Race, barbecue competition to benefit outdoors initiative

Several events in Clayton County will benefit and celebrate the Kids Outdoors Georgia Children’s Initiative, said State Rep. Glenn Baker (D-Jonesboro).

Early registrations are being accepted for both the “Lake Spivey Road Race” and the “BBQ Competition” which will take place in November at Clayton County International Park, 2300 Highway 138 S.E. in Jonesboro, said Lindsey DeLong, marketing and sales specialist for Clayton County Parks and Recreation.

“Clayton County set the bar high for other counties,” said Rep. Baker. “We were the first county to do this [three years ago].”

Baker said he wrote the Georgia Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights for the initiative and sponsored the cause.

The mission of the initiative, he said, is to encourage Georgia’s children to participate in outdoor recreational activities and to discover their heritage.

According to the Bill of Rights, it was created because of recent concerns of children’s detachment from outdoor activities, lack of exercise and a rise in health risks. The document reports that every child should have an opportunity to participate in various activities, including discovering Georgia’s history, splashing in the water and playing in a safe area.

The proceeds from both events will go towards scholarships for seventh- and eighth-grade students in Clayton County, for the 2012 Jekyll Island Trip, he said. The trip allows children to explore the ocean and nature.

Organizers of the initiative are hopeful they will be able to send 20 students to the 2012 trip by raising $6,000 total through both events, he said. In the past, the initiative has only been able to send 10 children, Baker said.

Another fund-raiser, the fourth annual Lake Spivey Road Race, will take place on Nov. 5, from 8 a.m., to 10 a.m., said Parks and Recreation’s DeLong. People will be able to register for $25 for the 5k or 15k race until Oct. 20. It will be $30 to register for both races after that date. People can register as early as 6 a.m. during race day, she added.

The 5k race is 3.1 miles and the 15 k race is 9.3 miles, she explained.

DeLong said both the 5k race and 15k races will start on Walt Stephens Road and end at the International Park. The roads that will close on race day include Walt Stephens Road, Jodeco Drive, Jodeco Road, Blackhall Road, Emerald Drive and Bay View Drive, she said.

She said the Lake Spivey community created the race in 2007. Eventually, the racing event was able to collaborate with Clayton County Parks and Recreation and the county’s Board of Commissioners, she said.

The BBQ Competition will also take place on Nov. 5 from 9 a.m., to noon and winners will be announced at 7 p.m., according to the competition’s application. Pre-registration will be available until Oct. 28. The contest will have various categories including beef, chicken, Brunswick stew and barbecue sauce. The cost for each category is $60. If a contestant wants to compete in all categories, the cost will be $150.

The contest will take place during the free Kids Outdoor Festival from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., also at the International Park, said DeLong. Children will be able to participate in various activities including following a trail into the woods and learning about the world of snakes, she said.

State Rep. Baker stressed that these events will not only bring the community together, but it will be for a good cause.

“We want to get them outdoors and [reconnecting] with nature,” he said.翿