Volkssporting is a non-competitive sport which was developed by representatives of Germany,
Austria and Liechtenstein in 1968. It began as an alternative to timed, individually oriented races as a means for families to take part in a leisurely activity together. It is conducted under the auspices of the International Volkssport Verband (IVV) in at least 29 countries. U.S. service personnel and government employees and their families quickly took to volkssporting while stationed in Europe and brought it back to this country.
Since the first volksmarch, or people’s walk, in the U.S. in 1977 in Fredericksburg, Texas, the sport has spread rapidly throughout the country. There are 350+ organized clubs within the framework of the American Volkssport Association (AVA), which is a member of the IVV. Volksmarching is an inexpensive, wholesome sport in which almost anyone, young or old, can participate. Some of the trails may not be suitable for strollers or the physically impaired. All persons are asked to read the brochure and/or check with the organizing club prior to starting.
The Maryland Volkssport Association (MVA) sponsored a volksmarch in Westminster, Maryland on August 15-16, 1987, in part to determine what, if any, volksmarching interest existed in this area. Five Hundred Eighty people turned out for it and 15 persons signed up indicating that they would be interested in starting a local club.
Piedmont Pacers Volksmarch Club
On September 28, 1987, a meeting was held at the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Library which was hosted by Julian Bauer, Northeast Regional Director, AVA and Frank Chase, Columbia (MD) Volksmarch Club. The 28 people who attended the meeting agreed to form a club that evening rejected the suggested name of “Westminster Whispering Wanderers” and instead took the temporary title of “Carroll County Volkssport Club” until a permanent club name could be decided on. Two veteran volksmarchers, Steve Duex and Art Brett, both of whom began volksmarching in Germany, agreed to become President and Vice-President, respectively. Sharon Brodsky and Ann McIver, newcomers to volksmarching, volunteered to become Secretary and Treasurer, respectfully. Dues were set at $3 for individuals and $5 for families.
For October and November of 1987, the club met at VFW Post 467 in Westminster. At its first meeting, those in attendance selected “Piedmont Pacers” as the official club name. “Piedmont” is the area which is east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and west of the Atlantic coastal plain, e.g. the state of Maryland. The club normally meets the second Monday of each month (except for the summer months and December) at Robert Moton Elementary School on Washington Road (Route 32) in Westminster.
The club’s first event, a 10 kilometer (km) (6.2 mile) walk was held June 11-12, 1988 at the Union Mills Homestead and Shriver Grist Mill, Union Mills, Maryland. The Trailmasters for that walk, John and Tanya Prettyman, laid out a beautiful trail and Mother Nature cooperated fully. The event drew 904 participants and the “comment book” elicited many favorable comments, including several comparing the Union Mills area to that of Germany. The medal featured the Shriver Grist Mill while the patch became the first in a series depicting various Maryland symbols. For this event, it was the state bird, the Baltimore Oriole. The Silver Run/Union Mills Lions Club did a wonderful job of preparing food and drink for all.
Buoyed by the success of their first effort at Union Mills, the club voted to host a second event that year on the weekend following Thanksgiving.
During the September 1988 club meeting, Steve Duex, Sharon Brodsky and Ann McIver were re-elected as officers. Art Brett stepped down as Vice-President and was replaced by Sherrill Ringley, another charter member. Art volunteered to become the Publicity Chairperson.
The Piedmont Pacers’ second event, on November 26-27, 1988 was held at Piney Run Park near Sykesville, Maryland. Because schools were closed this weekend, Jennifer DeArmey, Piney Run Park Superintendent, agreed to let the club use the Parks’ Nature Center as the start/finish location. The park said that they would also build fires and turn the water on in the restrooms. Normally the Nature Center is not open on weekends during this time of the year. A native to that area, Trailmaster Frank Ringley, assisted by his wife Sherrill, laid out a very scenic 10 km trail, most of which stayed within the park itself. Saturday morning was brisk but beautiful and the geese calling from across the water made the scene very picturesque. There were 538 participants on Saturday while an additional 281 people braved the rain on Sunday, raising the total participation to 819. The medal was a fall scene enclosed within the outline of a pumpkin. The patch featured the two Red-Tailed Hawks housed at the park.
The club’s third event was held June 10-11, 1989 returning to Union Mills Homestead and Shriver Grist Mill. The medal depicted the water wheel on the Shriver Grist Mill and the patch featured the “Black Eyed Susan,” Maryland’s state flower. This was also the club’s first attempt at hosting an event with two separate distances. In addition to the 11 km (6.8 mile) trail, an 18 km (11.2 mile) trail was also laid out by Trailmasters John and Tanya Prettyman. The 11 km trail drew 855 participants while 207 walkers chose the 18 km trail.
For this event, a temporary bridge was constructed on Friday by the Camp Hashawha maintenance department to bridge a portion of Little Pipe Creek between the camp and Homestead properties. The first person to finish on Saturday reported that it was a beautiful course but it would have been nice to have a bridge across what on Friday was a stream. When informed that a bridge had indeed been built the day before exactly for that purpose, club officials were told it wasn’t there anymore. A violent thunder and rain storm passed through the area the previous evening and washed the bridge about 150 feet downstream. With the help of several on- the-scene volksmarchers, the bridge was righted and pushed back upstream, where it remained for the rest of the weekend.
President Steve Duex represented the Pacers at the 6th biennial AVA convention in Dayton, OH
At the November 1989 meeting, Sherrill Ringley was elected President while Sharon Brodsky and Ann McIver were re-elected Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. There were no candidates for Vice-President.
The club’s fourth event was a 10 km walk at the Carroll County Farm Museum on November
25-26, 1989 with Steve Duex as Trailmaster. Those who either worked and/or walked at this event will long remember the two gray, cold and windy days. The start was located in one of the covered pavilions which the club enclosed in plastic in an attempt to cut down on the wind. A portable heater was brought in on Sunday to help comfort and warm the workers. In spite of the weather, there were 755 participants. The award was a design of the mansion, the old county Almhouse, located on the museum grounds. The event patches, depicting the many peacocks wandering around the grounds, didn’t arrive until the following Monday as the day after Thanksgiving was a holiday for UPS workers. Speciality items lent to the club by the Freestate Happy Wanderers were sold.
