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Meet West Fork’s Renaissance Man ​​


November 3, 2011 by Terry Ropp

You don’t actually have to live on Bug Scuffle to be a Bug Scuffler. Brad Hardin has been building a large house across the road from us since summer and is still going strong. Just a couple of weekends ago, Larry and I went to Cedarville to my first stock car races to watch Brad race. These were the last races of the season so not many cars were there. Nonetheless, I had a totally new experience and met a bunch of great people. Brad’s father, Terry, had been active in stock car racing too, but sold out when Brad was 15.

“I think he sold out so I wouldn’t do it and because he didn’t have the heart to tell me no,” Brad said.

Obviously, the plan didn’t work and Brad started from scratch; but now has a large, well equipped covered trailer that hold two cars.

Brad is one of those people who defy all stereotypes. He is a born, raised and active West Fork resident as well as a Fayetteville fireman. He is tall, sturdy and strong and became a fireman because, according to Brad, his dad kept nagging at him. Brad is not the least bit sorry.

“It’s a good, steady job with really good people,” Brad said.

He has been a fireman for 11 years and is eligible to retire in 2016 though he has made no definite plans in that department.

The fireman’s schedule of one day on and two days on lends itself to having another job. In Brad’s case that other job is building houses. When Brad met his future wife, Jennifer, her father hated him because, as Brad said, “I was taking away his baby.” However, after the marriage to Jennifer, they became good friends. He started learning house building from Jimmy Boyd in the late 90s. Then he decided to build his own house from what he had learned and by reading books. Soon thereafter, he went to work for Barney Hunt for a couple of years before branching out on his own. He started with trimming, progressed to staircases and then cabinets. His current job is the house near us.

Just in case he doesn’t have enough to do, he also goes to the University of Arkansas and studies biology with plans to go to medical school when he retires from the fire department. He usually takes from nine to fifteen hours per semester though he has taken this semester off because of his current building project.

Finally, he spends time with his wife and their son Hunter who is eleven. Hunter spent the summer working on the house with his dad. They also spend time hunting and motorcycling together.

​“My grandfather once told me to always have three things going,” Brad ​said. “That way when the other two fail, you got one to fall back on.” Looks like Brad took his grandfather’s words to heart.

Terry Ropp

Terry Ropp is a freelance writer for several publications, including the Washington County Observer, and a semi-retired educator of almost forty years. She moved to Arkansas in 2005, feels at home for the first time in her life, and enjoys writing about her new state. You may e-mail her at

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