BATESVILLE Call Lackey Moody Jr. a cheerleader for the entire city of Batesville.
Born and raised in the city, Moody quickly returned home after college and worked hard to see that his sister did the same. He mountain-bikes and fishes in the area. He sells people houses and encourages them to settle down in town. He even marries local citizens as a second-term Independence County justice of the peace. Batesville is everything to Moody, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m so proud of our community; it’s easy to sell,” Moody said. “It’s the perfect community to raise a family. There are so many good, positive things going on right now in Batesville.”
Moody’s grandfather and great-grandfather had been involved in real estate and banking, so the career path seemed obvious for Moody as he headed to the University of Arkansas, graduating in 1993. From there, he went into an appraisal program at the University of Texas at Austin, followed by graduate classes at the University of Florida. Back in Batesville, Moody began work appraising, but he didn’t like it.
“I didn’t like being confined,” Moody said. “I like doing the sales work and being out with the people. I like being outside.”
As a broker with Batesville’s Crye-Leike Real Estate Services, Moody enjoys the flexibility of his work.
“I always have my list of what I need to get done and what I want to get done,” Moody said. “Some days, it’s just playing catchup and getting paperwork done, but my favorite days are showing and selling property.”
Convincing people to buy in Batesville is easy for a man so enamored with his city and county. And if his clients are looking for advice on the best bike trails, trout fishing or how to cook good ribs, Moody can help with that, too.
Since college, Moody has fed his passion for biking, tearing up the Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail with friends who helped organize a 24-hour race on the mountain. Four-man teams would camp all night, alternating riding 10-mile loops.
“Last year, the contest fell on Easter, and no one could make it, but I’m looking forward to getting back to it,” Moody said.
Fly-fishing has been a Father’s Day tradition in Moody’s family for years. He and his father like to fish on the White or Little Red rivers, and he has introduced his 9-year-old son, Trey, to the sport.
No matter what the temperature is outside, Moody can be found barbecuing for his family. In 2003, with several friends, he formed a competitive barbecue team called the Rib Ticklers. The team members, he said, take a very analytical approach to the way they cook.
“I’ve cooked a lot of ribs over the years, but I think a well-cooked brisket is a masterpiece,” Moody said. “I love to cook during the winter. I was debating today how to get all the snow off my deck to get to the grill.”
Moody lives in Batesville with his wife, Kristi, and their twin third-graders, Trey and Kathryn. Getting involved with his kids’ activities is another way Moody has stayed active in his hometown.
“It’s opened a lot of doors to see places where I can make a difference,” Moody said.
Three years ago, Moody helped form Cub Scout Pack 600 with just nine boys. The group now has 78 members from the Eagle Mountain School area, with Moody serving as Cubmaster. After his son and daughter began swimming competitively, Moody got involved with the swim team board of the Independence County Youth Athletic Association. His son had tried T-ball and baseball but never enjoyed them.
“You hate to make a kid go play a sport, but you don’t want to see them watching TV all day,” Moody said. But Trey had been an avid swimmer since he was just 4 years old, so finding the swim team was a perfect fit.
“It never ceases to amaze me how fast he is,” Moody said.
Like many residents of Batesville, Moody and his family look forward to the new community center and upgraded swimming facilities in the works for the city. Moody was recently elected for a second term as a justice of the peace in Independence County, a position he feels helps him make a difference in the financial outlook of the area.
“I’ve always been one that sees a need for improvement,” Moody said. “It’s a tough economy. Jail and road costs are going up. Trash costs are going up.”
Moody describes his position as mainly budgetary in nature, looking at what money is available to the county and how to spend it. The group tries to provide things to improve living in the area, such as adding curbside trash pickup countywide on a weekly basis.
“It’s helping to curb the amount of roadside dumping,” Moody said. “It’s important to all of us to maintain our properties in that manner.”
Though he doesn’t rule out a run for another office in the future, Moody is enjoying his time as a justice of the peace. He’s even been enjoying marrying people, one of the tasks of his office that he wasn’t sure he’d enjoy.
“It’s kind of the old-time role of justices of the peace,” Moody said. “I’ve done about 25 in the last two years, and I really enjoy it now. I like positively affecting their lives, coming in at such an important moment.”
Though he could have chosen nearly any city to work in after college, Moody never hesitated in his decision to move back to and stay in Batesville.
“It’s my home,” Moody said. “I guess other people have options to go other places, but I don’t want to be anywhere else. I want to be right here.”
Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or firstname.lastname@example.org.