Our fifth event was a “first” for us. The Pacers combined with the Freestate Happy Wanderers to co-sponsor a weekend of events, March 17-18, 1990 at Liberty High School in Eldersburg, Maryland. Each club had separate 10 and 15 km trails (Chuck Merkel was the Pacers’ Trailmaster) but part of the Pacers’ 10 km trail was pretty well washed out by the heavy rains on Saturday. (Are you beginning to see a pattern here – Piedmont Pacers event = RAIN!). Since it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the award was a Leprechaun medal with two hanging attachments: a “pot of gold” from Freestate and a “shamrock” from the Pacers. An Irish clover and hat formed the design for the patch. Even with the wet weather, 659 walkers took part. Frank Ringley rushed to K-Mart mid-Saturday morning to purchase a tarp to keep the control point workers dry. This event also marked the first time that Pacer tee-shirts were available for purchase.
Beginning May 3, 1990 and continuing for almost nine years, the Pacers participated in the State of Marylands’ “Adopt A Highway” effort. Frank Ringley headed this effort and the Pacers kept a portion of MD 97 between Route 26 and Barthlolow Road in Carroll County free of trash. (Due to dwindling participation, the Pacers decided to discontinue this effort in early 1998).
The Pacer’s third event at Union Mills and sixth overall was held on June 9-10, 1990 and attended by 816 participants. The Trailmaster for this event was Bob Binda who laid out a 11 km trail which included “cardiac hill.” The award was a walking stick with a Piedmont Pacer shield attached. Dan Rabideau, the Awards Chairperson, affixed almost every one of them himself. The patch was the third in a series of Maryland state symbols, this time the butterfly, the Baltimore Checkerspot.
The following individuals were elected/re-elected in September 1990: Sherrill Ringley as President; Bob Binda as Vice-President; Sharon Brodsky as Secretary and Neil McIver as Treasurer. Congratulations to all!
The Reisterstown/Glyndon area provided the location for the Pacers’ next event on November 17-18, 1990. The trail had already been established by Trailmaster Bob Binda before a tornado smashed through a new development only days before the event. Some of the resultant damage was viewed by the 580 participants. The award featured the Glyndon Train Station while the patch depicted a wild turkey in an autumn setting. The club was left with about 100 medals from this event which took years to distribute. In lieu of selling hot food, the Pacers sold baked goods and soda at the fire hall and many walkers contributed food stuffs for Carroll County Food Sunday and the Enabling Social and Church Advocacy for People Enrichment (ESCAPE) programs, agencies which assist the needy. Five heavy bags of food were donated to each agency.
Also in 1990, the Pacers reduced their reliance on other clubs by obtaining their own water jugs and tables.
The first annual Holiday party was held on December 7, 1990 at the home of Chuck and Joanne Merkel and a very enjoyable evening was had by all.
At the April club meeting, Art Brett, the Pacers’ first Vice-President, became an “Honorary
Member” of the club.
April 25, 1991 was the date that the Piedmont Pacers were featured on the front page of the Carroll County Times sports page. The article featured Sherrill, Josh and Joe Ringley holding the clubs’ new banner, containing all of the clubs’ event patches. Sherrill designed the banner.
On April 27, 1991 the Pacers participated in the 3rd annual county Health Fair at the Cranberry Mall in Westminster with a display table to increase the public’s awareness of volkssporting as a healthy, fun and non-competitive sport. The clubs’ banner was prominently displayed along with the recent newspaper article.
Union Mills Homestead was again the location of our June event in 1991, where a record total of 1,031 folks participated including 233 who chose to take the 3 km loop. “A pure delight - thanks for a lovely time” were some of the many positive comments Trailmaster Bob Binda received. For a change, the weather was perfect and many positive comments were received regarding the trail markings, mostly on how well the trail was marked. Some 50 leftover walking sticks from last year were made available for purchase at the bottom of “Turk’s Hill” and they were all sold. The patch for this event was the Maryland State Dog - The Chesapeake Bay Retriever. On Saturday, the Hersh family brought their retriever who had been trained to assist the hearing impaired. Jean Buchman oversaw a very active sales table which sold 99 record books, 167 of our first hat pin - Uncle Sam, 25 patches from previous Pacer events, 40 shirts, hats and visors with the famous Piedmont Pacer logo and 33 club pins. A gift of $200 was given to the Homestead toward their rebuilding fund.
The 7th biennial AVA convention was held this year at the University of Maryland - Baltimore County campus. On June 18th, the Pacers sponsored one of the swim events. President Sherrill Ringley was the clubs’ representative.
On September 5-6, sixteen members of the club participated in the Leisure Expo at Cranberry Mall.
Club elections were changed to May of each year with installation taking place in September. In 1991 the following officers took office: Dan Rabideau as President, Ed Tecco as Vice-President, Helen Lewis as Secretary and Neil McIver as Treasurer.
On November 16th, ten members of the club participated in our “Adopt-A-Highway” program. McDonalds continued to lead as the apparent fast food of choice, based on what was collected.
November 30-December 1, 1991 marked the second time that the Pacers offered a walk at Piney Run Park. Trailmaster Frank Ringley received congratulations for his trail coordination, design and layout. 712 people attended and were treated to beautiful fall weather. There were 546 walkers on Saturday, 166 on Sunday and 185 walked for the “A” award which was a tree pin with trail info embossed on the garland. An unknown volunteer added a bow to the top of the tree. The patch featured a Canadian goose, a very familiar sight at the park.
The Pacers’ Holiday party was held at the home of Dan and Barb Rabideau. It was a wonderful relaxing evening enjoyed by all.
