No one who knows Arkansas can dispute that one of the most recognizable voices in our state is that of Terry Wallace, who retired from the track announcer’s booth at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs this past spring after 37 consecutive seasons of calling the races there.
Terry is part of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012, which will be inducted during the organization’s annual banquet at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock on the evening of Friday, Feb. 3.
Terry was known for trademark lines such as “here they come into the short stretch of the mile run” and “picking ’em up and laying ’em down.”
He set a record for consecutive race calls at a single track that may never be broken. Terry hit the 20,000 race mark with his call of the third race on March 25, 2010. He ended his streak at 20,191 calls following the fourth race on Jan. 28 of this year.
Through the years, Terry called the races of such greats as Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, Curlin, Azeri, Cigar, Afleet Alex, Smarty Jones, Sunny’s Halo and Temperence Hill.
Larry Collmus, the track announcer at Gulfstream Park and Monmouth Park, said: “When someone says Oaklawn, the first thing that comes to mind is Terry Wallace.”
In addition to Wallace, those being inducted from the regular category are former University of Arkansas basketball star Lee Mayberry, former Newport High School head football coach Bill Keedy, former Razorback basketball star U.S. Reed, former Razorback football standout “Light Horse” Harry Jones and Little Rock native and former Oklahoma State University head football coach Pat Jones.
The Hall of Fame also will induct the 1994 Razorback national championship basketball team.
Last week, we briefly profiled the other inductees from the regular category.
This week, let’s take a look at the three inductees from the senior category and the two inductees from the posthumous category:
Margaret Downing — Downing, among the true pioneers in the history of women’s basketball in Arkansas, was the head coach at Southern Arkansas University from 1965-84. Her Riderettes won eight Arkansas Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Association titles. She also coached teams to several state Amateur Athletic Union championships in the years before AWISA.
The Waldo native was an innovator and a promoter of women’s basketball, serving on committees and associations at the state and national levels. She was associated with the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Girls Basketball League and the U.S. Junior Olympic Basketball Committee through the years.
Bob Ford — As a center and linebacker, Ford helped guide Wynne to the state championship in 1950. He was awarded a football scholarship to what’s now the University of Memphis and was the team’s most valuable player as an end in 1954.
After serving in the U.S. Army from 1956-58, Ford joined the staff of fellow Arkansas native Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama and served on Bryant’s staff for three seasons. Ford coached at the University of Georgia during the 1961 season and was the defensive coordinator for the University of Kentucky in 1962.
After spending the 1963 season as a player personnel employee for the Dallas Cowboys, Ford coached in 1964-65 at Kentucky, in 1966 at Mississippi State University and in 1967-69 as the freshman coach under Frank Broyles at Arkansas while also obtaining his law degree.
Ford began practicing law in Wynne in 1970 and also spent 25 years as a part-time player scout for the Dallas Cowboys.
Elmer “B” Lindsey — Old-timers in east Arkansas will tell you that perhaps the best high school backfield in the state’s history was the one in 1957 at Forrest City that included “B” Lindsey, Sonny Holmes, Dan Wilford and Clinton Gore.
Forrest City was a powerhouse in high school football in those days, going 77-36-7 from 1954-64. Lindsey played on an undefeated team in 1957, scoring 22 touchdowns as a halfback despite a broken hand.
Lindsey scored 44 touchdowns in a high school career that saw the three teams on which he played post a combined 30-2 record. He also starred in basketball, baseball and track at Forrest City.
Lindsey was Frank Broyles’ first football signee at Arkansas but chose instead to sign a baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. His signing bonus was believed to have been more than $50,000, the most ever offered to an Arkansas player to that point.
Lindsey played in the Cardinal organization for six seasons. After those six years in the minor leagues, he returned to St. Francis County to operate his family’s farming interests.
Raymond Bright — He excelled as a football and track coach at Conway High School and the University of Central Arkansas. After playing on UCA’s 1947 championship football team, Bright began his coaching career in 1949 at Conway Junior High School and was later the athletic director, head football coach and head track coach at Conway High School.
Bright went to work at what’s now UCA in 1958. He was the head football coach at the school from 1965-71. His 1965 and 1966 teams earned shares of the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference championship.
Bright left coaching following the 1971 season. He later served as UCA’s director of housing. Bright previously was inducted into the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame and the UCA Sports Hall of Fame.
Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton — Born in 1876, Clayton moved with his family to Pulaski County when he was 10. He attended school while working as an errand boy to earn extra money for the large family.
Clayton left home at age 12 in 1888 to live with his older brother, Albertus, a jockey in Chicago.
“Lonnie” Clayton was soon working as an exercise rider at stables owned by racing legend E.J. “Lucky” Baldwin. Clayton became one of only two 15-year-old jockeys to ever win the Kentucky Derby. Aboard Azra, he came from behind in the stretch to win the Kentucky Derby by a nose in May 1892.
Clayton was second in the Kentucky Derby in 1893, third in 1895 and second in 1897. To provide for a family that included eight siblings in Arkansas, Clayton bought property and built a home in what’s now North Little Rock in 1892. The home, located at 2105 Maple St., still stands.
At the peak of his career in 1895, Clayton posted 144 wins and was in the money in 403 of 688 races.
The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1959. Andrew Meadors of Little Rock is the organization’s president, and Ray Tucker serves as the executive director.
The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum on the west side of Verizon Arena is open each Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. It includes an 88-seat theater with a video highlighting the careers of Arkansas sports greats along with a touch-screen kiosk with a database of all Hall of Fame inductees.
Members of the Hall of Fame vote each year on inductees. Membership dues are $50 annually. Membership forms can be obtained by going to the organization’s website at www.arksportshalloffame.com.