It hasn’t been a good last couple weeks in the world of Arkansas sports. The Hogs baseball team lost two of three against LSU, then badly stubbed its toe on Nebraska. Broadcasting legend and UA alum Pat Summerall died. And Hunter Mickelson added to the seemingly never-ending instability of the basketball team when he announced he will transfer.
Everybody knows Arkansas didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament, but – to make matters worse – it turns out that the “Natural State” didn’t even make it into “Big Tree Madness.” The state, well known for its trees, didn’t qualify as one of the 16 contestants in an annual national tournament pitting the biggest trees of each state against each other in a Facebook fan vote-based contest.
Making matters worst, Missouri won it all.
Arkansans should taken some solace, though, in the fact that their state is home to two national “champion trees” as determined by a register kept by American Forests, the self-declared oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country. Arkansas has two species representatives which are bigger (in terms of width, height and trunk circumference) than any other state’s:
1. Common PERSIMMON, measured by Lynn Warren in Yell County. Ninety-four feet high!
2. Shortleaf PINE, measured by Don Bragg in Ashley County. This 136-footer is located three miles south of Hamburg, the birthplace of Hall of Fame basketball player Scottie Pippen. Two other NBA players – Jeremy Evans and Myron Jackson – also hail from Ashley County, which seems to do “tall” pretty well.
So there you have ’em, Arkansas. The trees that make ya proud on a national scale (even if you do want to consider that more than 780 such national champions exist and there are nearly 50 different kinds of registered Pine trees).
For more information, keep an eye out for AETN’s upcoming documentary on the largest trees of each type within Arkansas itself. Mark Wilcken is producing the film.