“NC Weekend” on UNC-TV focuses on family and local life in North Carolina.
Olivia Webb, the mayor of Ellerbe, started the ball rolling on the project by speaking with Peter Bell from UNC TV. She had done an internship at the station while in college and knew of Bell’s experience first-hand.
“I had seen his work while in college and knew his personality well,” Webb said. “I was certain he would mesh well with the citizens of Richmond County and the staff and riders at the lawnmower race. I feel the entire visit from the station went great. Ellerbe and the county need the recognition and I can’t wait to see the program.”
UNC-TV travels around the state to showcase fun, family friendly entertainment for the weekends in North Carolina. There are five more races this season including this Saturday’s race. The races are every other weekend at the Ellerbe Lions Club, 306 Millstone Road.
Ted Futrell, president of the Ellerbe Lions Club, is pleased to have the recognition on public television.
“We are glad to have some publicity to help put both Richmond County and Ellerbe out there,” said Futrell. “We are glad that Ellerbe can provide some clean wholesome fun for families locally.”
Bell is normally a videographer with the station but took the reigns as producer for the segment.
“The entire community welcomed me while at the track,” Bell said. “The staff was more than professional and I cannot speak enough about Olivia Webb. The stay was amazing also. We were at The Webb Farm and Quail Grounds, which is a type of bed and breakfast. The personal chef that is employed there is outstanding. As for the lawnmower race, I loved it. I spoke with Bobby Dale Earnhardt, many folks there and Jake Vuncannon who races. Toward the end of the race, Jake had a wreck which was captured on film. It was scary and exciting at the same time.”
Bell also explained his conversation with Jake Vuncannon’s mother during the races.
“She supports her son 100 percent. She said during the races she is a mixture of feelings. She talked of her excitement, nervousness, and above all, fear for her son while he is on the tractor. She does hope this may present other opportunities in the future, though.”
Herbert Dawkins, the track steward at the races, was also glad that the race was getting publicity.
“The television show is great for Ellerbe. We love the publicity,” said Dawkins. “If people were not coming to the lawnmower races on Saturday night, they may go out to a bar or club and leave their kids at home. I do not believe that is what families should do. Being there is a positive impact all the way around. There are 45-50 tractors each race weekend and most are local people.”
PBS - UNC TV Channel 4 will have a special segment airing on their program, “NC Weekend” tonight at 9 p.m. with a repeat showing on Friday at 8 p.m.
Lifestyle/Features Editor Tammy Morse can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 16 or by e-mailing at email@example.com.