Monday, July 29, 2013

10th Annual Wind, Rain or Shine Ice Skating Team Competition Set for August 3

60 competitive skaters from Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee will be in Decatur, August 3, 2013, for the 10th annual Wind, Rain, or Shine Figure Skating Team Competition. Endorsed by the Ice Skating Institute, the basic skills competition will be held at the Point Mallard Ice Complex located in Point Mallard Park.

The event gets underway at 7:30 a.m. Competitive skaters ranging from children 4 years old to adults will be participating in a variety of individual and team events from freestyle skating to artistic, interpretive, spotlight, footwork, compulsories, and ice dancing. The competition is open to all individual Ice Skating Institute members.  

The Wind, Rain or Shine Competition history dates back to the days of Point Mallard Park’s open air facility that offered ice skating during the winter months. During its end of the year competition, participants never knew what the weather conditions might be, but as the saying goes “the show must go on!”

The Wind, Rain or Shine is endorsed by the Ice Skating Institute (ISI), an international industry trade association encompassing all aspects of the ice skating industry. Founded in 1959 as a nonprofit organization for owners, operators and developers of ice skating facilities, ISI also created America’s original learn-to-skate program, now known as weSKATE, and has introduced more than 5 million individuals to the wonderful world of ice skating.

The competition is open to the public and admission is free. For more information, call Charles Bernhard, Point Mallard Ice Complex Skating Director, at 256.341.4913.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Decatur Heritage Rolls to the TOP with the Inaugural B.A.S.S. High School Invitational Tournament

On Saturday, the Decatur Heritage Christian Academy (DHCA) Fishing Eagles scored another first by student anglers Mitchell Gowen and Brianna Tucker, assisted by boat captain Norman Brown, taking 1st place team honors in the inaugural B.A.S.S. High School Invitational Tournament sponsored by the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau held on Wheeler Lake out of the famous Ingalls Harbor. Mitchell and Brianna out-fished 65 other high school teams to win the Invitational by bringing in 16 pounds, 15 ounces of largemouth bass. Three student angler teams from DHCA was entered in the event.

The tournament weigh-in was streamed live on . Check out the Web site for an archived copy of the live-stream video of the weigh-in, photos of the event registration (including a fine meal for the high school anglers and attendees furnished by CVB in our first class pavilion), the morning launch, on-water photos, and a blog by the anglers. A number of Internet Fishing Web sites have picked up this important high school angler tournament with posting of articles to their Web sites.

While this was the first event of its kind to be staged by the International Bass Anglers Sportsman Society for high school student anglers, it was not the first competitive student angler bass fishing event for Mitchell and Brianna who were Charter Members of the DHCA Fishing Eagles Chapter Club of the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association (ASABFA). The Fishing Eagles, coached by Blake Gowen, Norman Brown, and others organized ASABFA in 2010 and the DHCA Fishing Eagles were crowned the 2010 Alabama Student Angler State Champions in the inaugural year of the new sports organization. ASABFA was recognized by the Alabama State Legislature as the OFFICIAL student angler bass fishing organization in the state.

While B.A.S.S. has been involved in the sport of bass fishing at the grassroots level through the B.A.S.S. Nation, the national collegiate tournament series, and is the major leader in professional bass fishing through the Elite Series of tournaments and the Annual Bassmaster Classic, the organization just began the development of the high school series in 2013 with the 2013 B.A.S.S. High School Invitational Tournament being the first such professionally staged tournament to be held. Mitchell and Brianna will go down in history as the first high school anglers to win a sanctioned B.A.S.S. high school bass fishing event. The DHCA Fishing Eagles are now a qualified sanctioned high school Chapter Club of B.A.S.S.

"I just want to thank God for giving us the opportunity to fish," said Brianna "and I also want to thank our Boat Captain Norman Brown.

Norman said that Mitchell and Brianna wanted to go to their "honey hole" where they had previously taken heavy bags of bass, but only had one bite by 9:00 am. He said the team stayed focused and they then ran up river to an alternate location and when TVA stared releasing water through Guntersville dam increasing the river current, the bass turned on all at once.

Brianna said she worked the front deck of Norman’s bass boat slinging a DD22 crankbait while Mitchell worked a Texas rigged 12 inch worm on the bottom working off a ledge into deeper water. Brown said, "When the current turned on, the Brianna and Mitchell started putting bass in the livewell. Norman said, "They probably caught 10 bass with the larges weighing 4.5 lbs and the smallest about 2.75 – 3.0 lbs."

