Special to SW Rankin News
While the official “Stay at Home” order was in place earlier this spring, Tammy Morgan, administrative assistant of Parks and Recreation for the City of Richland began searching the internet for an activity that residents of all ages could participate in once the City's walking trails re-opened. She stumbled upon an idea of events that used painted rocks. It was ideal because it allowed residents to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors while still being able to social distance. Morgan decided to tweak the activity slightly by turning the activity into a contest, and thus “Rocking Richland” was born.
While they expected there to be an interest in this event, the Parks and Rec department for the City of Richland had no idea Morgan's brain child would be. Barbara Adams, Special Events Coordinator for the City, explains that “We were very pleased that the citizens had a great time and are looking forward to other such events.” In all, more than 100 citizens of all ages participated.
The inaugural event began on Friday, May fifteenth and ran through Friday June 5. The Parks & Rec department placed painted rock around all of the Walking Trails at Eastside, Westside Park and the Community Center. Participants were instructed to take a selfie with each of the rocks you find and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants were further instructed to include their contact info in the subject line. The final instruction was for those who located a painted rock to return it to its' original location to allow the next person to find.
Tammy Morgan, her grandson, Cooper Hammons, as well as other City Employees assisted in painting the lions-share of the decorated finds. However, An additional treat for the local treasure hunters was the placement of special rocks painted by Famous Mississippi Artist, Cliff Speaks. If found, contestants were instructed to keep as a special gift and keepsake with the caveat that a selfie be emailed to the Parks and Rec department to notify them of the find. Each week, the individual who located the most rocks was awarded $50 gift card and a mention on the City of Richland's Facebook page.
The first week winners were Christopher Reel and Grayson Cobb; second week winner was Oli Barefoot; third week winner was the Fortado Family. Winners of the Cliff Speaks Rocks challenge were: John Parker Chance, Grayson Cobb, Shirley Botkin and Shannon Williams and Austin.
Adams sums up the experience this way “the beauty of this event was its simplicity and thinking out of the box to engage our citizens with an outdoor event that was in a safe environment. [It] also brought families together having fun!
As a direct result of the event's popularity, plans are already being made for other “Rocking Events” that will include local Businesses of Richland.
For further information about this, or other upcoming events scheduled in the City of Richland, contact Barbara Adams at 601-420-3402.