Circuit Rider Weekend 2023

By George Hohmann

206 Scouts, adult leaders attend Circuit Rider camporee; Methodist Men attend golf outing and annual gathering

Two hundred six Scouts and adult leaders participated in Circuit Rider 33, a camporee filled with activities Sept. 8-10 at West Virginia University’s Jackson’s Mill, near Weston.

The weekend began Friday with the Arnold Eddy Memorial Golf Outing at Tygart Lake Public Golf Course, near Grafton. The event, sponsored by the West Virginia United Methodist Men, raises funds for scouting ministries, including the camporee.

A foursome comprised of Steve Mahaffey, Ron Easton, Gary Harvey and Mike Goldsberry won the golf outing with a blistering 12 under par. A foursome comprised of Rev. George Webb, Don Maxson,Ray McCoy and Steve Nailor scored seven under par to place second.

Gary Harvey won the longest drive competition, while Ray McCoy putted closest to the pin and Morgan Boyles made the longest putt.

A total of 28 golfers participated in this year’s event.

On Friday evening, activity shifted to Jackson’s Mill, where Scout troops began to check in for the Circuit Rider and United Methodist Men from around the state began arriving for their Annual Gathering. The Circuit Rider is sponsored by the Methodist Men.

Mark Dehority of Moweaqua, Ill., who is president of the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Men, led a series of classes about prayer with the men on Friday evening and Saturday.

Steve Nailor, president of the United Methodist Men Foundation, explained how the foundation supports United Methodist Men and scouting ministries.

Scouts camped on the mill’s big green lawn and participated in a variety of activities on Saturday that ranged from throwing a tomahawk to scaling a climbing wall to learning how to fly remote-controlled airplanes. About a dozen Scouts and adult leaders attended Bible classes that were taught by Rev. George Webb, pastor of the Humphreys United Methodist Church in Sissonville.

Classes on fire suppression and tree identification were offered throughout the day by Mitchell Gruver of Buckhannon, a forester with the West Virginia Division of Forestry. Classes on drug awareness and an explanation of the equipment carried on the sheriff’s cruiser were offered by Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard and Chief Deputy John Schultz.

Late in the day, Scouts from four troops participated in a Dutch oven cook-off that featured dessert recipes. A pumpkin surprise cooked by Troop 40 from Bridgeport took first place, earning the troop a new Dutch oven.

Sandra Steiner Ball, the resident and presiding bishop of the West Virginia United Methodist Annual Conference, participated in the golf outing and in many of the weekend’s other activities.

Everyone who attended the events received a patch honoring the bishop that was designed by Steve Herron.

Steven Scheid, director of the Center for Scouting Ministries at the General Commission on United Methodist Men in Nashville, also was with the scouts during the weekend.

During their annual business meeting early Saturday evening, the men approved the transfer of almost $49,000 from the West Virginia United Methodist Men’s Layman’s Foundation. With the transfer, a $50,000 endowment for the All Faith Chapel at Jackson’s Mill is fully funded. In future years the earnings from the fund can be used to help with the upkeep of the chapel.

The Scouts and men joined together Saturday evening for a dinner at the Mt. Vernon Dining Hall provided by the Methodist men, followed by a concert by the New Diesel Trio. The trio is composed of Pam Kennedy of Taylor County and Jarrod DeVault and Greg Mason of Fairmont. During an intermission, each of the three Girl Scout troops who attended Circuit Rider were awarded a free tent by the Methodist men.

Bishop Steiner Ball led a Sunday morning worship service. Pastor Gregory Godwin was service worship leader and communion celebrant. Godwin is a retired elder in the United Methodist Church and the resident chaplain at the Scout’s Summit Bechtel Reserve near Glen Jean.

Scouts served as chaplain aides and received special patches designed by Steve Herron. The offering collected during the service — $577 — will help fund scholarships for Scouts who want to attend future Jamborees. Circuit Rider photos taken by Bill Eades of Beckley are posted online at UMMCIRCUIT RIDER 33 9/9/23 & 9/10/23 | Flickr. Photos taken by Pastor Kerry Bart of the Epworth United Methodist Church, Ripley, are posted online at Eades and Bart are members of the West Virginia United Methodist Annual Conference’s Communications Team.