Razorback Football Coach Bret Bielema Draws Crowd at Arkansas Trucking Conference

This year’s Arkansas Trucking Association Business Conference drew a record number of registrants.

Sessions like “Regulations on the Horizon” and “Top 10 Legal Issues for Carriers in 2013” were no doubt of interest to the more than 300 folks who gathered for the two-day conference (and a third day of golf). But the ATA also had some help drawing an audience thanks to a session that was not industry-specific.

University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema was the keynote speaker and spent about an hour addressing attendees. Bielema, who was hired in December, hit on a number of topics focused on leadership and the influence of his parents. And, of course, there was football talk. Bielema took part in a Q&A session on the upcoming season.

“Coach Bielema definitely was a big draw for the conference,” ATA spokesman Kelly Crow said. “We’d like to think part of it was what a great conference we have, but we know Coach Bielema was a draw and the audience was happy to hear from him.”

Bielema has been active on the chicken-and-rice circuit since his arrival. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder how the ATA Business Conference landed on his radar. Crow said Ralph Bradbury, the former trucking executive with ties to the Razorback Foundation, helped secure Bielema as the keynote speaker on a bill that included U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro.