BOONE — The Boone Police Department asked community members to donate to the North Carolina Special Olympics by conducting two fundraising opportunities this month — a 574-mile bicycle ride and a raffle to win a chance to “tase the police chief.”
Boone Police hosted its sixth year of the Parkway Bicycle Ride when it asks participants to bike the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway — a 469 mile endeavor — to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics. This year’s ride had five cyclists: Boone Police Capt. Andy Le Beau, Tyrelle Barnes, Steve Lambert, Daniel Duckworth and Jason Bowman.
The riders added roughly 100 miles onto their trek by biking Skyline Drive as well, which is located in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The ride started at Skyline Drive on July 15 and continued for the next seven days until the group ended in Cherokee on July 21, Le Beau said. The group of five stopped in Sparta to have dinner and bowl with the area’s Special Olympics athletes as well as had dinner and a bicycle ride around Blowing Rock with Watauga County Special Olympics athletes.
Le Beau said his favorite part of the fundraising event is interacting with the athletes. The most challenging parts of the seven-day ride are the mountainous inclines, with some 17-mile climbs throughout the journey, Le Beau said.
Last year the fundraiser collected $25,000. While Le Beau was still totaling up the donations for this year, he said the department was hoping to raise a similar amount. He added that he wanted to thank the event’s sponsors and support team members.
Boone Police also hosted a ‘Tase the Police Chief’ fundraiser — in conjunction with Alray Tire — on July 4. Participants had the chance to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to be part of a demonstration of the use of a stun gun. To demonstrate, the winner was given the chance to administer the electric shock to Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford. Crawford called it a “shocking” event.
Lt. Bobby Creed gave a brief overview to a crowd of onlookers of how officers use stun guns, and said it is not a lethal weapon. He demonstrated the use of the stun gun by shooting the device’s probes into a target. Crawford explained that the wires were then removed from the probes and then taped to Crawford for the demonstration of the administering of the electric shock.
“Part of this was about educating the public that although it’s a serious tool, (a stun gun) helps us to control a combative subject that is not cooperating, is about to hurt us or someone else or is attempting to flee,” Crawford said. “It helps us to control that and keeps us or another person from getting hurt by use of a less lethal form of control.”
The winner of the event was one Crawford’s employees — Officer Lance Wills. Wills assisted in the administration of the shock, and shared a smile and a hug with Crawford after the demonstration.
Attendees of the event also had the chance to dunk Officer Jake Harkey in a dunking booth. Overall, the event brought in $970 to go toward Special Olympics.