Five years ago Chris Campbell, of Mt. Vernon, approached Bill Lynch at Heber Springs State Bank to get his opinion on the idea of starting a Razorback Club here in the Heber Springs area. Bill’s suggestion was for them to contact Ricky Davis of Heber Springs and Leon Nicholson of Greers Ferry to arrange a round table discussion of the idea. This would help answer questions like; what it would take to start the process and if the area would support such a Club. The First step would be contacting the University of Arkansas Razorback Foundation to get approval. It was decided to go forward with that first step and see what reaction the Foundation had on the matter. The first reaction of then Foundation Director Harold Horton was “NO”; he suggested we join an existing club.
The ones established in close proximity were Mountain View, Batesville or Searcy. Chris Campbell was persistent with Horton about starting our own. Chris just wouldn’t take NO for an answer! Chris had several conversations with Mr. Horton about why a local club would be successful. Horton finally agreed to allow Chris and the group to give it a shot. The four local men took that opportunity! They got the legal work completed to become a “not for profit” organization, which is required to be a Razorback Club. While lawyer Leon Nicholson was getting the legal work together for the IRS; Chris, Bill and Ricky began the process of planning a membership drive, naming the club and hosting a future Banquet!
The first decision was to name the local club. It would be important in drawing members in with a feeling of their home being included; thus the name became “Greers Ferry Lake Area Razorback Club”. It was perfect! All people and communities living in the vicinity of the lake would know this club represented their home! “When we first starting contacting the public to induct members and sell tickets for our first banquet it was slow going.” Said Ricky Davis. “We became very discouraged.” The University had contacted us after our Charter was approved offering our first banquet speaker, baseball Coach Dave Van Horn. This banquet was to be held in Heber Springs at the Methodist Church Family Life Center. Dave Van Horn would be our special guest speaker along with representatives from the Foundation and the Voice of the Razorbacks, Chuck Barrett.
The foursome made phone calls all over the Lake Area trying to sell banquet tickets. With only about 4 weeks from the date of the first banquet they had only sold 60 – 70 tickets! The first thought at that point was maybe we didn’t have enough time to pull it off our first year. We then made it a goal to get 125 – 150 tickets sold by 2 weeks out or the banquet would be canceled. Over the following two weeks, the four of us made contact with as many people as we could and the response of the Lake Area was amazing. That first banquet was on August 21, 2008, which was only few months after our club had received its charter. Harold Horton and Sean Rochelle of the Razorback Foundation along with Chuck Barrett (Voice of the Razorbacks) and Coach Dave Van Horn flew into Heber Springs airport from Fayetteville. They were received by a very loud and enthusiastic crowd of around 300! The Foundation Representatives still to this day talk about how awesome that first banquet was! Several incredible banquets with crowds up to as many as 600 have been hosted by the GFLA Club. We have had great special guests such as; Bobby Petrino, Mike Anderson, Tom Collen, Dave Van Horn, legendary Coach Frank Broyles as well as many other special guests attend our banquets!
Our local club, of over 300 individuals and family members, has a Board of Directors consisting of 12 individual passionate Razorback supporters who volunteer their time to maintain, promote and organize events which have established the GFLA Razorback Club as one of the Best in Razorback Nation! There are 20 total clubs around the state of Arkansas & 3 outside the state including Dallas, TX, Tulsa, OK & Louisiana whose main purpose is to gain fan support and raise monies to support Arkansas Razorback Athletics. Many of these clubs have been established for decades. 2012 was our 5th year to be a chartered club. Incredibly, in 2012, we achieved the Highest level of Giving to the Razorback Foundation, the Broyles Mathews Platinum Level, which requires a donation of $20,000.00 or more given in a single year! Only 5 clubs have achieved that level including the Little Rock Club, Ft. Smith Club, Northwest AR Club (Fayetteville, Rogers & Springdale area), Petit Jean Club (Morrilton area) and the Greers Ferry Lake Area Razorback Club! Sean Rochelle, senior associate Director of Razorback foundation, Inc. says about our club “WOW”!!! “Simply incredible that your club has achieved the Platinum level of membership in such a short time.” The credit goes to our great Board of Directors, many volunteers who help with our events, all the companies who sponsor events financially & hundreds of members! This part of the State has very passionate Razorback Fans and the Greers Ferry Lake Area Razorback Club is proof of that!
Our Razorback Football program had a rough year in 2012. Then a few weeks ago Athletic Director Jeff Long introduced to the Razorback Nation the new football Coach of the U of A, Bret Bielema. He is a home run hire and is creating an exciting anticipation for the future of the program. Late December Sean Rochelle contacted our club and informed us that Coach Bielema wished to make 2 state appearances during this spring football practice period. Out of respect of our awesome club Rochelle recommended to Coach Bielema that Heber Springs be one of those appearances. On Monday Evening April 1, 2013 He will be the Special Guest Speaker of our club’s banquet! It will be exciting to hear about the 2013 recruiting class as well as the state of the football program. We are expecting this to be our largest banquet to date! (Check out the insert inside this paper for info about the Greers Ferry Lake Area Razorback Club and how to become a member in 2013) Don’t miss a moment of outrageous Hog Calling mania!