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  • Shredding for Sloan: The Race and Scholarship That Keeps Sloan Harmon's Memory Alive

    Every year since 2020, hundreds of community members gather together at the McClellan Trails and ride in the name of Sloan Harmon, a talented young mountain biker whose life was tragically cut short in 2019. To commemorate Sloan's spirit, his parents established a 501(c)(3) organization called the Soaring with Sloan Foundation and initiated a scholarship that honors his passion of mountain biking. Beginning as a small memorial ride, Shred for Sloan has transformed into a powerful annual gathering, raising money for the scholarship through t-shirt sales and donations. LEFT: Sloan Harmon; RIGHT: Shred for Sloan bikers gather at the trail marker named in his memory at the McClellan Trails Chase Garrard, who coordinates the Shred for Sloan memorial ride, said, "I think it's a healing event after such an absolute tragedy, especially for the community." He emphasized that the gathering not only pays tribute to Sloan through mountain biking, but also allows his parents to witness the positive influence their son continues to have on countless lives in the community. Central to the Shred for Sloan event is the scholarship program that provides opportunities for high school senior bikers to pursue their dreams. Any active high school senior mountain biker can apply for the scholarship, and are required to submit a compelling essay, expressing how mountain biking has transformed their lives, along with a comprehensive resume showcasing their achievements. The winners are then awarded the scholarship at the concluding ceremony of the ACA State Championship. Each year has witnessed a surge in participation and funds raised for the Shred for Sloan Scholarship, allowing them to expand the scholarship from just one recipient to both a male and female recipient. In 2023, the event amassed over $8,000 for the foundation, a true testament to the enduring support from the biking community to keep Sloan's legacy alive. Shred for Sloan scholarship recipients Emma Obermaier (L) and KB Benkwith (R) are recognized at the ACA State Championship One of the scholarship recipients, Emma Obermaier from the Donaho School, will use the scholarship to continue her biking journey at Montevallo this fall: "I am so thankful for the people with the Shred for Sloan foundation for opening such a great opportunity for young athletes, like me, to help me set my best foot forward as I step into my future with this sport." The second scholarship recipient, KB Benkwith from the Donaho School, shares a sentimental connection to the scholarship: "Sloan was a very close friend of mine, so I was beyond grateful to receive the scholarship in his name. The McClellan trails are also super special to me as it was one of my first ever mountain bike race wins...I’m very hopeful to come back and help at the [ACA] events now that I’ve graduated. I enjoy nothing more than to be in that environment." Shred For Sloan stands as a testament to the resilience of a community united by a shared love for cycling and a commitment to honoring a remarkable young life. With each passing year, the Shred For Sloan scholarship brings hope and opportunity to deserving young athletes, ensuring Sloan's legacy lives on through their journeys on two wheels. To learn more about this cause, visit the Shred for Sloan Facebook page.

  • Finding Their Future: The Volunteer Experience at the 2023 Worlds of Work Job Exhibition

    I stood in the breezeway of the Oxford Civic Center, my Worlds of Work volunteer lanyard tangling up in the wind, holding the sign given to me at check-in which indicated the school I’d lead around the exhibition the morning of Wednesday, March 8. As buses pulled in, a woman called it out to the crowd of volunteer guides I stood in, and one by one people would shout, “That’s me!” and run out to greet their school. Even though I was a tour guide at Jacksonville State University for four years, I didn’t know what to expect as a Class Guide volunteer at Worlds of Work; when I was in 8th grade myself, the fast-paced, educational event hosted by East AlabamaWorks did not exist yet. Now, as the marketing specialist for the McClellan Development Authority, my director encouraged me to attend and see firsthand what the future of the Alabama workforce looked like. The woman in the bus lot called out for Woodland High School, and that was me. As I rushed to greet them on the bus, I reminded myself of WoW tagline: “Find your future.” As a Class Guide, I knew I’d be playing a part in that as I led my class through each zone and guided their participation in the interactive presentations set up all around us. I explained my role to the chaperones, introduced myself to the class, and we set off! For 8th graders, Worlds of Work was divided into five zones with 20-minute intervals. The first three zones my class visited featured interactive booths in automotives, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and public safety — and my students hardly needed a nudge to participate. I watched as a few ran to operate stationary farm equipment, some toured the cab of a semi-trailer truck, and others tested car seats in a Honda driving simulation. My class was quick to tell me about the alpacas at the Blackberry Hill Alpaca Farm booth and the headless robot dog with Oxford PD. Plus, they fearlessly took on the rock wall! The group truly seemed to explode with interest in Zone 2. This area featured healthcare presentations from RMC Health Systems, Gadsden State Community College, Jacksonville State University College of Health Professions and Wellness, Gadsden Regional Medical Center, and Coosa Valley Medical Center — plus lots of engaging technology! Students could perform CPR on a dummy, explore prop intestines with an endoscope, and look at cells under a microscope — but the talk of the whole event was the birth simulation dummy, which prompted students to experience a whole array of emotions (at a volume that could be heard throughout the venue). At the end of the day, I asked them if they had fun, and they responded with genuine enthusiasm. Trying to make 8th graders interested in anything is a feat of its own, but Worlds of Work seemed to have it down to a science — and by allowing kids to physically interact with potential careers, WoW got them that much closer to finding their own future. I said goodbye to my class, turned in my Woodland High School sign, and, as I sat waiting for the shuttle, I found myself thinking about my own favorite exhibits and how cool it was to get a glimpse at other people’s careers who were my own age. If these students are truly the future workforce for East Alabama, these industries are in good hands — and I’m thankful to have experienced it.

