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Letter: McCormick needs to realize impact of Thunder

To the editor:

Rocking R International would like to address McCormick County's decision not to allow Thunder over Thurmond to happen for the residents and for the many people that would travel and spend money in McCormick.

Thunder over Thurmond is an event of fireworks, bands, air shows, vendors and a much needed escape from your everyday problems.

It is an event that has been celebrated in McCormick on Thurmond Lake for many years, promoted by both the Lincolnton and McCormick chambers of commerce.

Rocking R and Greg Ruddell had agreed to sponsor Thunder over Thurmond by paying for the bands (Confederate Railroad and Brasstyme), the lease of Dorn Boating Facility, purchase the fireworks and cover any other cost that the event would incur, at a cost exceeding $65,000.

Neither McCormick County nor the chamber would incur any financial burden. Arrangements had been made to work with the chamber of commerce in McCormick for this event to happen and a letter from the McCormick County Council stating that Rocking R could use the Dorn Facility for the 2011 event! There were stipulations that Rocking R had to follow to use the facility and we agreed to them all. Rocking R had even agreed to donate money to the McCormick Chamber.

As plans for the event were almost complete, Ruddell was informed by McCormick County Council that this year's Thunder over Thurmond would not be allowed to take place.

The controversy surrounding Thunder over Thurmond needs to stop, and McCormick County Council needs to re-evaluate what this event means to McCormick.

Last year's event had around 4,500 boats on the water plus over 30,000 people lining the banks at Dorn Boating Facility and other areas on the lake to watch the daring aerial antics of Gary Ward and the fireworks display.

In a letter written by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Ruddell, the Corps states that the visitation for the past year in McCormick and surrounding counties was 5.3 million people that camped, hunted, boated, and used the different facilities for day use and other outdoor recreation.

In 1992, the federal government spent over $1 million constructing Dorn Boating Facility, which was given to be managed by McCormick County to create jobs and growth in one of the smallest and poorest counties in S.C.

Dorn had never been effectively utilized until last year when Thunder over Thurmond was held there and the fireworks next door.

Go to for more information.

Jean Cameron

Rocking R International Inc.

Web posted on Thursday, June 09, 2011

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