By the beginning of 1992, the club was feeling very good about its ability to put on quality events and decided to expand by offering evening walks in addition to their weekend events. The schedule for 1992 was:
March 14-15 in Sykesville - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 573 walkers.
May 14 Night Walk (NW) at Eldersburg - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 51 walkers.
May 30-31 at Union Mills - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 376 walkers (in the rain).
July 23 NW at Patapsco State Park - 41 walkers (again in the rain).
August 13 NW at East Hereford - Trailmaster: Carl Frock Jr. - 15 walkers.
November 28-29 at Piney Run Park - Trailmaster: Frank Ringley - 675 walkers. This event featured the Jumpin’ Jack or Jill wooden figures as the “A” award which were sold out.
Also in 1992, the Pacers were asked to host a simulated volksmarch at North Carroll High School in conjunction with their health fair. The Trailmaster was Dan Rabideau but not many people did the walk.
A summer picnic was held on August 23 at the home of Carl and Cynthia Frock with the club providing bratwursts, hot dogs and sodas. A fun time was had by all.
The new officers for the 1992-1993 year who took office in September were: President Helen Lewis, Vice-President Ed Tecco, Secretary Joanne Merkel and Treasurer Frank Ringley. Congratulations!
The annual Holiday party was again held at the home of Chuck and Joanne Merkel on December 18th with a large turnout of club members enjoying themselves.
1993 brought another first for the Pacers as they began a Year-Round Event (YRE) in Westminster. The start/finish was established at The Westminster Inn and began on February 1. A YRE is an event that can be walked (or biked) any day of the year that the start/finish location is open. Both the walk and bike events continue today.
The 1993 line-up of events were:
March 13-14 at Sykesville - This event was rescheduled for April 10 due to the ‘Blizzard of 1993.’ There were a total of 229 people who participated during three inches of rain which caused the club to close the trail early on Sunday.
May 13 NW in Reisterstown - Trailmaster: Carl Frock Jr.
June 12-13 at Bear Branch Nature Center - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 515 walkers.
June 24 NW at Morgan Run Environmental Area - Trailmaster: Carolyn Garber - 46 walkers.
July 22 NW at Gillis Falls, Woodbine - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 60 walkers.
August 12 NW at Hashawha Nature Center - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 71 walkers.
August 23 at Long Arm Reservoir, Hanover, PA - Trailmaster: Cheryl Vecera - 47 walkers.
November 27-28 at Cunningham State Park, Thurmont - A most memorable event for the 204 Intrepid walkers. Guess what, it rained again! The rain on Saturday proved to just be a fore-runner of Saturday evening as almost eight inches of rain fell just over the ridge in Sabillasville. Hunting Creek Lake rose eight feet overnight!! But what a sight Cunningham Falls were on Sunday - absolutely spectacular!
YRE walk in Westminster - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 566 walkers.
At the 1993 biennial convention in Austin, Texas, Pacers’ Charter President Steve Duex received the AVA’s Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to the Piedmont Pacers and volkssporting.
All officers were re-elected for 1993-1994. Congratulations!
The Holiday Party for 1993 was held at The Westminster Inn, site of the start/finish for the Westminster YRE. The club’s party was held in “The Study Room” of the old Westminster High School building.
1994 found another full year of Pacer-sponsored events:
March 19-20 at NW Middle School in Taneytown - Trailmaster: Ed Tecco - 676 walkers.
May 12 NW in Eldersburg - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 46 walkers.
June 11-12 at Morgan Run Environmental Area - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 329 walkers.
June 23 NW on the North Central RR Trail - Trailmaster: Ed Tecco - 65 walkers.
July NW in Westminster - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 46 walkers.
August 28 in Hampstead - Trailmasters: Mary Ruth Lippy & Jean Buchman - 103 walkers.
November 26-27 at Piney Run Park - Trailmaster: Frank Ringley - 416 walkers.
YRE walk and bike in Westminster - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 402 walkers & 20 bikers.
Officers elected for the 1994-1995 year were President Carl Frock Jr., Vice-President Steve Duex,
Secretary Joanne Merkel and Treasurer Frank Ringley. Congratulations!
The fall picnic was held at the home of Frank and Cheryl Vecera. It was a most enjoyable time.
The “Adopt-A-Highway” crew amassed 13 bags of trash and numerous tires.
At the November meeting, the club voted to support Ron Bowers for MVA President and Dena
Forster for Secretary. Ron was elected but Dena lost out to Sandy Lynch.
The 1994 Holiday party was held at The Westminster Inn for the second year in a row. A “Yule Log” was featured for dessert.
The Pacers’ 1995 schedule looked like this:
March 18-19 in Hampstead - Trailmaster: Mary Ruth Lippy - 527 walkers.
May 18 NW in Mt. Airy - Trailmaster: Ed Tecco - 38 walkers.
June 3-4 at Codorus State Park, PA - Trailmaster: Cheryl Vecera - 458 walkers.
June 8 NW in Sykesville - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 85 walkers.
July 20 NW at Union Mills Homestead - Trailmaster: Carl Frock Jr. - 77 walkers.
August 17 NW in Manchester - Trailmasters: Richard & Mary Ruth Lippy - 50 walkers.
September 4 at Ft. Richie - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - This was the club’s first and to date only Triad!
October 21-22 at Cunningham Falls State Park - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 330 walkers.
YRE walk and bike in Westminster - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 332 walkers & 30 bikers.
At the February meeting, Cynthia Frock moved that the Pacers sponsor the first segment of the C&O Canal Series of volksmarches. It was passed unanimously. Also at this meeting, President Carl Frock Jr. announced that the club had received numerous requests for donations. After a discussion was held, the club voted to donate $100 to Piney Run Park.
For the first time in anyone’s memory, the cash box from the Westminster YRE disappeared on March 12. It was never found. Steve Duex believed that about $22 was taken. A new cash box was bought and permanently affixed to the larger container.
Also at the March meeting, the club voted to hold the 1997 AVA convention in Winston-Salem, NC.
