ELLERBE — For the first time since Lynn McCaskill joined the Lions Club more than 40 years ago, the organization is cancelling its Independence Day activities.
The announcement was made Friday afternoon on the Ellerbe Lions Club Raceway Facebook page.
McCaskill, president of the Ellerbe Lions Club, said it was “definitely not an easy decision,” but the cancellation was made after learning that Rockingham Speedway and Entertainment Complex was planning to have a spectacle that would “greatly exceed ours.”
No announcements have yet been made on the speedway’s website or social media accounts.
“Overall, I think it’s going to be something good for the county,” he said, though not necessarily good for the club.
In the past, the Ellerbe Lions Club has held a jamboree during the day — including games like a soapy watermelon race, live music and recognition of the club’s Citizen of the year — followed by a fireworks show at night.
McCaskill said the attendees have “been very loyal” over the years.
“We hate to let them down this year,” he said, adding that they couldn’t compete head-to-head with what’s planned at The Rock.
Hamlet has yet to make a decision on what to do about it’s annual show.
Mayor Bill Bayless said the council is waiting to see what the county is going to do and will make a decision once plans are announced.
The city cancelled its 2017 festivities due to safety concerns after receiving threats following the murder of Tierrell Martin.
McCaskill said the Lions Club is planning a similar event for Memorial Day or Labor Day in 2020.
The RO is waiting to hear back from speedway and county representatives and will have more on this developing story.