  • McClellan Trails Set The Stage for AFD Wilderness Safety & Rescue Training

    A few times a year, McClellan trail goers and passersby can see a helicopter wavering overhead, while Anniston Fire Department trainees on the ground below secured dummy bodies to an aerial gurney suspended from the aircraft. This training is part of a 40-hr Wilderness Rescue Certification course through the Alabama Fire College in cooperation with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which prepares trainees for packaging and flying victims out of wilderness sites. Anniston Fire Department trains at the McClellan Multi-Use Trails quarterly to stay familiar with the skills and procedures associated with the specialized rescue. This particular training course through the AFC has anywhere from 12 to 25 students, with two instructors per 12 students (a Lead and an Assistant). In the past five years, Anniston Fire Department has helped train students from 16 states and three different countries. “We hope to offer such an exclusive course with the MDA’s cooperation,” said Assistant Fire Chief Johnnie Phelps, “that we can host this [training] multiple times a year.” To earn their certification, students must accomplish a long list of criteria in their wilderness emergency response, including conducting a search of and navigating the wilderness environment, stabilizing and removing a victim from the site, conducting witness interviews, collecting evidence, and demonstrating basic survival techniques. If students successfully complete training objectives and pass by at least 70% on the AFC written exam, they receive dual certification with Pro Board and the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, which also meets Department of Defense requirements and is recognized by 48 states. Anniston Fire Department has 20 personnel with these certifications and, according to Assistant Chief Phelps, they use these skills fairly often in the community. “They come in handy for lost/injured victims in any rural environment. It requires a whole new set of skills when outside the urban environment of the municipality — Coldwater Mountain, McClellan, or even a lost child in a neighborhood in Saks with a couple of acres of woods. Our goal is positive outcomes.” For wilderness search and rescue operations, Anniston Fire Department uses various specialized equipment, including ATVs, electric bikes, trail blazing equipment, and, of course, a helicopter. “The MDA has been very supportive,” said Assistant Chief Phelps. “They provided $20k [towards] support equipment to help our response — equipment that AFD couldn’t afford and was vital to a successful rescue. I think it is imperative that we work together to provide the highest level of response to our citizens. They expect it and deserve it. We are appreciative of MDA’s support and couldn’t be prepared without it.” When heading out into the wilderness, AFD recommends the following tips to ensure a safe trip: Be situationally aware. Study the area you are planning to enjoy (maps, topography, exit routes, and dangers). Make sure you understand self-rescue techniques. Understand how emergency response works in wilderness environments and the amount of time and manpower it can take. Always be prepared for survival with water, shelter, warmth, food, and communication. For more information about wilderness safety, contact Assistant Fire Chief Johnnie Phelps at the Anniston Fire Department at and 256-231-7644. For inquiries about the McClellan Multi-Use Trails, contact the McClellan Development Authority at and 256-236-2011. *Photos taken during training session in Fall 2022

  • Center For Domestic Preparedness at McClellan Announces Upgrades & Renovations for 2023