Finding a consistent, quality bite helped DHCA overcome some of the larger bass weighed in Saturday, including the 5 lb. 3 oz. Carhartt Big Bass caught by Jake Turnbloom and JT Russsell of Briarwood Christian. While a number of the boats caught 4 bass, coming with a 5 quality bass limit was difficult on Saturday. Still, the 16 lb. – 15 oz. bag weight by Brianna and Mitchell is comparable to many adult and pro tournaments.
Mitchell and Brianna will join (9) other B.A.S.S. high school qualified teams from across the nation in competing at the 2014 B.A.S.S. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSIC EXPOSITION TOURNAMENT to be held in conjunction with the Bassmaster Classic out of Birmingham on February 21-23, 2013. For their win, B.A.S.S. has awarded Brianna, Mitchell, and Norman exclusive backstage privileges for the entire 2014 Bassmaster Classic in February.

Joining Tucker and Gowen in the 2014 B.A.S.S. High School Classic Exhibition are runners-up Jarrett Martin and Billy Powers of Gallia Academy High School; third-place finishers Tanner Jones and Clay Teague of Tuscaloosa County High School; fourth-place finishers Beau Ashcraft and Shawn Zellers of Wabash Valley Bassmasters; fifth-place anglers John Garrett and Peyton Lyons of Obion County Student Anglers; sixth-place finishers Ryan Winchester and Justin Burris of Clinton High School; seventh-place finishers Jake Lee and Jacob Mashburn of Clinton High School; and eight-place finishers Ben Stone and Christopher Bensel of Dixie High School. High school anglers from (9) states participated in the tournament.

The remaining 2-angler teams rounding out the (10) teams competing at the 2014 B.A.S.S. High School Exposition Tournament (weigh-in on the Bassmaster Classic Stage) is the top two student angler qualifiers from the Alabama Games Fishing Tournament previously staged out of Montgomery and the top team from the 2013 Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School State Championship Tournament.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Fishers of Men Legacy Series National Championship Set for July 26-27 on Wheeler Lake

The Fishers of Men Tournament Trail is bringing its Legacy Series National Championship to Wheeler Lake for two days of competitive fishing. The Championship is expected to draw around 150 adult/junior teams from over 20 states to the River City where the anglers will be vying for the coveted title of Fishers of Men National Champions. Ingalls Harbor located at 802 Wilson Street NW will host the takeoffs and weigh-ins. 

All Legacy Series teams who competed in a Legacy Series regular season tournament between July 28, 2012 and July 25, 2013 are eligible to enter. Anglers will be competing for a total purse value of over $45,000 including a new Skeeter bass boat. The prize boat will be given to the team from a random drawing of all competitors held at the conclusion of the final weigh-in. The public is invited to attend the weigh-ins scheduled for 1 p.m. on both days.

Families from all over the eastern United States will begin arriving in Decatur the weekend prior to the event as many families make this a week-long family vacation. According to event organizers, the Legacy Series National Championship is expected to create an economic impact of over $350,000 for Decatur and Morgan County. “We feel Wheeler Lake is a great fishery and Decatur is a great family-friendly town. We are delighted to be returning to the area,” said Al Odom, national director for Fishers of Men. “The anglers are equally excited about fishing and sampling the fine southern hospitality found in north Alabama.”

For more information on the Legacy Series Tournament Trail, visit

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tomato Sandwich Day at the Decatur/Morgan County Farmer's Market July 27th

Nothing says summer more than a fresh tomato picked from the vine, and in celebration free tomato sandwiches will be served during the annual Tomato Sandwich Day Saturday, July 27, 2013 at the Decatur/Morgan County Farmer’s Market. Sandwiches complete with white bread and mayonnaise will be given away from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until supplies run out.   

In addition to the sandwiches, free Pepsi-Cola products will be served and home-baked goods, flowering plants, and other locally grown fruit and vegetables, such as watermelon, peaches, cucumbers, peas, okra, and squash will be available to purchase.

The Decatur/Morgan County Farmer’s Market, located at 211 First Avenue SE in Decatur, is open Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. now through November 9, 2013. The Decatur/Morgan County Farmer’s Market also celebrates Watermelon Day on August 17th. 

For more information, call Farmer’s Market Manager Burl Slaton at 256.476.5595.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Downtown Decatur's Monthly Celebration- July 19

Downtown Decatur's 3rd Friday is  July 19th, and plenty of free family fun is on the agenda. This month’s celebration features local favorite Jeff Whitlow and the Old Barn Band, the second annual speed eating hot dog eating contest, a street full of vintage beauties, free tours at the Old State Bank, and other family-friendly activities.
Downtown Decatur’s 3

Beginning at 5 p.m., blocks of both Bank Street and Second Avenue will be closed and festival goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and enjoy a relaxing evening. At 6:30 p.m., Jeff Whitlow and the Old Barn Band is slated for the Bank Street Main Stage located in the 800 block, with Lori Neville and Justin Miller on the Second Avenue Main Stage in the block  of Second Avenue beside Casa Grande Park. Additional performers scheduled to perform include Jason Crow at Simp McGhee’s, Gray, Black and White at The Magnolia Room, Clarence Root “The Chordsman” at Bank Street Green, MTB Karaoke and Kozmic Sound and Music at CJ’s Bail Bonding, and AB Boys at Jones Park (sponsored by Goody 2 Shoes).

