A group of around 12 Cleburne County officials attended the Gillett 75th Annual Coon Supper and the Berry Pre-Coon Supper Reception on Saturday to mix and mingle with other elected officials and candidates for office.
Judge Jerry Holmes, JP Chad Evans, JP Paul Roberts, and Mrs. Roberts, Tommy Land, who is running for Land Commissioner, Judy Land, Tax Assessor, County Clerk Rachelle Evans, Jett DeSoto, treasurer for Land’s campaign, Circuit Clerk Heather Smith, Steve Smith, Jamie Land, Laneigh Pfalser, Marc and Janet Creasey, who raise cattle in Heber Springs and Dawn Teer, Editor of The Sun Times, who has covered this event four years previously.
The Berry Pre-Coon Supper Reception began years ago when Rep. Marion Berry and wife, Carolyn lived across from the gym where the supper is held. Friends and politicians would stop in on the way to the supper. Soon they began holding the reception at their farm shop as a fundraiser when Berry was running for re-election. When Berry retired, his son, Mitch and several of his previous interns took over the event turning it unto a fundraiser that would fund living expenses for interns. According to Chuck Welch, ASU-Jonesboro, they have raised $75,000 over five years.
Reception goers were entertained by the Good Time Ramblers. -John Lefler, lead vocals and guitar; Alex Piazza, lead and steel guitar; Richard Dwiggins, bass guitar and vocal; Brooks Browning, drums
Mitch Berry would thank the sponsors, the ladies who made the meal possible, Julie Wright, Nicki Pippinger, Barbara Roach, Becky Campbell, Lauren Waldrip, Vivian Meins and Gale Abramson for running the door, Gabe and Katherine Holstrom, Justin Allen, Ben Noble, Grant Tennile, Erica Chudy and Bishop Woosley and all who attended. Unfortunately Marion and Carolyn were unable to attend, due to illness.
At the Coon Supper the crowd was entertained by Rep. Rick Crawford and his Triple Nickel Band. Miss Arkansas Maggie Benton also performed “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Sen. John Boozman also addressed the crowd, which was a sold out event.
Guests were served Coon, Brisket and Ribs along with Sweet potatoes, broccoli and rice, rolls and homemade desserts, prepared by the ladies of Gillett. This was the 75th anniversary of the Coon Supper and tickets were souvenirs.
Just a few of the state politicians present, in addition to the Governor and Sen. Boozman were Rep. French Hill, Land Commissioner John Thurston, who is running for Secretary of State, Susan Inman, also a candidate for Secretary of State, Rep. Trevor Drown, also running for Secretary of State, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, Rep. Bruce Westerman, Congressional Candidate for the 1st District Chintan Desai, Rep. Chris Ritchie, Rep Les Eaves, Mayor of Marvell, Clark Hall, Mayor of Gillett Jared Holzhauer, Rep. Justin Gonzales, Candidate Hayden Shannel of the 4th District and Ag Secretary Wes Ward just to name a few.
Gov. Hutchinson praised the Gillett School for being one of the nation’s finest schools, recently recognized as such.
For years, the Gillett Coon Supper has been known as the political event to attend each year. In his closing remarks, Pastor Chad Philipp who is also the President of the Farmers and Businessmen’s Civic Club that oversees the Coon Supper announced the 2019 event would be
held on January 12, 2019 and tickets would go on sale in November.