The new Westminster YRE coordinator effective April 1 (no foolin’) was Helen Lewis.
At the 1995 Biennial convention in Portland, Oregon, Chuck and Joanne Merkel both received the AVA’s Meritorious Service Award. It was well deserved by both. Congratulations!
At the September meeting, Carl Frock Jr. reported that the convention had been a well run, well
organized affair with lots of great walks.
Several Pacers “worked” the Big 6 wheel at the Westminster Fall Fest for “Change, Inc” and received a nice note of thanks.
Officers for the 1995-1996 year were: President Carl Frock Jr., Vice-President Cheryl Vecera, Secretary Joanne Merkel and Treasurer Frank Ringley. Congratulations!
The Pacers returned to The Westminster Inn for the third year in a row for their Holiday dinner on December 1.
In early 1996, the Pacers decided it was time to donate something back to the community for the support which it had received during the past eight years. With the bank balance above what was felt reasonable to cover one or two “disastrous events,” the Pacers voted to donate $100 each to Carroll County Transit, Christmas in April, Carroll County Health Promotions, Friends of Cunningham State Park, Codorus (PA) State Park, Union Mills Homestead and the Westminster Recreation Council (which the Pacers have belonged to since the very beginning). An additional $250 gift was sent to the AVA Headquarters toward their computer upgrade fund.
The Pacers’ 1996 schedule looked like this:
March 16-17 in Thurmont - Trailmaster: Joe Wolfe - 443 walkers.
May 16 NW at Soldier’s Delight - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 45 walkers.
June 8-9 at Linganore Winery - Trailmaster: Ed Tecco - 618 walkers.
June 20 NW in Westminster - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 48 walkers.
July 11 NW on the North Central RR Trail - Trailmaster: Mary Ruth Lippy - 72 walkers.
August 15 NW at Morgan Run Environmental Area - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 72 walkers.
October 19-20 at Bear Branch Nature Center - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 155 walkers.
YRE walk and bike in Westminster - Trailmaster: Carl Frock Jr. - 279 walkers & 18 bikers.
The C&O Canal Series was supposed to begin in April of this year but two devastating floods in 1995 destroyed or badly damaged much of the towpath. The MVA decided to postpone all activities until 1997 and see what shape the towpath was in at that time.
The most contentious issue that the Piedmont Pacers have been involved in occurred early in 1996 and concerned the proposed Westminster Linear Park (WLP) Trail. If constructed, this trail would have started at the Westminster Community Pond and gone toward Random House and Bennett Cerf Park, then Parallel to Route 27 South to near Gardiner’s Furniture Store. The WLP Trail was at the time included in “The Comprehensive Plan: Westminster and Environs, 1985, Carroll County, Maryland.” The plan was adopted by the County Commissioners, the Mayor and Common Council of Westminster in 1985. Several member of the Pacers attended the public meeting on January 30 at West Middle School and two, Chuck Merkel and Steve Duex, spoke in favor of the WLP trail. The majority of people at the meeting were in favor of the trail but there was also opposition in the form of local homeowners in the vicinity of the proposed trail. The County Commissioners voted 2-1 to delay the trail until a further study could be conducted. The trail has not yet been constructed.
In March, the Pacers donated $100 each to seven Carroll County charities.
A plaque was presented to The Westminster Inn for their support in sponsoring the location for the start/finish to the Westminster YRE.
All serving officers were re-elected for the 1996-1997 year. Congratulations!
In lieu of the September meeting at Robert Moton Elementary, our postponed picnic, originally scheduled for June, was held at the home of Kathy & Steve Duex on September 7. The club provided the brats, hot dogs, burgers, chips, sodas and paper stuff. Members were asked to bring dessert or a salad/side dish depending on their last names. Weather was excellent and a good time was had by all.
The Pacers once again assisted “Change, Inc” with their Big 6 wheel at the Westminster Fall Fest.
During the biennial elections of the Maryland Volkssport Association, Steve Duex of the Pacers was elected First Vice-President, the first such honor for a Piedmont Pacer. Congratulations!
In 1997, the Pacers expanded their YRE efforts with new YRE walks in both Frederick and Thurmont. Joe Wolfe agreed to be the Thurmont Trailmaster and Steve Duex stepped forward for Frederick, which was formerly sponsored by the Columbia Volkssport Club. The Westminster YRE continued in the capable hands of Carl Frock Jr.
The schedule of events for 1997 included:
March 22-23 at Piney Run Park - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 513 walkers. This was the first time that the Pacers had designated any walk as a “March For Parks” walk. The Pacers were able to present a check for $500 to the Piney Run Recreation and Conservation Council from this event which included $69 in donations from walkers.
April 19 - Segment 1 of the C&O Canal Series - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 351 walkers.
May 17-18 in Mt. Airy - Trailmaster: Ed Tecco - 301 walkers.
May 28 NW in Hereford - Trailmaster Carl Frock Jr. - 45 walkers.
June 11 NW in Sykesville - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 75 walkers.
July 16 NW in Hampstead - Trailmaster: Mary Ruth Lippy - 44 walkers on the hottest day of the year. The thermometer registered 104 degrees at the end of the event.
August 16 in Hagerstown - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 183 walkers.
November 8-9 in Westminster - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 217 walkers.
YRE walk and bike in Westminster - Trailmaster: Carl Frock Jr. - 236 walkers & 20 bikers.
YRE walk in Frederick - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 324 walkers.
YRE walk in Thurmont - Trailmaster: Joe Wolfe - 290 walkers.
What began as a dream in late 1994 finally became a reality for Pacer Steve Duex when the Maryland Volkssport Association (MVA) was able to begin the C&O Canal Series of volksmarches. The 16 segments from Thompson’s Boat Center in Georgetown (DC) to Cumberland, MD, a total of 184.5 miles, was expected to start in 1996 but the disastrous floods of ‘95 forced total cancellation until 1997. All told, the Pacers hosted three of the 16 events over the next three years. Participation in the entire series totaled 3434.
