The sixth annual Boys and Girls Club of Paris fund raising banquet took place Saturday night and organizers said the event raised $14,000 and are confident that when all the money comes in, the organization will reach its goal of raising $15,000.
Also, the 200 or so people on hand heard a report about Razorback athletics from guest speaker Bo Mattingly, host of a popular program, Sports Talk With Bo, which is broadcast on radio and television.
"We’ve still got donations coming in and I expect us to reach our goal," said First National Bank of Paris CEO Jarrod Yarnell. The bank organizes and hosts the event each year. This year’s sponsors were Warren’s Inc., Paris Ford, Paris Family Pharmacy and Forbis Consultants.
Yarnell said the evening went well.
"I’ve gotten a lot of compliments," he said. "I think people really enjoyed the guest speaker and the food."
The doors to the First National Bank Community Center, where the event was held, opened at 6:30 p.m. A dinner of smoked pork loin, seasoned green beans, a baked potato, Caesar salad and cheesecake with chocolate-covered strawberries was cooked by Gary Eveld and Eric Wells. Prior to dinner, hor’doeuvres were prepared and served by Judy Cross and her husband Darwin Cross.
Mattingly predicted that the University of Arkansas football team will eventually be successful under new head coach Bret Bielema. Bielema left the University of Wisconsin and was hired by Arkansas to replace Bobby Petrino, who was dismissed last spring after his infamous motorcycle accident. Bielema won three Big 10 Conference titles at Wisconsin.
"Someone this accomplished, moving from another major conference to come here, you can’t find another example of that," Mattingly said. "Then, he went out and hired some of the best coaches. I think we’re going to see results from that."
Mattingly also confidently predicted that at some point, Arkansas will win an SEC championship under Bielema.
Mattingly also had a prediction about Arkansas’ quarterback situation.
"Brandon Allen will be a very good quarterback," he said. "I think he’s going to be very successful at Arkansas."
This year, according to Mattingly, the football team has a chance to make a bowl game. As for the record, "six wins is a good number to shoot for, but five to seven wins, they’ll be right in there."
Mattingly also talked about the UA baseball and basketball programs.
"Be patient with Mike Anderson," Mattingly said when asked about the Arkansas basketball program. "I do believe in Mike Anderson and his track record. They’ll be fine."
As for the baseball program, Mattingly said, "They’ve got the ingredients to go to the College World Series."
Mattingly also talked at length about fathering and parenting, the importance of athletics to children and the importance of organizations like the Boys and Girls Club.
Steve Brown, formerly of Paris, also talked about the importance of the Boys and Girls Club and said he’s forming an alumni group to support the organization.
"I’m excited about some opportunities to further the life and health of the club," Brown said.
"We got great memories, great friendships and physical conditioning and they were formed by this thing called the Boys and Girls Club," Brown said.
He also announced that the alumni group will host a golf tournament on June 22 and a fall fishing tournament is being considered. He promised more details later.