    (The following text was pulled from the CDP’s Facebook page: FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness has numerous construction projects planned during the remainder of 2023. Within the next few months, the final updates to training bays at its Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological Training Facility (COBRATF) are set to begin. During this phase, the remaining vinyl wall coverings and props will be installed, completing the new training scenarios. A backup generator will also be added to the facility, ensuring the safety of students and staff in the event of a power disruption. Renovations at the CDP’s Advanced Responder Training Complex should begin within the next few months as well. The renovations will involve the complete demolition of the interior of the complex’s main building and are expected to be completed in about two years. Work on another dorm in the Responder Lodging Complex, Bldg. 78, is also set to begin. The renovation of all nine dorms on the CDP campus began in 2010 and has included the installation of new carpet and furnishings, bathroom fixtures and security controls in each room, as well as a new heating and cooling system for each building. The new heating and cooling system allows students to adjust the temperature of their individual rooms. To ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, one room in each dorm has also been prepared to ADA standards. Also in the Responder Lodging Complex, the cafeteria will receive a new roof this year and the road through the site will be reconfigured and paved to form a complete loop. At the Noble Training Facility (NTF), meanwhile, work is beginning on the second phase of a project on the building’s brick envelope. During this project, the brick exterior of a section of the building will be removed, structural repairs will be made to the wall behind the bricks, and then the bricks will be replaced. During the year, two of the CDP’s largest parking areas — the main parking lot at the NTF and the rear parking lot at the CDP headquarters building — will also be replaced. These lots will be closed to parking for extended periods while the new pavement properly cures. Please note: Students and CDP staff must not enter work areas, even if workers are not present. If an area is closed for renovation, it is a safety hazard to enter it.

  • 200-Acre Dog Boarding Facility at McClellan Opens January 30, 2023

    OneWorld Pet Resort will open for business with a ribbon cutting ceremony open to the public at 11 AM January 30, 2023 at 315 Rucker St, Anniston, AL. The newly-remodeled facility sits on 200 acres, with 130 climate-controlled kennels, designed with modern materials for safety, cleanliness, and comfort. Our mission is to be the “home away from home” for your pet. OneWorld representative Paul Hammond said, “We want to truly create a pet resort, which members of the public can visit with their pets at any time. Whether to walk the trails, meet other pets and owners in the dog parks, board your pets at our wonderful facility, take dog obedience classes or treat your [pet] to a doggie spa day — our facility is yours.” OneWorld Pet Resort’s initial services include day boarding (half a day or one day) and full boarding (full day and night), but will expand to include grooming appointments and obedience training sessions. No matter the service or length of stay, our specialized staff ensure your dog will be welcomed as a part of the OneWorld family. “We’ve been working on this concept for a long time, and we’re excited to finally open it to the public. We’ve got an excellent team that’s really passionate and eager to care for your pet while they stay with us,” said Billy Westphalen, Kennel Manager for OneWorld Pet Resort. OneWorld Pet Resort plans to open two additional dog parks in the first few months of operation, featuring scenic walking trails far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city and main roads. Clients of OneWorld Pet Resort can also expect to see dog and owner meet and greets, social events, and obstacle course events. There are also plans to add individual webcams to each kennel for a “watch-in” boarding experience, allowing clients to check on their fur babies any time and place. “We are excited to welcome OneWorld Pet Resort to the McClellan area in Anniston,” said Julie Moss, Director of the McClellan Development Authority. “They have an exciting vision and business plan that will be an excellent economic driver and job provider for the area. We look forward to seeing them grow and prosper at McClellan.” OneWorld Pet Resort currents rates are $10 for boarding less than 5 hours, $20 for one day boarding over 5 hours, and $40 a day for full day and night boarding; however, we are running a special full day and night boarding rate of $30 a day for anyone who books within the first 60 days of opening. Clients can book by calling (256) 403-0557, emailing, or utilizing the OneWorld website, which should launch at the end of January.