At the May meeting, the Pacers agreed to support Ron Bowers for Regional Director and Pat Gray for AVA President. Once again, we batted 50% as Ron won re-election and Pat lost.
At the AVA’s biennial convention in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Frank Ringley was recognized for all of his efforts with the Pacers when he received the AVA’s Meritorious Service Award. Kathy Duex received the Certificate of Service Award for helping to coordinate the C&O Canal Series.
The Pacer’s picnic was held at the home of Cheryl and Frank, aka “Bunk” Vecera in August in a most festive atmosphere.
The following officers took their positions in September, 1997: President Helen Lewis, Vice-President - vacant, Treasurer Ed Tecco and Secretary Linwood Van Horn. Congratulations!
The Pacer’s Holiday dinner was held at Park’s Landing in Westminster and was attended by 23 members.
The 1998 schedule of Pacer events looked like this:
March 22-23 in Emmittsburg - Trailmaster: Cheryl Vecera - 335 walkers.
May 16 - Segment 9 of the C&O Canal Series - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 203 walkers.
June 6-7 at Union Mills Homestead - This was the 10th Anniversary event for the Pacers.
Trailmasters: Chuck Merkel (walk) & Steve Duex (bike) - 441 walkers & 22 bikers.
August 15 in Hagerstown - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 243 walkers.
October 31 in Fairfield, PA - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 332 walkers - The Pacers donated $200 after the event to the Friends of Strawberry Hill (the start/finish location).
November 21-22 at Bear Branch Nature Center - Trailmaster: Chuck Merkel - 442 walkers.
The Pacers hosted this event on behalf of the Atlantic Region Director, Ron Bowers.
YRE walk and bike in Westminster - Trailmaster: Carl Frock Jr. - 293 walkers & 21 bikers.
YRE walk in Frederick - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 319 walkers.
YRE walk in Thurmont - Trailmaster: Joe Wolfe - 233 walkers.
Night walks were discontinued due to dwindling participation.
The 10th Anniversary event at Union Mills in June was the first time that the newly designed club polo shirts were worn.
The Pacers again assisted at the Big Six Wheel during Westminster’s Fall Fest even though Change,
Inc. did not operate it this year.
The annual Holiday party was held at Wilhelms on December 11. Many thanks go to Carl Frock III for making the necessary arrangements and the Garrison Rod & Rifle Club for allowing us to join them.
The following officers took office in September: President Ed Tecco, Vice-President - vacant,
Treasurer Mary Ruth Lippy and Secretary Linwood VanHorn. Congratulations!
This was the 1999 schedule of Pacer events:
March 20-21 at Taneytown - Trailmaster (walk): Cheryl Vecera - 318 walkers.
Trailmaster (bike): Steve Duex - 17 bikers.
May 16 - Segment 16 (and final) on the C&O Canal - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 163 walkers.
October 30-31 at Linganore Wine Cellars - Trailmaster: Ed Tecco - 504 walkers.
YRE walk and bike in Westminster - Trailmaster: Carl Frock Jr. - 225 walkers & 14 bikers.
YRE walk in Frederick - Trailmaster: Steve Duex - 327 walkers.
YRE walk in Thurmont - Trailmaster: Joe Wolfe - 198 walkers.
The Pacers voted to donate $200 each to Union Mills Homestead, Bear Branch Nature Center and the Westminster Recreation Council (of which the Pacers are a member).
Steve Duex was selected as the club’s representative at the June convention in Muncie, IN.
Eleven members of the Piedmont Pacers were among the 73 walkers who completed the entire 184.5 miles (300 km) of the C&O Canal over the past three years. They are: Jean Buchman, Steve Duex, Carl and Cynthia Frock Jr. Jean Gibbs, Mary Ruth Lippy, Michele Mangin, Chuck and Joanne Merkel, Cheryl Vecera and Joe Wolfe. A hearty congratulations to all!
At the May meeting, all serving officers were re-elected. Congratulations and thanks!
At the AVA’s 11th biennial convention in Muncie, Indiana in June 1999, Steve Duex received the AVA’s “Distinguished Service Award” for his efforts on behalf of the C&O Canal Series. Congratulations!
Due to the success of the C&O Canal Series, the Maryland Volkssport Association has been able to donate $8000 to the C&O Canal Association to be used toward preserving the Monocacy Aqueduct.
New club member Jack Healey has offered to create a Pacers’ web page.
Steve Duex has been in contact with the Mayor of Oakland (MD) who would like to have a walk in his community. Steve worked out a 10 km trail and the Pacers have agreed to sponsor the event in 2000 as a seasonal event from July 1-November 30. It will begin at the “Oakland Park & Shop” lot and registration will be at the post office.
The Holiday dinner was held at the home of Chuck and Joanne Merkel where everyone enjoyed good fellowship and a delicious meal. The club voted to donate $250each to Neighbors In Need and Carroll County Food Sunday.
The 2000 schedule of Pacers events include:
March 25 in Middletown, MD - Trailmaster: Paul Fogle - 366 walkers.
YRE’s in Frederick (walk), Thurmont (walk) and Westminster (walk and bike).
Seasonal walk in Oakland (MD) between 1 July - 30 November.
Club History from 1987-2000 furnished by Steve Deux.
Summary of Year Round & Seasonal Walks for 2000:
Frederick - 375 walkers
Oakland (seasonal) - 193 walkers
Thurmont and Westminster (totals unavailable)
A walk was held at Strawberry Hill October 17th and 18th.
Officers were re-elected by acclamation in May.
The club held their annual December holiday party at Harry's Restaurant. The club donated $200 each to Strawberry Hill, Carroll County Hospital for the Tree of Lights, Piney Run, Bear Branch, Junction, and Neighbors in need. The club also donated $100 to the Ted Bauman Fund.
In March the club held a walk in Thurmont, which started at the Senior Center. The walk had 303 walkers. The club donated $100 to the Senior Center.
