The 73rd edition of the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show completed its 10-day run Sunday in Little Rock and many Maumelle residents walked through the turnstiles to help boost the record attendance to 447,573.
At least two Maumelle residents — Michelle and Lauren Elliott — took home statewide winner ribbons and awards.
But several Maumelle residents play an integral role in the state fair’s operation.
John Chapman won’t be seen on the state fairgrounds by visitors but he’s holed away inside a secret hidden away location on the fairgrounds performing some say the most important job out there — serving as accountant and counting and accounting for the massive dollars that flow through the fair during its run.
Chapman works at the fair part-time off and on throughout the year but during its 10-day run he’s the main man — at least where the money is concerned.
Ralph Shoptaw, state fair president and general manager was seen Sunday escorting his longtime predecessor — Johnnie Holmes around the fairgrounds.
Holmes, who ran the place for almost 20 years, always knew to the dollar how much money the fair had taken in not just from attendance but along the midway.
A spry 84-year old, Holmes said he enjoyed his run at the fair and was complimentary of Shoptaw’s efforts, especially those to expand the fair and to remodel and add to the infrastructure.
Two-more Maumelle residents play an equally important behind-the-scenes role at the fair.
Bill and Joan Warren have served as director and coordinator of the fair’s annual Arkansas State Fair Queen and Youth Talent Competition that features four-nights of regional winners with nightly regional winners selected for the statewide finals on Saturday evening.
Joan Warren served at competition director and her husband Bill was chief judge and director of the judging during the event.
The couple has performed that integral role for years.
Owners of Twin City Beverage in North Little Rock, the pair is also very involved in the annual Miss Arkansas Pageant in Hot Springs.
The connection between the state fair and the Miss Arkansas Pageant is not a casual connection.
Warren noted that several of the Miss Arkansas winners took part in the state fair queen competition over the years.
She said it goes back at least as far as Donna Axum, the 1964 Miss America who was also the state fair queen and the involvement of future MIss Arkansas’ has continued.
The current Miss Arkansas — Sloane Roberts, of Rison was the state fair queen just two years ago and participated in this year’s fair events making at least two appearances at the fair queen competition.
Another judge for the competition is Bobby Fuller, owner of the four Fuller and Son Hardware stores in Central Arkansas, including the one on Maumelle Boulevard.
A former musical act along with his brothers, Fuller said he was often asked if he was the Bobby Fuller in the Bobby Fuller Four — a one-hit wonder group of the 1960s with the 1966 classic, "I Fought the Law and the Law Won."
Fuller said that Bobby Fuller died in 1968.
The Warrens also play an integral role as chaperones and mentors to Miss Arkansas. In fact, when the titleholder is from a city away from the Little Rock area, the Warrens serve as host with the Miss Arkansas living in their Maumelle home between public appearances.
Joan said since the last few Miss Arkansas’ have had ties closer, like Kirsten Glover, of Carlisle, the stays at their Maumelle home haven’t been as frequent as in prior years.
Even the author of this story and editor of the Maumelle Monitor serves as public relations staff for the event — a role he began in 1978.