  • POW Memorial Ceremony Brings Community, Family, and Military Together in Remembrance

    Military representatives, local historians, journalists, and the family of an interred solider were among the 45 or so guests that met at McClellan’s German Italian Memorial Cemetery Sunday afternoon to honor the 26 German and 3 Italian soldiers who are buried there. The dignified annual ceremony welcomed the public to attend for the first time in three years to hear the testimonies of German Military Rep. Lt. Col. Siegfried Domabyl; Italian Military Rep Lt. Col. Andrea Lopreiato; American Military Rep. Lt. Col. Travis Easterling; and Peter Goelzheuser, grandson of interred WWII German Obergefreiter Peter Gnau. Each representative presented a wreath from their respective countries to show support and solidarity for these men who were once our enemies. A banner decorated the Italian wreath, which read “ai caduti per la patria” — “to those who died for the country.” “We honor the soldiers who are buried in what, for them, was an enemy country, and that now is a friend country — a former enemy who honors Italian fallen soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Lopreiato in his remarks. “The message which Anniston…bring to us, is that one day may mankind be friend and ally.” Peter Goelzheuser first visited the U.S. in the 1990s, when he discovered his grandfather is buried there. Since then, he has returned numerous times, bringing different family members to Pete Gnau’s gravesite to pay their respects. This time, his sister Hedwig and daughter Anne-Sophie joined him. “We are impressed that this memorial service takes place, especially since these foreign soldiers were once enemies to your country,” said Goelzheuser in his address. “In the name of my family, we say thank you very much to all who take care of maintaining this ceremony and the cemetery like it is.” Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Tom Gilbert and Sergeant-Major (Retired) Thom Cole organized and led the event under the mentorship of local historian and former public outreach coordinator for Fort McClellan, Joan McKinney. McKinney is passing the baton to Gilbert and Cole, after several years of organizing the service and collecting extensive records and artifacts from the Prisoner-of-War Camp and all the men buried there. “Her dedication goes above and beyond,” said Lt. Col. Domabyl of McKinney. “During my visits the last two years, I had the chance to learn more about the soldiers, who they were, where they came from, and what the reason was for their death,” Domabyl added. “To be honest, I was impressed how engaged the Anniston community is to preserve and commemorate…this cemetery.” McClellan will be honoring fallen American veterans and their family members who are buried in the Fort McClellan Post Cemetery on Dec. 17th for the annual Wreaths across America event.