Chuck and Joanne Merkel represented the club at the National Convention, and the club voted to give them $250 toward registration and expenses.
Jack Healey was recognized at the AVA National Convention for creating an outstanding club web site.
On August 18th the club held a one-day walk in Hagerstown in conjunction with Augustoberfest. 245 walkers participated.
The club had a group walk and picnic at Fort Detrick on May 28th. (The walk scheduled for September 29th at Fort Detrick was cancelled due to heightened security following the 9/11 tragedy.)
The club sponsored a walk at Piney Run November 17th and 18th, which drew 404 walkers.
Jean Buchman was recognized by the club for having completed walks in all fifty (50)states.
The club supported Laura Czarnowski with a $25 donation when she participated in a marathon in Alaska to benefit leukemia research.
Club Officers for the coming year will be:
Jean Gibbs - President
Ed Tecco - Treasurer
Linwood Van Horn - Secretary
The club held its annual December holiday party at Harry's Restaurant in Westminster again this year.
Summary of Year Round & Seasonal Walks:
Westminster-243 walkers/10 bikers
Oakland (seasonal)-38 walkers
The club held a group walk at Thurmont on Mar 23rd. Nineteen walkers took part, and fourteen went to the Mountain Gate Restaurant afterwards for lunch.
An evening walk was held at Freedom Elementary School May 29th; sixty-four walkers took part.
An evening walk on June 26th at Sykesville Middle was sponsored by the Pacers with 36 walkers participating.
On August 24th the club held a one-day walk in Hagerstown in conjunction with the Augustoberfest. There were a total of 145 walkers.
On September 14th & 15th the club held a weekend walk at Morgan Run. We had 192 walkers. (Nine club walkers took part in the worker's walk on the 8th.)
The club donated $250 to Piney Run and $100 to Joe Wolfe's church in memory of Joe's wife Maxine. The club also sponsored Michelle Mangan and Jean Gibbs as they walked in the Relay For Life. Fifty dollars was pledged to each.
Jack Healey set up a club group e-mail page on the Yahoo server; this site allows club members to post messages and stay abreast of club activities.
The club was unsuccessful in its attempt to set up a year round walk in Mannitowoc.
Steve Deux donated his collection of volksmarching awards to the club to be given out at club functions.
Beginning January 1st the fee for walks will increase from two dollars to three to help the AVA raise money.
The club's annual holiday party was again held at Harry's Restaurant, this year on December 9th. Nineteen people attended.
Summary of Year Round & Seasonal Walks:
A club group walk was held in Frederick on January 19th. In June, Jerry Baugher and Joe Wolfe attended the National Convention. Joe was the club representative, and the club donated $250 for registration and expenses.
The club held its club picnic on August 2nd at the Merkels’ home. The club donated $250 to Morgan Run and $250 to Robert Moton Elementary School.
Chuck and Joanne Merkel and Carl and Cynthia Frock were made life-time honorary members of the club for their many contributions to the club and to volksmarching.
Jean Gibbs, Ed Tecco, and Linwood Van Horn will continue as officers as President, Treasurer, and Secretary, respectively. John Baumgardner will take over the Westminster Year Round in 2004 as Carl Frock steps down. Chuck Merkel will continue with Frederick, and Joe Wolfe will continue as the POC for Thurmont.
On August 16th , the club had 179 walkers participate in a walk in Hagerstown in conjunction with the Augustoberfest.
On October 4th, the club hosted a walk in Sykesville which drew 105 walkers on a rainy day that saw the festivities in downtown Sykesville cancelled.
A group of about 20 people did the Westminster walk for next year’s convention on a cold, blustery November 1st.
Once again, the club held its Christmas Party at Harry’s Restaurant on December 8th.
Year Round Walks
Frederick - 223 walkers
Thurmont - 133 walkers
Westminster - 156 walkers
The club did a group walk in February starting at the DuBurns Arena in Baltimore. On March 28th the club held a walk in Westminster that brought out 341 walkers. In March the club donated $1,000 to charity. Contributions of $250 each were given to the Baltimore Zoo, Morgan Run, Bear Branch Nature Center, and Piney Run Park. In April the club did a group walk in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Four people took part. On June 26th, club members took part in a group walk in Thurmont on June 26th. The club presented a plaque to the Busy Bee Bakery for hosting the start point. Walkers then enjoyed a lunch at the Mountain Gate Inn. In July the club held another group walk in Frederick, and a plaque was presented to the Visitor Center for its support of the Frederick Year Round Walk. During the Hagerstown Augustoberfest the club again put on a walk through the city. On a hot day, 223 walkers participated; 164 were paid and the rest free. In October, the club sponsored a walk in Mount Airy. Ed Tecco was the trail master. The walk drew 182 walkers over the weekend.
Officers elected for 2005 include Jerry Baugher, President, Joanne Merkel, Vice President, Ed Tecco, Treasurer, and Linwood Van Horn, Secretary. Jean Gibbs is to publish the club newsletter on a bi-monthly basis. Jack Healey is to continue with the club web-site. Joe Wolfe, POC for Thurmont, moved to West Virginia, and Chuck Merkel took over as POC. The club decided to begin a Year Round Walk in Sykesville, using the trail from an earlier walk in the town. Linwood Van Horn volunteered to be the POC.
Year Round Walks
Frederick - 264 walkers
Thurmont - 136 walkers
Westminster - 216 walkers
In January Chuck and Joanne ordered shirts and name-tags for the club. The club held an inaugural walk in Sykesville, and 19 people walked the trail. The club decided to provide Start Point books for officers and Year Round Point of Contacts. The club also made a decision to provide stamped envelopes at the Sykesville and Westminster walks. Jean Gibbs was elected as the secretary of the MVA. In February club pins were ordered, and Jerry Baugher and Joanne Merkel were selected to represent the Pacers at MVA meetings. In March the club selected Jerry Baugher as the club delegate to the convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. In April John Baumgardner gave the club an informative health talk on cholesterol.
