Today's Paper Obits Weather Community Calendar
story.lead_photo.caption Drums: Paul Baumgardner of the band Aces Wild performs during the SouthArk Outdoor Expo.

The weather could not have been better for the 19th SouthArk Outdoor Expo, which brought festival-goers a delightful day full of food, crafts, music, contests and outdoor-themed entertainment.

The Nexans AmerCable Maj. Ronald Wayne Culver Hero 5K Run-Walk kicked off the expo Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m.

The male winner was Sem Garay and the female winner was Leslie Darden.

Live music filled the day with Back Road Story playing at 9 a.m. and Aces Wild playing at 12:30 p.m. The band played till around 3:30 p.m.

“The last gig we did was in Las Vegas at the Bellagio,” said Paul Baumgardner, El Dorado native and drummer for Aces Wild. “Then we went on a cruise to Mexico, where we sang and played a little bit. But now we’re here and I’m real excited about it because this is where I’m from.”

Travis Caudell, Aces Wild’s lead singer and guitar player, founded the band 25 years ago. Baumgardner has been with him for nine years and Joey McBride, bass player, has been with them for almost two years.

The band knows every song from every genre. They are currently on their Crank it tour ‘17, where they have played many different venues including casinos, weddings, private parties and corporate parties.

KidsWorld opened at 10 a.m. outside of the conference center with different activities children could participate in including a BB gun shooting range, face painting, bounce houses, hula hooping and much more.

The first annual Union County Animal Protection Society Dog Bowl began at 11 a.m. The Dog Bowl was a dog show featuring any dog that signed up to participate. Categories included “Bow-Wow Strut,” where the dogs were rated on most beautiful/handsome, best dressed, longest tail and best of (its) breed.

“Doggie Do Talent Show” included competitions for best tricks, best catcher and best sitter. The overall winner was Achilles and Mr. Congeniality went to Tripp, who placed third in most of the categories.

Beth Cooper won Best of Show for the photography contest, winning $200. All entries were displayed in the conference center throughout the day.

Teams participating in the El Dorado Chemical Rib Cook-Off began as early as the day before setting up and smoking their ribs. The cook-off technically started Saturday morning and the announcement of winners is what brought the event to an end.

Third place, winning $500 was Tailboard BBQ. Second place, winning $700 was JKB’s Ring of Fire. First place went to Team Burton of Murphy USA, who won the big prize of $2,000.

Aside from bringing a day full of family fun, the event also received canned or packaged food items that were donated to InterFaith Help Services in El Dorado.

The SouthArk Outdoor Expo is a project of the SouthArk Foundation, which supports South Arkansas Community College endeavors and provides a wide range of privately-funded scholarships. The Outdoor Expo is the nonprofit’s largest fundraiser, having brought in more than $500,000 in its history. It was presented by Apex Redi-Mixed Concrete this year.

Kaitlyn Rigdon can be reached at 870-862-6611 or

Photo by Terrance Armstard
Shredding on the guitar: Joey McBride, left, and Travis Caudell of the group Aces Wild perform during the SouthArk Outdoor Expo Saturday.

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