  • Annual POW Memorial Ceremony at McClellan Re-opens to the Public

    The Annual Prisoner-of-War Memorial Ceremony will be held on Sunday, November 20, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. at the German Italian Memorial Cemetery in Anniston, AL, honoring the lives of 26 German soldiers and 3 Italian soldiers who are buried there. The ceremony will feature German and Italian military representatives and the family of one of the interred German soldiers. The POW Memorial Ceremony has been held at McClellan each year for more than four decades. This year, the public is invited again to join in honoring these fallen soldiers, following a few years of private ceremonies. Once conducted by the U.S. Army, local civilians assumed the responsibility of the annual event after Fort McClellan closed, upholding the traditional format established by the military. Of the 29 soldiers buried in the German Italian Memorial Cemetery, only four were interned at Fort McClellan as a POW. The others were moved to McClellan’s German Italian Cemetery from various POW cemeteries in the Southeast United States following closure or consolidation. Peter Goelhaeuser, the grandson of interred German Obergefreiter Peter Gnau, will be travelling with his daughter Anna-Sophie and sister Hedwig from their home in Marburg, Germany to attend the ceremony. Though he never knew his grandfather, he strives to keep his memory alive. “Even though I have attended this Annual Memorial Service for many years, I am always moved by the honor and respect given these former enemies,” said Joan McKinney, former Fort McClellan employee who has been researching the POW Camp and Cemetery for more than three decades. “As one dignitary said at a previous service, ‘Somebody loved these men and they are not here to remember them, so we will.'” “We are honored to have this historic ceremony back open to the public this year,” said Julie Moss, Director of the McClellan Development Authority. “This ceremony is an important part of the history of the former Fort McClellan. The McClellan Development Authority is pleased to see as many traditions as possible continue to take place on the former Army base.” “It’s been a long two years for everyone. As we try to get back some semblance of normalcy, we first venture out to things that mean the most to us. For hundreds of us, we’ll be back at the ceremony at the German Italian Prisoner of War cemetery [on] November 20th,” said U.S. Army Sergeant-Major (Retired) Thom Cole. “This is always a very touching commemoration. Everyone attends for their own reasons. Out of bitter enemies, we have become staunch allies. As we mourn the loss of these men and their families, we come together to commemorate their sacrifice and loss.” The German Italian Memorial Cemetery is located at 3541 Shipley Rd, Anniston, AL 36205. In the event of inclement weather, the service will be held at the Cane Creek Community Gardens at 77 Justice Ave, Anniston, AL 36205. For more information, visit the POW Memorial Ceremony Facebook event listing at Ceremony Schedule POW Memorial Ceremony Schedule: 1. Welcome – Thom Cole, Moderator 2. Introduction and Opening Remarks – LTC Easterling, PMS JSU ROTC 3. Invocation – JSU ROTC Chaplain 4. Presentation of Colors – Jacksonville State University Army ROTC 5. History of the POW Camp and Cemetery – Tom Gilbert 6. Introduction of Honored Guests: Family of Obergefreiter Peter Gnau – Thom Cole 7. Wreath Laying – German Representative LTC Siegfried Domabyl • Italian Representative LTC Andrea Lopreiato • American Representative LTC Travis Easterling 8. Remarks by the German Representative – LTC Domabyl 9. Remarks by the Italian Representative – LTC Lopreiato 10. Remarks by the American Representative – LTC Easterling 11. Closing – Thom Cole POWs Buried at the German Italian Memorial Cemetery Alfred Adler (Died November 11, 1944) Albert Heinrich Barthelmess (Died December 4, 1944) Marcel Beck (Died November 14, 1943) Paul Bornmann (Died July 20, 1944) Alfred Christoph (Died September 28, 1944) Fritz Clemens (Died February 7, 1944) Werner Elflein (Died July 18, 1944) Willy Fischer (Died January 31, 1945) Karl Frank (Died August 21, 1945) Peter Gnau (Died November 11, 1944) Gunter Hoever (Died August 25, 1943) Giuseppe Iacoboni (Died March 4, 1944) Otto Jaeckel (Died September 16, 1945) Richard Jaeckel (Died November 3, 1945) Kurt Knopf (Died May 1, 1945) Josef Kohl (Died January 25, 1944) Karl Krause (Died June 8, 1945) Walter Lienert (Died April 30, 1944) Erich Nachtigall (Died February 20, 1946) Waldemar Ott (Died July 20, 1944) Friedrich Rauschenberg (Died August 18, 1943) Heinz Reinke (Died September 13, 1944) Rolf Schneider (Died August 6, 1943) Heinrich Schorr (Died May 28, 1945) Hans Schuberth (Died April 4, 1945) Resorie Spera (Died August 24, 1943) Otto F. Ulrich (Died September 12, 1943) Vincenzo Vernacchio (Died February 17, 1944) Willi Waechter (Died July 29, 1943)

  • Inaugural Treadhoofalon at McClellan Successfully Unites Three Recreation Communities

    Horseback riders, mountain bikers, and trail runners teamed up Saturday, November 5, to compete in the inaugural Treadhoofalon — a triathlon-style event that is the first known of its kind in the United States. The event showcased the successful collaborative efforts of the Back Country Horsemen of American McClellan Chapter, the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association, and the Anniston Runners Club Trail Running Division, including volunteers, spectators, and race participants from each organization. Event creators and organizers, Lain and Julie Hawk, prepped each group on what to expect for their section of the course, before they tagged off with their teammates. Horseback riders kicked off the race at 8 AM, one-by-one in 30-second intervals, who then tagged off to the mountain bikers, who then tagged off to the trail runners. The team with the shortest combined time at 2:15:03s consisted of horseback rider Lisa Henson, mountain biker Wes Hodge, and trail runner Hayley Long. All finishers received a Treadhoofalon medal, and the members of the top three teams received custom, hand-made trophies featuring a bike gear and horseshoe on a wooden foot sole. In total, the Treadhoofalon welcomed 41 participants across Alabama and Georgia, divided into 9 competitive teams and 5 just-for-fun teams. The event ended with fellowship and lunch provided by the BCHA, and attendees sharing in the Hawks’ excitement for next year!