On May 14th and 15th, the club held a walk at Union Mills using a trail set up by Chuck Merkel. For the weekend 285 walkers took part with 230 getting credit. The club returned to Sykesville in July to walk and to have the club picnic at Millard Cooper Park. In August the walk in Hagerstown for the Augustoberfest drew 168 people with 136 receiving credit. Chuck Merkel served as trail master. In September the club put on a walk at Strawberry Hill, Pennsylvania with Chuck Merkel laying out the trail. For the two days 123 walkers took part; 100 got credit. The trail will be used for a seasonal walk in 2006. David and Linda Peters will be POC’s. The walk will run from May 1st until November 15th.
In May the club lost member Carl Frock, III to pancreatic cancer and in October, the club suffered another loss as Jean Gibbs, former club president and author of the club newsletter, perished in a tragic hotel fire In Vancouver, British Columbia, on her way home from a walking trip in China. In November the club made a donation to the Carroll Hospital Center Tree of Lights to honor the memory of Carl Frock, III and Jean Gibbs.
In the election for club officers for 2006 all the 2005 officers agreed to serve another year in office. Jerry Baugher is President, Joanne Merkel is Vice President, Ed Tecco is Treasurer, and Linwood Van Horn is Treasurer. John Baumgardner will continue as POC for Westminster, Chuck Merkel will take care of Frederick and Thurmont, and Linwood Van Horn will handle Sykesville.
In December the club went to Harry’s Restaurant for its annual Christmas Party. In a brief meeting at the end of the evening Jerry presented awards to several club members. Ed Tecco received a Meritorious Service Award for his eleven years as an officer of the club, three years as President, three as Vice President, and five as Treasurer. Jean Gibbs, posthumously, Carl Frock, Jr. and Linwood Van Horn received Certificate of Service Awards.
Year Round Walks ended with over 700 walkers for 2005:
Frederick - 271 walkers
Thurmont - 133 walkers
Westminster - 166 walkers
Sykesville - 165 walkers
A new seasonal walk was added at Strawberry Hill in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. The MVA donated $100 toward a memorial bench to be placed at Strawberry Hill in memory of Jean Gibbs. The club also received a $50 donation from Pat and Vern Williams in honor of Jean Gibbs. In October the memorial bench for Jean Gibbs was delivered to Strawberry Hill.
In February Jerry shared a news article from the Westminster Eagle on volksmarching and the Pacers. Future walks were planned. In March the club sponsored a walk in Hagerstown as part of the Atlantic Region Conference in Hagerstown. The Hagerstown walk had 152 participants. On March 18th Joanne Merkel received an Atlantic Region Director’s Award at the Conference in Hagerstown. A kick-off walk was held on April 30th for Fairfield with eight walkers. Eight people did the Cherry Blossom walk in Bethesda the first weekend of the month. In May the club held a weekend walk at Bear Branch Nature Center with 166 walkers. In August, the club hosted a walk at Williamsport during the Four States Weekend. The walk drew 130 walkers. On August 26th the club held its annual Augustoberfest walk in Hagerstown with a 155 participants. On September 23-24, the club held a two-day Memorial Walk in Columbia in conjunction with the Columbia and the Baltimore clubs. Joanne created a brochure, which tells about the three honorees for the walks. All current officers were reelected for another term. Ocie Sigley was asked to help with coordinating group walks. Some 300 individuals participated in the weekend walks.
In November the club donated $50 to the Tree of Lights in honor of Carl Frock, III and Jean Gibbs. The club held its holiday party at Paradiso Restaurant on December 11th.
2006 the Year Round Walks had over 700 walkers.
Frederick - 205 walkers
Thurmont - 138 walkers
Westminster - 158 walkers
Sykesville - 128 walkers
Fairfield SYRE - 75 walkers
In April of 2007 the club held a walk at Strawberry Hill in Fairfield, Pennsylvania on April 28th. During the walk a bench was dedicated to honor former club president Jean Gibbs. The walk had 93 walkers with 54 from Pennsylvania and 35 from Maryland. The club sponsored a Four States Weekend Walk in May on the 27th at Greenbriar State Park with 164 walkers. On June 16, the club put on a walk in Westminster with 93 walkers participating. In late August the club had its annual Augustoberfest Walk in Hagerstown with 151 walkers participating. The club’s final walk of the year was at Linganore Winecellars on November 10th and 11th. Over the two days 217 walkers enjoyed the trail and over 20 new walker packets were sold at the event.
In September the club held a picnic at Millard Cooper Park in Sykesville before its first meeting of the fall. Officers were elected with Jerry Baugher continuing as president, Joanne Merkel as vice president, Linwood Van Horn as secretary. Carl Frock, Jr. was selected to replace Ed Tecco as treasurer who had stepped down. The club sponsored six Year Round Walks.
2007 the Year Round Walks had almost 700 walkers.
Frederick - 198 walkers
Thurmont - 127 walkers
Westminster - 107 walkers
Sykesville - 69 walkers
Fairfield (SYRE) - 41 walkers
Damascus - 79 walkers
The Piedmont Pacers Volkssport club celebrated its 20th anniversary year with an ambitious schedule of seven weekend walks and seven year round walks. The first walk to commemorate the club’s founding was held at Union Mills, the site of the club’s very first walk, on May 18th. On a very rainy day 72 walkers braved the weather to take part in the event. The second walk on May 25th in Cumberland was part of the Four States Weekend. The Pacers walk drew the most walkers for the four state walking events with a total of 99 participants. The third walk was the Pacers annual Hagerstown walk held in conjunction with Augustoberfest. On another warm day, 137 walkers participated. The fourth walk took place in Frederick on September 27th during the city’s Octoberfest. Seventy-two walkers came for what was a somewhat rainy day. A week later the club sponsored a fifth walk in Westminster on October 4th. This walk had 114 participating walkers. At the end of the month on October 26th, a sixth walk was held at Morgan Run featuring a natural trail which attracted 79 walkers. One week later on Sunday, November 1, the Pacers hosted their seventh and final walk at Piney Run Park with 160 walkers participating.
