‘Smoking Guns’ team challenges sheriff, fire departments to duel
The greater Charlotte area remains true to its reputation as the center of the racing universe, with thousands of area residents preparing for an intensely competitive upcoming race.
The event, sponsored by Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management, is the Right Moves for Youth Twilight 5K Road Race and Walk which will be held May 19, 2006, in uptown Charlotte. The race, part of the Run For Your Life/Asics Grand Prix Series, begins at Wachovia Atrium & Plaza at 301 South Tryon St. (corner of Tryon and 2nd streets) in uptown Charlotte.
Phillips Bragg, chairman of Right Moves for Youth’s board and vice president of Bragg Financial Advisors, says the Babcock School’s sponsorship of the event is a good fit, because the two organizations share a mission.
“We’re impressed with Wake Forest’s commitment to the Charlotte community,” says Bragg. “Right Moves is pleased to be affiliated with an institution equally committed to improving the lives of individuals through academics.”
Leslye Gervasi, director of Wake Forest’s Charlotte MBA programs says the sponsorship fulfills the university’s motto. “This is the kind of partnership Wake Forest looks for,” she says. “We support the motto of the university, Pro Humanitate, for the good of humanity, by educating leaders for today and tomorrow who are interested and involved in their communities. Right Moves for Youth strives to educate, motivate and encourage young people to become successful members of their communities. It's a wonderful match.”
Every year, a friendly competition surrounding the race intensifies among the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and the Charlotte Fire Department. The gauntlet has been thrown down. For this year’s 10th annual race, stakes are high and competition is more fierce than ever.
“What competition?” taunts Officer Bob Cachine of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “We are going for our fifth consecutive fastest-team award. Maybe if the sheriff’s department stopped taking water breaks at the two-mile point, they might be able to pick up some speed. They need to get out of the jailhouse and do some serious training,” he jokes.
Cachine, captain of the five-member team known as the CMPD Smoking Guns, has recruited top-notch marathon runners for the charity race. Three of the Smoking Guns just completed the Boston Marathon. The other two are preparing for upcoming marathons.
The road race and walk is the biggest fund-raiser of the year for Right Moves for Youth. The friendly competition among law enforcement and firefighting organizations helps raise money to keep area youth on the right track.
“This year will be particularly interesting because the sheriff’s department’s fastest runner now works for the police department,” says Officer Keith Way, who is the liaison between CMPD and Right Moves for Youth.
“There is a prize for the fastest team, but the main award is a gold cup that goes to the agency bringing in the most money by participants,” rebuts Capt. Mark Hinson of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department. “Mr. Cachine is just unhappy because we’ve won that gold cup four years in a row, and we’ll win it again this year.”
This year the Charlotte Fire Department will do something unique to demonstrate its support for Right Moves, while demonstrating patriotism and teamwork. Sixteen rookies, who recently completed their firefighting training, will run together while they carry the U.S. flag.
“When we fight fire, we work as a team,” said Charlotte Fire Department Capt. Rob Brisley. “When we compete, we compete as a team.”
But they all agree that it’s all for a good cause.
“We always have a huge turnout because—joking aside—everyone knows, it’s all for the kids,” says Way. “Every dime we raise goes toward keeping kids off the street and making their future brighter.”
In addition to the fundraising aspect of the race, the event provides an opportunity to raise awareness for Right Moves for Youth, says Captain Alan Cobb. “Right Moves for Youth was started by a police officer in the early 1990s,” says Cobb. “Some of the runners may not be aware of what Right Moves for Youth does. This is a good opportunity to raise awareness and build support for the organization.”
Last year, more than 2,100 participated in the event. Organizers expect a larger turnout this year. On-site registration and chip pick up will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The 5K run begins at 7 p.m. and the 5K walk begins at 7:05 p.m. A one-mile Kids Fun Run begins at 8 p.m. Go to www.runforyourlife.com or www.rightmovesforyouth.org to register online.
About Right Moves for Youth
Right Moves for Youth was founded in 1993 by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Dave Scheppegrell and Charlotte businessman and Wake Forest University alumnus Frank Bragg, chairman of Bragg Financial Advisors. The organization works with students in a club setting in local schools and provides them with the encouragement and resources they needed to be successful. The success of the first boys’ club, established at Marie G. Davis Middle School in 1989, led to the program expanding to other schools. Right Moves for Youth now operates clubs in several dozen Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and neighborhood-based Community Club sites, serving up to 2,000 students each year. Educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers work together to help youth improve their school attendance, behavior and academic performance.
About Wake Forest MBA Programs
Wake Forest’s Babcock Graduate School of Management offers five MBA programs, including evening and Saturday MBA programs in Charlotte. The programs nurture innovation and entrepreneurship and provide students with the tools needed to assess the risks of pursuing new ideas. An experiential, hands-on learning environment emphasizes teamwork and collaboration. Forbes magazine has rated the school’s programs among the nation’s best for return on investment, with Babcock’s part-time programs ranked No. 12 and its full-time program ranked No. 40.