BOONE — Chalk up another Watauga County event cancelation to the COVID-19 virus.
The 22nd annual running of the Blood, Sweat and Gears Bike Ride, scheduled for June 27, was canceled May 1 because of the pandemic. It is the first time that the event has ever been canceled.
“Our decision to cancel BSG was not easy,” ride Director Jeffrey Viscount said. “Still, due to the continued uncertainty and restrictions, we felt it was in the best interest of our riders, the communities we serve and our partners and volunteers. The health and safety of everyone involved with BSG have always been our foremost priority.”
Blood, Sweat and Gears consists of two bike rides that originally started with a 100-mile course. The event grew popular enough that it eventually expanded to include a 45-mile course. The 100-mile course was shortened to a 95-mile ride last year, which was won by Michael Bissette with a time of four hours, 22 minutes and 53.39 seconds.
The ride has not just been a major sports event in Watauga County, but also has been a key fundraiser for local nonprofit organizations.
“Proceeds from these events are redistributed to support local nonprofit organizations and to provide valuable resources for the under served and unmet needs of the High Country community,” according to the ride’s website www.bloodsweatandgears.org.
BOONE — Watauga quarterback Anderson Castle won the Trail Blazer Award and Brooke Byrd won the Hall of Fame Award, both that are given to the top athletes at Watauga High School.
The Trail Blazer Award is given to the top male athlete and the Hall of Fame Award is given to the top female athlete. Both awards are given by the Watauga Athletic Department.
Castle was an All-Northwestern Conference football and basketball player for the Pioneers. He also played centerfield for the Pioneers this season before athletics were shutdown statewide because of the COVID-19 virus.
Byrd was All-Northwestern Conference in volleyball and basketball for the Pioneers. She also was on the Watauga track and field team in the spring.
App State football
BOONE — Appalachian State Athletic Director Doug Gillin is determined to make sure the App State athletic department is ready for the 2020 football season to begin.
After the NCAA shut down athletic activities in March because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Gillin is still unsure when that might be. Gillin would like to see Appalachian State opens its football season Sept. 5 at home against Morgan State, but that might not be possible.
“We remain hopeful and we’re planning on playing on Sept. 5 against Morgan State,” Gillin said. “With that, our plans are in place and we want to make sure that we’re ready when we get approval from university leadership, from state leadership, our system leadership in terms of when we can go.”
Gillin said the football program would need six weeks of conditioning and workouts with the coaching staff to get ready for the season.
“Our plan is to get approval from everybody I’ve mentioned and from health professionals and guidance and part of that plan first and foremost is how do we bring them back safely?” Gillin added. “How do we work that into the community at large and our university community safely? Those are the plans we’re working on right now.”