All along Bank Street, classic cars and vintage beauties will be on display. The Old State Bank will offer free tours. Sykes Place on Bank will host a benefit concert featuring Michael Dean and Memphis. Festival goers are encouraged to stick around after dark for Movies in the Park where Rise of the Guardian will be shown in Founder’s Park. 

On Second Avenue in Casa Grande Park, festival goers can find the Vendor Marketplace featuring handmade items and Wimberly’s on Second (formerly Bank Street Antiques) will host chair caning demonstrations. There will be Karaoke with DJ Jammin’ Jeff and a Kids Zone featuring demonstrations by Webster’s Karate Studio on Second Avenue between Moulton Street and Johnston Street, and the Carnegie Visual Arts Center is bringing its Art in the Street program to Second Avenue. 

Downtown Dawgs will have its second annual Speed Eating Hotdog Contest beginning at 6:30 p.m. Bank Street Green will be serving specialty Angus burgers, beef hot dogs, soft drinks, beer and liquor. The Arts and Entertainment District is now effect allowing visitors to walk around outdoors with open containers of beer, wine or alcoholic beverages from Gordon Drive to 4th Avenue. Store specials, giveaways, and discounts will be offered at selected retailers and restaurants and the Amberley Suite Hotel will offer its Catfish Friday Buffet. Beautiful Edge Salon will have a Wounded Warrior Project fundraiser with red and blue hair extensions and spa day raffle.

The Downtown Merchants Association wishes to thank the City of Decatur Parks and Recreation Department for the tremendous support they provide to the event as an in-kind sponsor. Platinum Sponsors are Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority and United Launch Alliance. Gold Sponsors include Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Decatur Morgan Hospital, Lamar, Morgan County Commission, and Supreme Beverage Company/Yuengling/Yuengling Light. Silver Sponsors are Bank Independent and Old Black Bear Brewing Company. Bronze Sponsors are Renasant Bank, Stovall-Marks Insurance, and Temple Inc.

Participating streets in 3rd Fridays include Second Avenue, Bank, Market, Moulton, Grant, and Johnston Streets. Admission is free. For more information, call Ashley Ashwander at 256.355.8993 or visit 3rd Friday’s Facebook page for the latest information.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Approximately 600 Athletes to Battle it out at 2013 Wet Dog Triathlon

Set for July 20, 2013, the Wet Dog Triathlon returns to Point Mallard Park in Decatur bringing with it approximately 600 athletes from across the United States and beyond. The race begins at 7 a.m. with a 400 meter swim in the Tennessee River followed by a 15 kilometer bike ride and ends with a 5 kilometer scenic run along the banks of the Tennessee River.  

The Wet Dog Triathlon was started by the Decatur Jaycees fourteen years ago as a local fundraiser for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program which serves Morgan, Lawrence, Winston, and Cullman counties. The first event attracted a mere 87 athletes. Today, it has grown to be a top athletic event for the region with the 2012 race attracting competitors from 17 states and three countries.

Live music will be played under the covered pavilion throughout the event as participants battle it out on foot, on bike, and in the water. The competition wraps up around 11 a.m. following an awards ceremony.

Entry fees are $50 for individual, $100 for a team entry, and $90 for a family of three. Registration is available online at (keyword “wet dog”) or a registration form may be picked up at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office before Wednesday, July 17th. Proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters. Last year, the Wet Dog Triathlon raised $15,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nonprofit mentoring organization providing guidance and support for the youth in our community.

For more information, contact Leah Brown, Big Brothers Big Sisters CEO and Wet Dog Triathlon race director, at 256.353.0157 or visit

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sen. Orr will unveil historic marker to Olympic Medalist

Sen. Arthur Orr will unveil a historic marker for Olympic medalist David Donald Albritton on Friday, July 12 at 10 a.m. in Danville.  State Tourism Director Lee Sentell, Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long and Morgan County Commissioner Randy Vest will attend the ceremony.

Dave Albritton (1913-1994) was a Danville native who tied Cornelius Johnson for the World High Jump Record during the 1936 Olympic Trials in New York City. They were the first African-Americans to set the world mark.  Albritton won a silver medal at the XI Olympics in Berlin becoming the first Alabama native to win an Olympic track & field medal.  He competed in the Olympics with his lifelong friend and Oakville native Jesse Owens.

