This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was happening in eastern Wake County. Athletic and political sport grabbed headlines this week.
Ten years ago, a 16-year-old from Archer Lodge claimed first in a national dance championship. Results from county and General Assembly primaries came in for the 1990 election. Fifty years ago, one Zebulon man tried to stay afloat with his horseshoeing business.
Ten years ago, one eastern Wake teenager won a national championship for cheerleading and dance.
Shelly Underhill of Archer Lodge took no break from her spring during spring break.
Instead, the 16-year-old used the off time traveling to Orlando, Fla., and winning the senior dance individual trophy amid the 2005 U.S. Spirit Opening Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship. In exacting some revenge, she beat the same Scotland native who denied her the 2004 title.
“I knew that she would be stiff competition, but I was determined to get out there and do some serious dancing,” said Underhill, who selects her own country blend music, and choreographs her routine with kicks, leaps and turns, jumps and a “lot of shake your booty.”
Premier Shockers Gym coach Stacey Rowe helps her put all the performance aspects together.
Underhill also overachieved as part of her 16-member jazz team. It claimed first place, while her pompom squad earned second.
The Clayton High junior’s career started with the tutelage of Wendell’s Ginger Lee. She continues training and improving by hitting the floor four days a week. “You have to work hard to win,” Underhill said.
Not that effort was the problem a year ago. Moving in a brace hindered that try.
“But that wasn’t a reason to lose,” she said. “I had to have ACL knee surgery afterwards, but I didn’t let it stop me.”
According to her aunt, Debbie Turner, “the words ‘I can’t’, aren’t in her vocabulary. You should see her dance. To give her best performance, she will give her heart and soul while dancing.”
Underhill calls it concentration. “When I dance, I don’t see anything,” she added. “All I hear is the music, and I just dance.”
Of course, the focus shifted on her from outside upon her arrival at Universal Studios for the big event. Her picture adorned the front of the program in American Cheerleader Magazine and was also used on the elite scene’s Web site.
“Some of the pictures were from a few years ago,” Underhill said, laughing. “But that was all right.”
Elevating her classroom escapades (sporting a 4.5 grade-point average) as high as her athletic pursuits, Underhill plans to attend either East Carolina or UNC-Greensboro double majoring in early childhood education and -- surprise, surprise -- dance.
“I would like to be able to have the first dance studio in the Archer Lodge community, but I’m a realist,” the second- through sixth-grade instructor at Premiere said. “I must have a job first to pay the bills, but it would be nice.”
Primary election results were in for county and state elections this time 25 years ago, with few taking nominations by a landslide.
Carrying his hometown as well as the opposition’s turf, Hal Perry of Zebulon grabbed the Democratic nomination for the Wake County Board of Commissioners District 1 race in Tuesday’s primary.
Perry raked in 13,950 votes, topping the 10,726 total of Knightdale’s Kate Hearn. Perry will face Republican incumbent Merrie Hedrick of Wake Forest in November for the District 1 seat, representing Zebulon, Wendell, Knightdale and Rolesville.
... “I want to thank the home-people for supporting me as strongly as they did,” said Perry. “I’ll continue to strongly support the Mudcats and work for the Little River Reservoir in addition to the basic issues such as schools, particularly technical schools.”
... Phil Shehdan nudged past William Draper 643 to 513 in the GOP primary for State House, District 65. Shehdan, a Raleigh businessman, will meet Democratic incumbent Aaron Fussell in the general election for representation of eastern Wake, including Zebulon and Wendell.
... Incumbent James Speed of Louisburg narrowly took the Democratic primary for Senate in District 11, which includes Zebulon, Wendell and Knightdale. Speed picked up 9,741 votes to defeat challenger Dr. Raymond Stone of Kittrell with 8,693. Stone pulled out a 283-282 win in Little River No. 2 as Speed took the other three local precincts 541-296.
Nowadays, horses are rarely kept for farm work. Fifty years ago, the transition from horses to machinery was beginning, and that affected at least one Zebulon resident’s livelihood.
Shoeing mules and horses in this area is fast becoming a thing of the past.
“Machinery has just about done away with mules and horses,” said Theophilus Overture Stokes, who is known far and wide as “Uncle Bud Stokes.”
This veteran horseshoer of 54 years said it has always been a pleasure to work with animals. Before farmers converted to machinery, he stayed as busy as he liked shoeing animals.
Horseshoeing, however, was a side occupation. After teaching school for 10 years he returned to farm life which he continued until a few years ago.
“I’ll be 82 years old this coming October,” Uncle Bud said, holding a horse’s hoof which he had just finished rasping on his knee.
...When he started out Uncle Bud said the cost of shoeing an animal was 25 (cents) a shoe. Today’s price is $8 a round, or $2 a shoe.
He said the life of a shoe is about four months. Farm animals’ shoes tend to last longer than the pleasure horse class. He accounts this to the fact that pleasure horses’ shoes get rougher treatment on pavements.
Stokes attended Shaw University for three years. After a stint at teaching school he left the profession.
“I could make more in a day horse shoeing than I could teaching school,” he laughed.