Five years ago Chris Campbell of Mount Vernon approached Bill Lynch at Heber Springs State Bank to get his opinion on the idea of starting a Razorback Club in the Heber Springs area.
Lynch’s suggestion was for them to contact Ricky Davis of Heber Springs and Leon Nicholson of Greers Ferry to arrange a round-table discussion to help answer questions like what would it take to start the process and would the area 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. The first reaction of then-Foundation Director Harold Horton was “No.” He suggested those interested join an existing club. The nearest ones were Mountain View, Batesville and Searcy.
Campbell was persistent. He wouldn’t take no for an answer and had several conversations with Horton to persuade him that a local club would be successful. Horton finally agreed. The four local men took that opportunity and got the legal work completed to become a “not for profit” organization, which is required to be a Razorback Club. While Nicholson, a lawyer, was getting the legal work together for the IRS, the other three, Campbell, Lynch and Davis, 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, which let all people and communities in the vicinity of the lake to know this was their club.
“When we first starting contacting the public to induct members and sell tickets for our first banquet it was slow going,” Davis said. “We became very discouraged.”
The University had contacted the group after the charter was approved to offer the first banquet speaker — baseball Coach Dave Van Horn along with Voice of the Razorbacks Chuck Barrett. The date would be Aug. 21, 2008, in Heber Springs.
The group started working the phones, calling all over the lake area to sell banquet tickets. It started slow, but the new club hit its goal of 125-150 tickets sold in time to ensure the banquet would be held. By the time the banquet rolled around, the new club had 300 people in attendance.
Last summer, the club held a banquet in Clinton and gained several new members from Van Buren County.
The club has more than 300 individuals and family members, and a board of directors consisting of 12 passionate Razorback supporters who volunteer their time to maintain, promote and organize events that have established the GFLA Razorback Club as one of the best in Razorback Nation. There are 20 clubs across the state and three outside the state including Dallas, Tulsa and Louisiana. Some of these clubs have been established for decades. 2012 was GFLA’s fifth year and, incredibly, in 2012, the club achieved the highest level of giving to the Razorback Foundation, the Broyles Mathews Platinum Level, which requires a donation of $20,000 or more given in a single year. Only five clubs have achieved that level.
Though the Razorback football program had a rough year in 2012, a few weeks ago Athletic Director Jeff Long introduced to the Razorback Nation the new football coach — Bret Bielema. He is creating an exciting anticipation for the future of the program.
Late in December the Foundation’s Sean Rochelle contacted the local club and said Bielema wished to make two state appearances during this spring football practice period, and that the Greers Ferry Lake Area club will host one of those appearances. On Monday evening, April 1, 2013, Bielema will be the special guest speaker at the club’s banquet. He will talk about the 2013 recruiting class as well as the state of the football program. The club expects this to be its largest banquet to date! (Check out the insert inside this paper for information about the Greers Ferry Lake Area Razorback Club and how to become a member in 2013 so you won’t miss a moment of outrageous Hog Calling mania!)