There were jokes aplenty Thursday night about Conway business executive Steve Strange Sr. being short.

"He works out every day," said former Razorback basketball star Joe Kleine. "He lives on the 10th floor but he can only reach the fifth-floor button on the elevator. So he goes up five flights of stairs every day."

In the end, Strange was saluted as a big man, in Conway and in the state.

The "Big Steve Toast and Roast," a fundraiser for the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, was held before a sold-out banquet room at McCastlain Hall at the University of Central Arkansas.

It was a celebration of the 69th birthday for Strange, the chief executive offer at American Management Corporation.

"When Steve (a native of San Francisco) told his wife (Claudia) he was coming to Arkansas, he said the good news was he had bought her her dream house. The bad news is the house is between Toad Suck and Pickles Gap."

Strange and his company have been a fixture in the community for decades.

"I appreciate how Steve can light up a room when he enters," said former Green Bay Packer star Keith Jackson. "He’s infectuous. And when a lot of people had troubles in life, he was there to help."

Among the roasters were Jackson, Grimes, Kleine, former Arkansas State coach and Dallas Cowboys executive Larry Lacewell and close friend Johnny Lee, a country music singer who counts "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places," among his hits.

When Strange got his turn at the lectern, he talked about being in the right place, Conway.

"We (AMC) give back to our schools and community," Strange said. "You can’t look to Washington for this stuff. It’s us. It’s the people in this room who make a difference. The difference is what we put into our community. When there is a need you go and meet it because that’s how you make a great place."