Albritton graduated from Ohio State University after the Olympic Games and became a coach leading three teams to the Ohio State High School Championships.  In 1960, he was elected as a Republican to the Ohio House of Representatives and became the first African-American to chair an Ohio House committee.  He completed six terms in the Ohio General Assembly.  Albritton was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980. 

Morgan County resident and historical writer Tom Roberts encouraged the Alabama Tourism Department to recognize Albritton with the historic marker.  Roberts wrote the nationally syndicated column “American Chronicle” for the Chicago Tribune for more than seven years. The marker will be on a site 8.5 miles west of downtown Hartselle on AL Hwy. 36 next to Orr Cemetery and near the Danville Post Office.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Greater Tennesse Valley Car Show Set for July 13

Hundreds of vintage beauties will make their way to the River City July 13 for a day of festival fun in the heart of Point Mallard Park. The annual Greater Tennessee Valley Antique Car Show has grown to be one of the largest car shows in the region attracting collectors, fans, and spectators from across the southeastern United States and beyond. Along with antique vehicles, the event features a huge Swap Meet, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and an assortment of food vendors.

For the past 25 years, hundreds of antique cars and trucks from as far away as New Hampshire have made their way to Point Mallard Park for the Car Show. As spectators admire the antique cars and trucks and mingle with the owners, live music and an arts and crafts show are slated from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Set to perform throughout the day on Saturday are the Fairlanes and Alaina Wiley. Featuring old parts and memorabilia, the Swap Meet is popular with collectors and classic automotive enthusiasts and will be open throughout the day on Saturday.

Registration is $25 per vehicle and the first 500 entries will receive a dash plague. This year’s prizes for exhibitors include $8,000 cash, a Chevrolet 350 engine, four sets of Chrome Wheels, free and discounted oil changes, and $50 gift certificates toward tires or wheels.

Admission is free for spectators. Sponsors are Lynn Layton Chevrolet, Family Security Credit Union, and Minor Tire and Wheel, and event organizers extend a special thank you to Decatur Parks and Recreation for allowing the Car Show to be held at Point Mallard Park. 

For more information, call Doug Poole at 256.773.9652 or Charles Adams at 256.350.3383.

Corn Day at the Decatur/Morgan County Farmer's Market July 13th

Corn Day returns to the Decatur/Morgan County Farmer’s Market Saturday, July 13, 2013. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., free samples of freshly boiled corn on the cob provided by local farmers, along with butter, seasonings, and soft drinks, will be available for festival-goers.

Whether you like it grilled, boiled, creamed, or roasted, plenty of freshly harvested corn will be available for purchase. The season for corn is only a few weeks, but the summer vegetable is excellent for freezing for year round consumption. Along with corn, there will be home-baked goods, flowering plants, and other fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables for sale.

The Decatur/Morgan County Farmer’s Market, located at 211 First Avenue SE in Decatur, is open Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. now through November 9, 2013. The Decatur/Morgan County Farmer’s Market also celebrates Tomato Sandwich Day on August 3rd and Watermelon Day on August 17th

For more information on Corn Day, call Farmer’s Market Manager Burl Slaton at 256.476.5595.

Monday, July 1, 2013

National Park passport stamps at northwest Alabama Sites

Six historic sites in northwest Alabama now offer cancellation stamps for the Passport to Your National Parks program, which encourages people to explore the history and natural resources in America’s national parks.

All of the sites are in the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, one of the National Heritage Areas established by the Department of Interior and the National Park Service and are designated by Congress to recognize regions with historical, cultural or natural features. The MSNHA – Alabama’s only National Heritage Area -- encompasses Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties.

Cancellation stamps are at the W.C. Handy Home, Museum and Library, Florence; Ivy Green, birthplace of Helen Keller, Tuscumbia; Red Bay Museum, which offers historical displays and memorabilia from country music star Tammy Wynette; Pond Spring, home of Confederate Gen. Joe Wheeler, Courtland; Mooresville, the first town incorporated by the Alabama Territorial Legislature, on Nov. 16, 1818; and Old State Bank, completed in 1833, Decatur.

 “Collecting the passport stamps is a perfect summer-time family activity,” said MSNHA executive director Judy Sizemore as she announced the stamps’ availability today.  “It’s a great way to travel throughout our part of the state and learn about history in our own backyard.”

The stamps are free and feature an image of each location as well as the date. Visitors to the sites should check days and times of operations since many are not open full-time, Sizemore added. In addition, the MSNHA office, on the University of North Alabama campus, offers an MSNHA stamp for a total of seven stamps available.

Passports cost less than $10 each and are sold at as well as gift shops at Shiloh National Military Park, Shiloh, Tenn.; the Corinth Interpretive Center, Corinth, Miss.; the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, Tupelo, Miss.; and others.