Razorback Day at the Capitol

Razorback Day at the Capitol

Why was I returning to Little Rock you might ask, after having been there the week before? Well, it was Razorback Day at the Capitol! It began at 11:00 a.m. which meant a bright and early departure time. I had several events scheduled after that on Thursday and Friday, so that meant packing, getting ready, and getting out on time to arrive for Razorback Day. I managed to do that and rolled into Little Rock a little before 11:00 a.m. The opening rally was held at the Old Train Depot. The area where we met was called Next Level Events. Lunch was provided and the menu included spaghetti and meat
sauce, fettuccini with cream sauce, caesar salad and garlic bread. Chancellor Gearhart welcomed the group and introduced Governor Mike Beebe who spoke about the legislative session, fiscal issues, and his commitment to restoring higher education’s revenue shortfalls once the economic situation improves. Following his remarks, Vice Chancellor Athletic Director Jeff Long introduced Coach Bobby Petrino who spoke to the group. In addition to Coach Petrino and Vice Chancellor Long, Mike Macechko also spoke.  After lunch everyone was shuttled over to the Capitol building where Tusk the hog was parked out front. While the UA supporters entered the Capitol building, the Razorback Band was playing in the second floor rotunda. Accompanying them
were cheerleaders and the mascots. You could hear the Razorback enthusiasm echo all throughout the Capitol building. Following the UA pep rally, many of us went to the House and the Senate to visit with our local legislators and a group of us even went into the Senate Gallery where Chancellor Gearhart was to address that body.

Jeff Long and myself

Jeff Long and myself

One of the funny things that happened was that before Chancellor Gearhart could speak, Charley Pride showed up. Apparently he had received medical treatment at UAMS for a growth in his throat and because of the excellent care he received there he was able to maintain his singing voice. He came to say thank you, complete with a boom box and a number of tunes. Lemme tell you, I believe he sang seven songs, including “San Antone,” “Crystal Chandeliers,” and “Mountain of Love.” Charley Pride said he’s singing now better than he ever did. You might imagine he upstaged the Chancellor just a tad bit.  In addition to Charley Pride, Frank Broyles was introduced, so between the two of them things slowed down considerably because a number of the Senators and visitors to the Chamber wanted to have their pictures made with both of those celebrities. By the time Chancellor Gearhart came up to address the body, it had been quite awhile since we arrived in the Gallery, but the Chancellor did get an opportunity to address the Senate. Afterwards, I headed back to my hotel to check e-mail and return phone calls.

Myself, John Witherspoon, and John Witherspoon

Myself, John Witherspoon, and John Witherspoon

That evening as part of the “Pride of Arkansas” tour sponsored by the Alumni Association, there was an alumni rally in Little Rock at the Junior League Headquarters on 4th and Scott Streets from 5:30-6:30 p.m. It was a reception with appetizers and light refreshments during which Mike Macechko and the Chancellor spoke, as well as Jeff Long and a couple of alumni leaders.  After that I walked back to the hotel and was met by Carolyn Witherspoon who (I think I’ve mentioned before on the blog) is a good friend and mentor. She is a partner in Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus. Carolyn and her husband John picked me up and we went to dinner at a new restaurant called Maddie’s Place in Little Rock and had a fabulous meal. Maddie’s is described as a funky, informal, family-friendly environment with a New Orleans theme.  I had a Chicken and Andouille Gumbo starter and for my entreè the Crispy Mississippi Catfish with Slow-Cooked Greens, Butter Beans and Creole Menuire Sauce. I think John had the Roasted Farm-Raised Duck Breast with Blackeyed Peas, Sweet Potato Brabants and Creole Tomato Glaze. Carolyn had a big bowl of gumbo with a side of greens. It was fun meal and it’s always good to see them. I initially met Carolyn when my colleague John Watkins introduced us. Carolyn was the in-coming Bar President and she was looking for new people to appoint to committees and John gave her my name. We have been great friends ever since. Carolyn has played a very significant role in many of the important recognitions and memberships that I’ve been fortunate enough to obtain in my career, either by nominating me or bringing me to the attention of the membership committee. I am always happy to see her and John and, as I’ve said we had a fabulous time.

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