  • MDA Finalizes Purchase of Four Police Cameras with Anniston Police Department

    Julie Moss, Director of the McClellan Development Authority, met with Anniston Police Chief Nick Bowles and Captain Justin Sanford on Thursday, October 20 to finalize the purchase of four live-monitoring police cameras and three years’ worth of network cards for $36,942.76, which the MDA Board approved on Sept. 28. The four cameras will be placed around McClellan in strategic locations within the next 6 months and assist Anniston Police Department with protecting the citizens and property at McClellan. Moss attended the State of Law Enforcement seminar hosted by the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce on April 1, 2022, which invited law enforcement agencies from across the county to speak about issues and trends facing the police force. During the event, Moss noted Anniston Police Department’s need for officers, and discussed with Chief Bowles about the possibility of cameras being set up around McClellan to assist their department. “The cameras are a good deterrent — [they] let people know the police department cares about the community and wants to make everybody feel safe,” said Chief Bowles, “It’s a witness that’s always there and never calls in sick.” Chief Bowles directed Moss to Captain Sanford of Anniston Police Department’s Special Operations Division, who explained all the specifications, operations, and requirements of the police cameras. With assistance from Captain Sanford and APD staff, Moss determined the best locations for the cameras around McClellan. “I appreciate Captain Sanford and the Anniston Police Department for educating me about these cameras and guiding me throughout the process,” said Moss. “I am pleased the McClellan Development Authority is taking advantage of this opportunity to assist our officers and the City of Anniston with keeping our community safe.” “We really appreciate having the funding to do this because anytime we…have more assets out there, obviously that’s better protection and better coverage,” said Captain Sanford. “[These] relationships help us allocate our resources — so it’s a huge help.”

  • Creedmoor Sports Acquires Additional Property to Support Long-Term Growth

    Creedmoor® Sports recently purchased, from the McClellan Development Authority (MDA), more than 30 acres on the grounds of historic Fort McClellan. The land acquisition includes four acres immediately adjacent to the company’s current facility and is dedicated to supporting future expansion. “I am truly thrilled that our company is experiencing success and growth right here in Anniston, on historic Fort McClellan,” said Greg Kantorovich, CEO of Creedmoor Sports. “Many of our core customers are active duty, reserve, or retired military. They appreciate the history, they appreciate where we are, and that helps create a bond. Having the support of the MDA in this expansion project is truly invaluable. We are very grateful for their support, support which will ultimately allow us to better serve our customers,” added Kantorovich. Since relocating to Alabama in 2013, Creedmoor Sports has enjoyed a period of strong business growth. The company has recently become more vertically integrated by expanding its in-house manufacturing capabilities. This additional acreage will support a larger campus and will provide the infrastructure for further expansion in the areas of manufacturing, product development, and retail distribution operations. Established to ensure the future of what was once Fort McClellan, the McClellan Development Authority strives to create a mixed-use community including commercial, industrial, residential, educational, and research-based development. “The staff and board members of the McClellan Development Authority have made it clear how much they value the businesses here at McClellan and have been very supportive as we plan for the future of our organization,” said John Teachey, VP of Operations and Marketing. “Continuing to provide best-in-class customer service and delivering the products our customers want requires expansion and keeping us grounded here on McClellan has always been our top priority,” added Teachey. “Creedmoor Sports has always been a highly respected member of the McClellan business community and a prominent figure in the precision rifle shooting community,” said Julie Moss, Director of the McClellan Development Authority. “Their representatives/staff have been a pleasure to work with throughout the planning and proposal process, and we share their excitement in bringing this landmark company headquarters expansion to McClellan,” added Moss. About Creedmoor Sports, Inc. As a leading supplier in precision shooting sports since 1979, Creedmoor Sports designs, manufactures, and supplies the precision shooter with the gear needed to achieve their personal shooting goals. We manufacture only the best products to give the dedicated shooter the confidence needed to win at every level of competition. Known for best-in-class personal service, at Creedmoor Sports, we don’t have customers…we have friends. Contact: Wayne Dayberry, Director of Marketing 1-800-273-3366 167 Creedmoor Way, Anniston, AL 36205