The club ended the year in December with its holiday party. Officers for 2008 were re-elected to serve in 2009. They are President Jerry Baugher, Vice-President Joanne Merkel, Treasurer Carl Frock, Jr., and Secretary Linwood Van Horn. Chuck Merkel continues to serve as Trail Master. Jack Healey, who created the club web-site, will continue to keep it up-to-date. In August the club lost member Mary Ruth Lippy, an active member and former officer of our club.
The numbers for the club’s year round walks were down from previous years with the high gas prices this year, but the club will continue all the year round walks in 2009.
Year Round Walks
Frederick - 107 walkers
Thurmont - 109 walkers
Westminster - 91 walkers
Sykesville - 48 walkers
Fairfield SYRE - 35 walkers
Damascus - 77 walkers
Mount Airy - 96 walkers
For 2009 the Pacers got off to a slow start with the first club meeting not until March. The club held a group walk at Strawberry Hill on the 1st, and eight people attended. For 2009 the Pacers sponsored four regular walks along with the year rounds and seasonal walk. The Damascus Walk was in April with 158 walkers. The second walk was Hagerstown in August, which drew 163 walkers. A third walk at Rachel Carson in Sunshine had 104 walkers and commemorated the club’s 100th walk. The club also held a two day walk in Frederick. That walk drew 155 walkers.
In September the club had its meeting and a picnic at Millard Cooper Park in Sykesville. In December the club held it holiday party at Bud’s in Silver Run.
Club members Garrett and Lauri Kowaluk and Ocie Sigley received certificates of service. Jerry Baugher, club president, received a certificate for 15 years of service, and Chuck Merkel was awarded for 20 years of meritorious service. Club officers for 2009 were Jerry Baugher, President; Carl Frock, Jr., Treasurer; and Linwood Van Horn, Secretary.
At the end of the year, the club donated $250 to Ghanian Mothers of Hope, $250 to Dove House in memory of Mary Ruth Lippy, and $250 to Strawberry Hill for new signage.
For the year round walks there was a total of 479 walkers, as follows:
WALK - WALKERS/POC:
Damascus - 64 walkers /Jerry Baugher
Fairfield (seasonal) - 39 walkers /Dave & Linda Peters
Frederick - 131 walkers /Chuck Merkel
Mount Airy - 87 walkers /Jerry Baugher
Thurmont - 109 walkers /Chuck Merkel
Sykesville - 64 walkers /Linwood Van Horn
Westminster - 85 walkers /Ocie Sigley
In 2010 the Pacers officers remained in place with Jerry Baugher as the president, Judy Myers as vice president, Carl Frock as treasurer, and Linwood Van Horn as secretary. Chuck Merkel was the trail master. For the year the club sponsored walks in Sykesville, Frederick, Hagerstown, and Manchester. The walk in Sykesville on November 13th had two trails of five and six kilometers. The walk drew 160 walkers with 131 for credit. The Hagerstown walk in August drew 133 walkers. The two day walk in Frederick October 2nd and 3rd had 153 walkers with 124 for credit. The walk in Manchester on May 1st had 140 walkers with 116 for credit. The walk was to honor the memory of Mary Ruth Lippy, who had lived in Manchester. The club held its annual holiday party at the home of Joanne and Chuck Merkel.
The club continued its year round walks with the following results:
WALK - WALKERS/POC:
Fairfield - 30 walkers /Dave & Linda Peters
Mount Airy 1 & 2 - 116 walkers /Jerry Baugher
Damascus 1 & 2 - 75 walkers /Jerry Baugher
Thurmont - 84 walkers /Chuck Merkel
Sykesville - 44 walkers /Linwood Van Horn
Frederick - 138 walkers /Chuck Merkel
Westminster - 75 walkers /Ocie Sigley
In 2011 the Pacers planned four weekend walks and continued with the same year round walks from the previous year. The officers for the club were Jerry Baugher, president; Judy Myers, vice president; Carl Frock, Jr., treasurer, and Linwood Van Horn, secretary. The club’s first walk of the year was in Westminster and was held in conjunction with the Ascension Episcopal Church’s monthly breakfast. The walk drew 116 walkers with 85 being for credit. The next walk was the annual walk in Hagerstown for its Augustoberfest. Sixty-six people walked for credit and another twenty-six were free walkers. The third walk was a two day event in Frederick and 107 walkers came over the weekend with 93 of them getting credit. The fourth walk was at Linganore Wine Cellars on a cold, snowy Saturday. Because of the inclement weather only about fifteen walkers braved the elements to do the trails and only one did more than five kilometers.
The year round walks continue to decline in numbers, but the club plans to continue all of them in 2012. Results of the year round walks are as follows:
WALK - WALKERS/POC:
Damascus 1 - 53 walkers /Jerry Baugher
Damascus 2 - 16 walkers /Jerry Baugher
Mount Airy 1 - 39 walkers /Jerry Baugher
Mount Airy 2 - 33 walkers /Jerry Baugher
Sykesville - 28 walkers /Linwood Van Horn
Frederick - 125 walkers /Chuck Merkel
Thurmont - 63 walkers /Chuck Merkel
Westminster - 72 walkers /Ocie Sigley
Strawberry Hill - XX walkers /Dave and Linda Peters
The club plans to have another Westminster breakfast walk in April of 2012, the Hagerstown walk, and the Frederick walk.
The Piedmont Pacers Volksmarching Club is comprised of ordinary people who have demonstrated the ability to work hard and have fun. As always, we welcome innovative ideas to improve any aspect of our club and it's events. As a small and friendly volksmarch club, we are very anxious to introduce others to the merits of volkssporting. Additional information about our club, and volksmarching in general, may be obtained by contacting Chuck Merkel at (410) 795-7855 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments welcome. Email: Webmaster .
© Copyright 2000-2013 Piedmont Pacers Volksmarch Club.
Return to Pacers Homepage