Worthington, Ohio---The Chapel Hill Lions Club has announced the cancellation of the Lions Super Pull of the South for 2020. The decision comes in response to the ongoing health and economic crises that have wracked the United States since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late winter.
The NTPA Super National event, originally planned for Friday and Saturday, July 24-25, will not be rescheduled in 2020. Per the Lions' and the Association's multiyear sanctioning agreement, dates for the 2021 edition are Friday and Saturday, July 23-24.
Chris Gilbert, the event's longtime chairman and announcer, reports that it's the first total cancellation in the Super Pull's history, which dates to 1976. "We've lost a session to rain here and there over the years," Gilbert noted, "but nothing like this has ever hit us before.
“Nothing has hit anyone like this before."
"We know how heartbreaking this news is for our great pulling fans in Tennessee and beyond," admitted Gregg Randall, NTPA General Manager. "We feel the disappointment in our own office and among the competitors. All of us look forward to the honor of presenting a pull for the Lions in front of their crowds."
Since its inception, the Lions Super Pull of the South has been conducted as a fundraiser for both community projects and wellness organizations. Proceeds from each year's pull benefit Middle Tennessee Eye Bank Services and the Monroe J. Carroll Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University.and help to fund many youth, senior citizen and community projects in Chapel Hill and surrounding Marshall County.
"At a certain point, the challenges involved in having a pull of both Chapel Hill's size and style become insurmountable in the current climate," Randall continued. "If you've been there, you know how extensively the event relies on the commitments of its local and regional sponsors and the dedicated volunteers that attend to every detail. Well, right now everyone in that sponsor book is hurting to one degree or another, and every one of those volunteers would be putting themselves at some risk, to say nothing of the competitors and spectators.
"Weighing their options, the Lions came to a tough realization that 2020 was unlikely to be the robust event they wanted," Randall surmised. "We understand their decision, and we can't wait to take part in the 2021 Super Pull."
Gilbert said that in the end, it came down to maintaining a standard. "For us, it's about giving all of our guests the entire Chapel Hill experience. Do we have the meals, the get-togethers? Do we have open pits, full stands? If we can't have that, we don't want to do it halfway.
"We'll regroup, and we'll see you all next year."