For the past 13 years during Toad Suck Daze, the Centennial Bank in Toad Suck Square has been associated with hallucinations, karaoke, loud music and large crowds as part of its annual vehicle giveaway. During this year’s festival, it will be known as a command center for all emergency services.
Centennial Bank officials announced Monday afternoon the move to not hold the 13th annual Stuck on a Truck competition, and 14th annual vehicle giveaway, which began as Hug a Bug in 2001.
“While Stuck on a Truck has been a great event for us, I just think the community would be better served if we offer that corner for our emergency services, police and fire over that weekend,” bank president David Druey said.
Druey refered to the Stuck on a Truck competition as “phenomenal” in terms of publicity and success, but said turning the area into a command center does more for the community and event-goers.
“We’ve got lots of banks that talk about only being in Arkansas and being a community bank, but none do more for their community than [Centennial Bank],” Druey said. “This is just another way to show our support of our community that we serve in offering a prime spot in the festival, and allowing that to be used for our civil services.”
Moving all emergency services into one area should streamline the handling of any issues during the event, bank marketing director Eric King said.
“It’s in the center of the event, so it’s a lot easier to focus people in that direction, to have a lost and found and other things that will be easier to find and not be spread out,” he said.
Conway Chief of of Police A.J. Gary said moving all emergency personnel to an area known by all festival-goers will also be a benefit.
“With all emergency services in one location, and a location all event-goers know where it’s at will help, so that if there are any problems, people will know where to go,” Gary said. “Having all the public services together should also improve communications. It sounds like a pretty good move to me.”
Saying goodbye to an event that attracted thousands to its tent, lasted anywhere from 65 hours to almost six days and turned more than 300 contestants into local celebrities during Toad Suck Daze will be hard for bank officials, but will be viewed as a necessary move.
“It just falls in line with what we’ve been doing over the last couple of years with some of the things we’ve done for our civic groups,” Druey said.
While there will be no Stuck on a Truck in 2014, event supporters and fans can hold out some hope that the event might return in the future.
“If [the command center] goes as well as we expect it to, great,” Druey said. “But if it doesn’t and we have to regroup, then there’s always the possibility of bringing back Stuck on a Truck.”
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan.)