CAMDEN By PATRIC FLANNIGAN
Long-time area official and educator Ron Shelby is set to be inducted into the Arkansas Officials Hall of Fame Saturday at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Shelby graduated as the valedictorian of the Bearden High School class of 1964 where he was a three- sport athlete and a three-year letterman. He was a member of the 1962 Bears Football team that was coached by the late Don Hubbard and George Burke that won the district championship with an undefeated conference record and a 9-2 overall record.
Ironically, the first game that Shelby officiated was between his two former high school coaches and was a “B” game between Camden and Magnolia. He officiated the game with Dale Williams and Bob Tutt.
“Other than being nervous, the only thing I remember about that game was running into the down marker on the sideline and slightly injuring my leg,” Shelby recounted.
Shelby was employed by the Fairview Public Schools as a math teacher and it was there that Al Cash, a former Bearden coach, and Rodney Zachery, a former Fairview Coach and administrator, approached him about being an official during the summer of 1971 and he agreed to try.
Shelby has worked college and high school games throughout the state of Arkansas including the historic 1999 quarterfinal game between Shiloh Christian (Gus Malzahn) and Junction City (David Carpenter) that was one of the highest scoring playoff games in Arkansas history (Shiloh won 70-64). He was also refereed the state championship game in 2001 between Wynne and Stuttgart in which the MVP was NFL running back Deangelo Williams.
Shelby officiated numerous rivalry games between Hot Springs and Lakeside, Malvern and Benton, Prescott and Gurdon, Hamburg and Crossett, Junction City and Strong, Smackover and Norphlet and many more.
Other accolades include:
• 19 state tournaments
• 9 state championship games
• 1986 Boys All Star game
• 2012 Girls All Star game
• 75 football playoff games
• 20 Semifinals games
• 22 Dual State Tournaments
• 25 Regional tournaments
• Crew chief for 15 regional tournaments.
Shelby’s journey in the officiating profession will be further explored in this year’s Camden News Sports Tab that is due out in August.