North Notes: Brady Paddle Kicks Off Bear Creek Series
Spring brings days of adventure in the Uwharrie foothills around Robbins.
On Saturday, it’s the Dam to Town race on Bear Creek — one of several paddle outings offered by the nonprofit Foothills Outdoors. This year, competitors are collecting points every time they paddle.
“I hope everyone had a great time at the 2012 Charles E. Paddle Challenge,” said William McDuffie, president of the N.C. Canoe Racing Association. “Perfect water and weather helped get the Bear Creek Race Series off to a great start. It’s not too late to join the fun.”
The Dam to Town race is the next event in the 2012 Robbins series that began March 10 with the Charles E. Brady Paddle Challenge — named for the late flight surgeon who grew up in Robbins. As a Boy Scout, he camped the foothills and paddled the creeks and rivers around his hometown.
Brady was one of the very few to be named a Distinguished Eagle Scout. He served as flight surgeon to the Blue Angels and flew as an astronaut on the Columbia space shuttle.
His effort to bring attention to river pollution by paddling down the Haw River with a jug filled at the clear headwaters led to the annual Brady Challenge — this year a 4-mile recreational canoe and kayak race.
In the kayak race, Allen Bumgarner came in first in the men’s 40- to 59-year-old age group. Derrick Cockman was first in the 20- to 39-group, and Ross Peele led the 15- to 20-year-old men.
In the women’s division kayak races Beth Lyerly and Lindsey Marsh came in first in their respective age groups. Wade Peele was first-place solo male canoe paddler (40 to 59) and River McDuffie took first in the 14-and-under solo canoe race.
Tandem kayak paddlers Dave and Lisa Hobbs won, as did tandem canoe paddlers Tristan and Adam Matthews in the men’s tandem race. Madison Weiss and Lynne McDuffie came in first as tandem canoe paddlers in the adult/youth division.
Points are accrued in each Foothills Outdoors event leading up to the Adventure Bearathlon on April 21.
Saturday’s Dam to Town canoe and kayak race is a shorter dash — a mile-and-a-quarter down creek sprint through Gunworks Rapids. Registration opens at 10:30 a.m. at the N.C. 705 access point below the bridge.
Canoes and kayaks will be shuttled to the put-in and racers will start at one minute intervals, with timed runs starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday until all competitors complete their runs. Solo and tandem classes are available. There is a $10 entry fee for adult paddlers, but everyone 18 and under races free.
“Race all you want,” McDuffie said. “All competitors must wear a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device and carry a whistle. No event is possible without our volunteers.
“We would like to thank Dalton Cheek for the access point, Teague Pottery for our jug awards, our Methodist pastor Mike Weber for helping with portage trail, Theron Bell for photography, Cynthia Reeves and Daltina Peele for doing the timing, and all the people who bring extra boats and help carry boats and equipment for everyone. See you on the water!”
More information and registration forms are available online at www.foothillsoutdoors.org or from email@example.com for this or any other Foothills Outdoors events.
The Robbins Village Theater Foundation is also taking a look at the Bear Creek and planning a summer series of fundraising picnic parties.
“Shall We Gather By The River?” will be a gathering with hymns and hot dogs on the Bear Creek banks. It will run on one Sunday every month from 3 to 5 p.m. starting May 20, with support from local churches and gospel groups.
Plans are still developing, but the idea is for enjoyable afternoons singing the old songs and pitching in to help turn the old movie theater — with its stage and balconied auditorium — into a show business magnet for Robbins.
Funds from NC STEP provided by the N.C. Rural Center went to the nonprofit in the form of a targeted grant that helped it buy the building. Now, they need money and volunteers to complete a transformation of the theater –— a historic building that still has glass ticket windows from segregation days and other 1946 relics when The Village Theatre opened its two doors: one for whites, one for blacks.
Someday the foundation hopes full seasons of shows will welcome modern audiences of all races to musicals, plays, movies and other stage attractions.
Perhaps one day a resident company of performers will enliven the place with restaurants, shops and other businesses springing up around what they do live, on stage, in Robbins.
Contact John Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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