‘Pound’ of cure

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, January 26, 2016

POWELLSVILLE – John Davis wasn’t available to take a bow, but the appreciation was heart-felt.

Davis was one of the driving forces behind Bertie County’s first ever Triathlon – the multi-stage non-stop competition where participants swim, bike, and run the three components over a timed course.

Windsor Rotary Club president Todd Lane showed a video of the 2015 inaugural event at the Bertie County Board of Commissioners meeting here Jan. 21. In addition to still photographs of the 72 competitors, 70 volunteers, and close to a hundred spectators who participated at Scotch Hall Preserve on the Chowan River near Merry Hill, there was also drone aerial video that made the event seem larger than life. Lane remarked that he hoped the video would boost interest from participants and sponsors alike because of the benefit not only to Bertie tourism, but also in community relations.

“Last year (Davis) came up with the idea as a way for the Rotary to benefit the Bertie-Windsor YMCA,” Lane said. “We were very fortunate to have a lot of local people involved in the event. This was just a premier event on just an absolutely beautiful day and a lot of hours from a lot of people went into it.”

Lane said at the end of the event $3,800 was donated to the YMCA Youth Basketball League.

“This year (for) that league we helped fund (allowed) 300 children from here in Bertie County (to) participate,” said Lane.

A website: www.poundthesound.com has been established and Lane said the 2016 event will take place on Saturday, June 11, with registration closing the night before; and this year he adds there will be an additional weather bonus.

“As the Commissioners can tell you,” Lane informed the crowd, it was a little bit warm (90+ degrees) when we started at nine o’clock, so we’re going to start this year at 8:00.”

While it’s several years into the future, Lane said he and the committee hoped the Chowan river-front property the county is purchasing, adjacent to Scotch Hall, might become the site for the event.

“This way we’ll have a self-contained situation where we can have camping and other recreational activities at the same time we’re putting on this event,” he surmised. “But that’s in the future.”

Lane said it was his hope that the event would receive the same support from the county – and the community – that it received in its first year. He did say one of the major sponsors from 2015 was Golden Peanut in Aulander, and that their support would certainly be missed in lieu of the plant’s closing in February.

“It’s got us a little behind the eight-ball, but I’m here to say we will be carrying on,” Lane admitted.

Commissioners John Trent and Ron Wesson had high praise for the Triathlon and how it benefits the county.

“We had people from as far away as Washington, DC in here for this event,” Trent mentioned.

“A great opportunity for people who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to come and see Bertie County,” Wesson said. “Folks who come out and do this spend a lot of money; and they love Bertie County, a beautiful place to be.”

County Manager Scott Sauer reminded all of the $1,000 the county contributed last year and said if the Commissioners wanted to increase the amount through the county’s Strategic Initiative Fund within the Economic Development budget, there were additional funds available to support “Pound the Sound”.

Wesson then made a motion to increase the funding to $5,000, seconded by Trent and passed unanimously.

Before Lane left, Commissioner Ernestine Byrd Bazemore inquired about community participation and conflicts with other activities scheduled for that date, because “Pound the Sound” fell on the same day as Bertie County Schools’ graduation. Lane said both events would again take place on the same date, but there was no way to change from that specific weekend.

“It’s due to the folks who do the (competition) timing,” Lane explained. “Two weeks prior is Memorial Day, and the week before the timing company has another event to which they’re committed. Hopefully, with the earlier start time it will help a whole lot.”

Commissioner Stewart White informed the board and those present that he met with Scotch Hall management the same day (Jan. 21), and that the development has pledged its support for director Vivian Saunders and the Bertie County Hive House in Lewiston. The Arnold Palmer-designed signature golf course will host a future golf tournament to aid Hive House’s programs for the disadvantaged.

“They’re trying to reach out, to bridge a gap,” White said, “and I appreciate the effort of the Rotary Club, “Pound the Sound”, the YMCA, and Scotch Hall for the kids here in Bertie County.”