History of the Roadhogs
In the early 1970’s, there were Razorback fans that traveled to games in Little Rock and Fayetteville in recreational vehicles. The driving distance from all corners of the state of Arkansas (and from outside the state) and the shortage of available hotel/motel space made RVing attractive. By the 1980’s, the number of RV’s had increased from 10-15 to well over 100.
In Little Rock, RV’s could be seen parked beside the State Health Department across the street from War Memorial as early as Wednesday before a Saturday game. Tailgating and parties were shared by these fans and they welcomed other fans who joined in before and after the game no matter who won. In Fayetteville, RV’s parked on the grassy hillside across Maple Street from the Broyles Athletic Complex.
Around this time, a couple from Fort Smith, Ken and Debbie Rank, approached RVers with the idea of forming a club called the Arkansas Razorback Roadhogs. The idea was enthusiastically welcomed and dues were set at $5.00 for which a member received a card and a newsletter from time to time. Ken and Debbie were in the advertising business and they created the Roadhogs logo. Roadhogs RV’s became recognized all over the state of Arkansas as well as at out-of-state games displaying the Roadhogs flags and signs as members traveled to games to provide visual and vocal support for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Around 1990 when the U of A prepared to build the Tyson Poultry Science Building on the hill the RV’s had to move. Parking was provided on Lot 8, (now the Walker Pavilion Indoor Football Practice Facility). RV numbers had increased which required RV’s to park at various other parking lots on campus. Once again with the planned construction of the Indoor Practice Facility the U of A requested that the RV’s move to another lot further down Razorback Road. RV parking was moved to Lot 10, across Razorback Road from Bud Walton Arena.
In 1994 then Coach Danny Ford ask the Roadhogs to caravan, with him aboard, around the state to all of the Razorback Clubs, it was inspiring sight to see the caravan of Roadhog RV’s roll into these towns for club meeting to promote Razorback football.
In 1995, because of the continual growth of the organization, the members decided to elect officers to conduct the business of the Roadhogs. The first President, Roy D. Rainey, Sr., Vice President, Bob Abbott, Treasurer, Vi Phillips, and Secretary, Linda Kirtley were elected. Later, a board of directors was elected and by-laws were written.
Roy Rainey approached athletic director Frank Broyles about installing electrical hook-ups around Lot 10, an idea that had been brought up for discussion on a number of occasions but was never pursued. Each Roadhog member would pay $1,000 per hook-up in order to have electricity for his or her own RV. Coach Broyles agreed and members who wanted electricity paid the $1,000. Contracts were drawn up with the University and spots with electrical boxes were leased to individual members. At first 17 boxes were installed. Then another 17 were added and finally another 17. Again space was somewhat limited. The boxes could only be installed around the parking lot perimeter and a waiting list of those wanting electricity began.
In 2000, Athletic Director Frank Broyles embarked on an ambitious program to expand of Razorback Stadium. At the same time, the Roadhogs continued to increase in membership. With the addition of an upper deck and more luxury boxes in the stadium (then re-named Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium), Coach Broyles approached the Roadhogs about moving to another location. The University needed Lot 10 for additional scholarship parking. Initially the Roadhogs members were disappointed reasons. First, Lot 10 was in walking distance of the stadium. Second, Lot 10 was “close to the action” and no one wanted to be away from it. And third, members had paid for the electrical hook-ups out of their own pockets.
Coach Broyles promised the Roadhogs an RV Park that they could be proud of. True to his word, the result was Roadhogs Park, a lovely park on 35 rolling acres located near the Baum Baseball Stadium. The Roadhogs moved into the park in 2001 and the Pavilion was built on top of the hill in 2002. There were originally 121 concrete sites with electricity in the upper park level and between 2004 and 2008 another 50 sites (two of which are designated for the use of the U of A) with electrical boxes were added in the lower South and West lots. Water is available throughout the park and 4 dump stations are located in the rear as well as an overflow/dry camping lot. Waiting List members without an assigned site are placed on available electrical sites on a first come basis. There is additional space for visitors and non-members to dry camp in the overflow lot during football season. Members paid for the asphalt on the interior roads and pay all utilities, maintenance, and any repairs necessary.
In 2008 the Roadhogs recognized a need to reorganize for their future. In 2010 they Incorporated as a 501c3, The Arkansas Razorback Roadhogs Inc. Since that time Roadhog Park is open year round and the Roadhogs are seen supporting all sports at the U of A.
It is the only park of its kind built by a university and managed by its members for its RVing supporters and is indicative of the relationship between the Roadhogs and the University of Arkansas.
Currently, The Roadhogs number approximately 230 members. There are 171 parking spaces with electricity, and a waiting list in excess of 60 people who want to move to an electrical pad when one becomes available.
All members enjoy the fellowship of family, friends and acquaintances in the many activities that are held at the park on game days and throughout the year supporting the Arkansas Razorbacks.