By David Rogers. BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — It took the better part of five months but Evan Cutlip’s community service project aimed at earning him the Eagle Scout rank is now a reality. Members of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the Town of Blowing Rock were on hand, Sept. 6, for a celebratory ribbon-cutting that officially opened the Blowing Rock Bike Park.
Cool, In More Ways Than One
Carved out of a rhododendron thicket and over a small spring in a corner of Davant Field, alongside Clark Street, the bike trail and “pump track” (through an alternative path) offers kids of all ages an opportunity to negotiate its twists, turns, ups and downs free of charge. As many of the celebrants who walked the course on Sept. 6 found, the cool shade of the trees and rhododendron made for a pretty “cool” trek, indeed, even with the hot sun beating down on those outside the bike park.
For Boy Scouts, it is the culmination of having attained 21 merit badges, then completing all the requirements for Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest rank, including some form of “comprehensive community service project,” according to the “Guide to Advancement” published by Boy Scouts of America.
Eagle Scout: A Storied History, With Many Notables
According to Boys Life magazine, more than two million boys had earned the Eagle Scout rank by 2009, approximately four percent (4%) of Boy Scouts participants. Notable Eagle Scouts since the program started in 1911 include the likes of movie director Steven Spielberg, astronaut Neil Armstrong, NFL running back David Montgomery, Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, cardiothoracic surgeon William DeVries, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, aviator and adventurer Stephen Fossett, NFL coach Chan Gailey, animator/cartoon artist Bill Hanna, billionaire businessman J.W. Marriott, Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, NFL head coach Jim Mora, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, U.S. Navy Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, among many, many others.
Without question, young boys becoming men gain a lot in their education and personal development that can lead to success in their personal and professional lives as they grow older.
Valuable Leadership Development
Evan’s father, landscape architect and golf course designer Ron Cutlip, is also an Eagle Scout. He explained to High Country Sports, “The process is challenging and the leadership development skills it pushes you toward are invaluable. Imagine a 14-yearold boy standing before town council being grilled by the mayor and commissioners just like he might be proposing to build a $40 million hotel on Main Street!
“For that boy, it is an invaluable experience,” added the elder Cutlip. “For this project, not only did he have to design it and sell it to the town council, but he had to do the construction planning, budgeting, recruit the needed help, solicit materials and then coordinate all the volunteers who were willing to give their valuable time and energy. I am really proud of Evan for his accomplishments with this project.”
In answer to High Country Sports‘ questions, Evan Cutlip revealed that he at first considered three different sites around Davant Field for the Bike Park, including the one on which he finally decided. Among the unforeseen challenges was track erosion on the lower part of the course, which prompted him to design and install a drainage system to divert water under the track.
Laughs, Of Course
The Cutlips also earned “best humor” recognition for the event.
Serving as emcee for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and introducing his son, Ron Cutlip recalled sitting in the audience to watch his son be questioned by members of town council.
“I think it might be the first time they ever voted unanimously for something!” quipped Cutlip, smiling at the audience that included Mayor Charlie Sellers, Commissioner Doug Matheson, Interim Town Manager Kevin Rothrock and Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Jennifer Brown.
Top honors getting laughs go to Evan, though, when asked whether he did the project all by himself or whether he had any kind of help. In reply, he deadpanned, “Of course, I did it all by myself…” — before quickly reversing course and rattling off the people and businesses that contributed.
Donations of money and materials included Appalachian Ski Mountain, Town of Blowing Rock Parks & Recreation (Jennifer Brown, Director), Town of Blowing Landscape Crew (Cory Cartheat), Dr. Basil and Patricia Cutlip, Greg and Jean Hebert, Highland Landscape Supplies, J.W. Hampton, Lowe’s, New River Building Supply & Lumber, 01 Masonary, Rhoddie Bicycle Outfitters, Tractor Farm Supply, Wil Townsend, and Vulcan Materials.
Volunteers — several of whom had previously earned Eagle Scout rank — included Boy Scout Troop 109 (Gus, Thad, Kosmo, and Sam), Nelson Banegas, Ben Critcher, Mike Trew, Drew Critcher, Camden Brock, Mike Brock, Cheryl Cutlip, Ron Cutlip, John Greene, Kristian Jackson, Scotty Moretz, Matthew Moses, Eli Rice and Kevin Huff.