COOLEEMEE - This place has had a lot of names over the years - Pearson Falls, Fisher’s Ford, The Shoals and then the Bullhole.
Whatever its name, for more than 200 years it has been a significant regional attraction in the Carolina Piedmont.
This Saturday, it will be the site for the 3rd Annual Great Bullhole Duck Race and Festival that runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. One of RiverPark’s two signature events, organizers aim to have 1,500 rubber ducks in the river for a race that begins at 2.
Stephanie Waller, the park’s events coordinator, was seen last weekend in front of the Mocksville Wal-Mart, selling duck tickets at $5 each, $25 for a “quack pack” of six or “flocks” for $50. Each duck ticket is numbered, paired with an actual numbered rubber duck. Prizes for the Duck Race: $300 for first; $150 for second and $75 for placing third.
Tickets will be available until the end of the business day Friday. Outlets in Cooleemee are Village Auto, Town Hall and the Zachary House; in Mocksville, the Chamber of Commerce; and, in Salisbury at the LandTrust in the old train depot.
On Saturday’s Race Day, tickets can be purchased until 1 p.m. at RiverPark on the Rowan side near the picnic shelter. After that you’ll be just another spectator without a duck in the race.
RiverPark’s newest board member is Brad Waller who took up his duties this year. He is coordinating Cooleemee’s South Yadkin River Tube Race, a new feature for this year’s festival. The Tube Race will begin at 10 a.m. on the Davie side at the Cooleemee Junction Wildlife area, just down the dirt road near the railroad tracks off Junction Road.
Ending at the park’s canoe portage just above the dam, the winner of this race will be awarded a big trophy with a bull on top and $100. Transportation back to the Junction will leave about from the big picnic shelter at 3:30 p.m.
Stephanie, 29, and Brad Waller, 32, moved to Cooleemee in 2010. Both grew up in Rowan County and graduated from West Rowan High School. So, when they looked around to see where they could get involved, RiverPark came up first. Both had been regular Bullhole-goers since childhood.
“This is simply a beautiful place—it’s unique,” says Stephanie, who spearheaded work on the first Duck Race. She has a snapshot of her and her dad on his motorcycle out on the rocks in the old days when she was about 8 year’s old.
Brad remembers first going to the Bullhole when he was about 13 years old with some ...