  • Dirty Soles to Host First Trail Race at Lake Yahou Park

    Dirty Soles Trail Races is returning to McClellan on October 8, 2022 to host the first trail race at Lake Yahou Park using McClellan’s 17 miles of multi-use trails. In March 2022, Dirty Soles chose McClellan to host their very first trail race, McClellan Madness, a 4- to 8-hour endurance race that welcomed more than 70 trail runners from all over the southeast United States to Anniston, Alabama. “The trails at McClellan are non-technical [so] they’re really runnable,” said Becki Jones, founder and director of Dirty Soles Trail Races, adding that McClellan has been great at supporting her vision to bring more trail races to Calhoun County. “It’s a very cohesive relationship…because [McClellan] wants to help advertise my races and I’m helping advertise the trails.” After the success of McClellan Madness, Jones was eager to use McClellan’s multi-use trails again. When she learned that Lake Yahou would be opening in May along with a Phase 3 portion of the trails, she saw it as the perfect opportunity to round out Dirty Soles’ race schedule. “I want to host four races in a year and needed a fourth one…so when the lake opened, I started planning. It just so happened that if [we] started at the lake and did three loops around the outside trails, that it is almost a 50k—so it ended up pretty perfect.” The Lake Yahou 50k will offer two routes for both new and seasoned runners: a 10-mile race with one loop around the trails and a full 50k race with three loops around the trails. Both distances will start and finish at the Lake Yahou Park trailhead, where there will be music, beverages, and food (with vegan-friendly options) awaiting runners as they cross the finish line. Jones assured, “My races are good for any level of athlete. Anyone with any experience can come out and have fun and just enjoy themselves. [Trail running] is just one big community—everyone is friendly and wants to help each other.” Registration is $75 for the 50k and $45 for the 10-miler. The money will be used to cover the costs of the race plus a donation to the McClellan Development Authority. “Every race, I give to somebody,” Jones said. “In [McClellan Madness], I gave to McClellan to help maintain the trails. I don’t do it to make money.” Despite Dirty Soles Trail Races being less than a year old, Jones has high hopes that her events will continue to grow and draw attention to the McClellan Trails. “If I can get this going yearly, I think it’ll be a huge event to draw a lot of people from out of state,” Jones said. “[Besides the Pinhoti], there’s no other trail races going on in Calhoun County, so I think it’s going to bring a lot more runners out here.” The deadline to register for the Lake Yahou 50k is October 3, 2022. Participants can pick up their registration packets at Mellow Mushroom in Oxford on Friday, October 7 from 4-7 PM, or at Lake Yahou Park on October 8 from 6:45-7:45 AM. Read more about this event by visiting Dirty Soles’s Facebook page or visiting the registration page on UltraSignup.

  • Shoes, Hooves, and Wheels Meet in the First Annual Treadhoofalon Race at McClellan

    Mountain bikers, trail runners, and horseback riders will unite in a triathlon-style race at Camp McClellan Horse Trails on November 5th, 2022. This first-of-its-kind event, dubbed “Treadhoofalon,” is being jointly hosted and organized by the Back Country Horseman of America McClellan Chapter, Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association, and Anniston Runners Club Trail Running Division. The event welcomes anyone from the serious competitor to the casual participant, featuring approximately three miles of horseback riding, eight miles of mountain biking, and four miles of trail running. Lain Hawk, who spearheaded the concept for the event alongside his wife Julie, said, “[Julie and I] both ride horses, bike, and enjoy hiking all over the country and wanted to showcase the wonderful trails we have in our backyard here at McClellan. With an event this unique, we hope to have it grow in years to come and make McClellan a destination.” The race will begin with horseback riding promptly at 8 a.m., then mountain biking at approximately 9 a.m., and trail running at approximately 10 a.m., depending on how quickly each teammate completes their section. Participants in the biking and running sections of the race should be prepared to start ahead of these approximations, in case their teammates are faster than anticipated. Julie Moss, Director of the McClellan Development Authority, said, “This is such a unique event and I look forward to seeing all the trail groups coming together and enjoying the beautiful trails at McClellan.” For $45, individuals can participate in one, two, or all three disciplines and be assigned teammates as needed; OR groups of three can register as a team for $100. All registrants will receive a Treadhoofalon t-shirt, a finisher’s medal, and a cookout lunch! The event is free for spectators, and non-competing attendees can purchase a $10 meal ticket the day of the event. Chad Jones, Chairman of the Back Country Horseman of America McClellan Chapter added, “[Our] hope is that the Treadhoofalon will be a great success for Anniston and will draw people from all over to come and experience the fun and create an economic impact. We invite spectators to come and watch the event and help grow [it] into an event that gets larger each year.” There is a limit of 50 participants per discipline, so register online now before the slots are full:! Treadhoofalon FAQs Download Press Release Download

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