports cancellations required by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, there will be a recognition of seniors who missed their final sports seasons as part of a national tribute video that will be included in the broadcast. The public can also show support of seniors who missed their final games and celebrations by joining in the national movement with support messages on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag DontStopNow. One person nationally using this #DontStopNow will win $1,000 for themselves and $1,000 for the charity of their choice. See details on the event website the night of the show for additional information.


Gannett owns and operates the largest high school athlete recognition program in the U.S. Viewers can find various locations, including the Best of River Valley Preps show, at sportsawards.usatoday.com as well as on the event website at swtimes.com/preps.