In 1975, four friends with hearts full of the great outdoors decided they needed a place to get gear indoors. This quest for adventuring equipment lead Bubba Sloan, Gerald Marshall, Denny Mays, and Ned Buxton to found High Country Outfitters as a gear shop for all manner of activities performed under the sun. These days, Bubba runs the retail side of things in Buckhead, while Gerald continues to captain daring cruises down the Ocoee River's relentless rapids. The store kits out customers for safe communing with nature with tools and togs from manufacturers including The North Face, Patagonia, and Big Green Egg, whose verdantly painted smoker grill creates hot meals in the midst of a long trip or particularly boring wait in the airport. Meanwhile, guides lead expeditionary parties along on waterborne trips down the Middle and Upper Ocoee’s burbling banks, recapturing the sun-dappled fun that inspired the store's creation in the first place.
At Benton Sporting Clays, marksmen take aim at airborne clay pigeons from 14 fully automated shooting stations and a tournament-grade clays tower. A fully covered five-stand shooting station protects shooters from wind, rain, and real pigeons avenging their clay cousins. Between sessions, shooters traverse the expansive grounds to try different stations in one of the facility's comfortable carts. Members enjoy benefits such as year-round shooting, waived cart-rental fees, and discounted clay pigeons at the range’s fully stocked pro shop.
The multiple YMCA locations in metropolitan Chattanooga serve more than 37,000 members a year and fulfill the mission of uniting guests regardless of gender, age, faith, background, abilities, or income. Founded in London in 1844, the YMCA spread to its Chattanooga home in 1871 and continues to operate with help from local community volunteers as stalwart as I Love Lucy syndicators. Each location caters to the needs of children, teens, seniors, and families with afterschool programs and fitness-based activities. Cardio machines pump hearts, racquetball courts host fun competitions, and pools allow goggles to fulfill their original purpose: snapping the face with their elastic band to make a diver jump off the blocks faster. A sauna and steam room heat clients up after they cool down in the pools, and parents can drop their young children off at the nursery before participating in group fitness classes.
The exhibits within Museum Center at 5ive Points tell the rich story of the Ocoee Region of Tennessee. The main focal point is The River of Time: a permanent installation that traces the history of Bradley County, incorporating everything from military photographs to Native American artifacts. Five to six other exhibits rotate in and out regularly, while the museum store stands as an attraction in its own right. The shelves brim with various Appalachian arts and crafts, all made within a 150-mile radius of the museum. Self-guided school tours are available daily, making it easy for students to learn about their region's past without having to build a time machine in shop class.
After paddling his way into the U.S. Olympic Team–trial finals twice, Jeff West, founder of Ace Kayaking School, began sharing his love of the sport with readers of popular publications and more than 5,000 eager students. Striving for a maximum 3:1 instructor to student ratio in all of his courses, Jeff and his team teach key skills to beginners and experienced rollers alike while gliding down the Ocoee River's famous Table Saw rapids. In addition to whitewater kayaking, Ace teaches stand-up paddleboarding and the advanced waterfall navigating techniques of creek boating and freefalling in a barrel.
On June 22, hundreds of runners will convene in Benton to tackle towering stacks of hay, muddy trenches draped in barbed wire, and other grimy obstacles along a 5K race known as The Conquest. Heats take off in the morning and continue throughout the day along a course that gets muddier and more challenging with each group of runners. After the final heat, participants can attend an after party to recount the day’s fun amid live tunes from Calling Glory.