Dickert to speak at the B&GC of Benton banquet

Posted 10/1/17

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton/Ocoee Youth Center will be hosting its annual Anniversary Banquet on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Benton.

This year’s banquet speaker …

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Dickert to speak at the B&GC of Benton banquet

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The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton/Ocoee Youth Center will be hosting its annual Anniversary Banquet on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Benton.

This year’s banquet speaker will be Olympic canoeist and former Bradley County resident Wayne Dickert.

Dickert, along with team member Horace Holden, competed in the two-man tandem canoe competition of the 1996 Summer Olympics on the Ocoee River in Polk County.

Dickert said, “I made a few national teams along the way, and alternated from slalom and downriver, and Horace said ‘Hey, you want to get out and paddle on the Ocoee sometime?’” Dickert said. “Our coach — Fritz Haller — said Horace and I should continue together, as we had a chance to go far.”

“I never thought I would get into racing enough that it would get me onto the Olympics [team],” he said.

Dickert said the fall before the Olympics, he began training for competitive canoeing, and then he and Holden began working harder together, eventually qualifying for the ’96 Games.

Dickert, who grew up in the McDonald area of Bradley County, said growing up, getting into whitewater was the farthest thing from his mind.

“Oddly enough, I was the only Boy Scout in my whole troop who didn’t have his canoeing merit badge,” Dickert said. “I was kind of around it, and worked at a church camp where they had lots of activities, and one of them was canoeing. I tried it there and enjoyed it.”

Dickert now uses water for baptisms and spends most of his time preparing to minister on Sunday mornings at the Bryson City United Methodist Church.

“We’re very honored to have such a great example of leadership to speak at this year’s banquet,” stated Al Pierce, president of the Ocoee Youth Center. “A lot of our children and residents aren’t fully aware of the impact the Olympics or the Ocoee River have on our area and are delighted the Rev. Dickert has agreed to share his story.”

Tickets to the event are $30 per person. Table sponsorships are available at $300 (bronze), $500 (silver) and $1,000 (gold) and come with six tickets to the event, preferred table seating, listing in the banquet program as a sponsor, and free tickets for giveaway items.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club/Ocoee Youth Center Anniversary Banquet, contact Holly Stroud, director, at 423-299-9057.

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