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Wilson’s Amazing Race shoots for ‘big and loud’ this year

WILSON – With a promise to make the event’s participatory stations “as big and loud as possible,” the First Baptist Church of Wilson is set to present its sixth “Amazing Race” at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The Rev. Stephen Hay, pastor of the church and one of the event’s organizers, said a record 26 teams have signed up this year, with each team made up of five participants. There is no junior race this year, so participants must be in sixth grade and up, he said.

The teams set out from the church at the corner of Pettit and Chestnut streets and wind their way through the village, stopping at 15 stations offering “high-energy challenges” before they can proceed, Hayes explained. He said the event is loosely based on the popular television show “Amazing Race.”

“We’ll have dunk tanks, paint ball guns – and crazy, wild stuff like inflatable obstacle courses,” he said.

Teams are encouraged to wear costumes and they usually don’t disappoint.

“We’ve had people dress as hot dogs, for example,” Hay said. “It’s just wild. It’s like Halloween in summer.”

Hay said that while registrations filled early, those interested in participating might still have a chance to fill in for teams that don’t show up the evening of the race.

The motivation for the race is simple, according to Hay.

“We love Jesus and we love our community and we want our community to love Jesus,” he said. “It’s just who we are. We want to make sure that we’re not just a church in a community but that we are a part of the community.

“These types of events give us a platform to meet people’s needs,” he added. “It has opened doors for us in the past. We want the people in our community to see that we like to have fun, too, and that we love and care for them.”

A free party is planned after the race with refreshments. Prizes are awarded for the finishers.

To what does Hay owe the event’s growing popularity?

“I credit our volunteers,” he said. “They do a great job each year. We have 84 volunteers this year and these guys are the superstars.”

Maid of the Mist and Lone Wolf Sportsfishing are two large sponsors this year, joined by several local businesses.

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