The Soc and Sam Sandy Run set for Oct. 5

By Portia Williams

September 28, 2013

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

GREENUP, Ky. — The Soc and Sam Sandy Run, a five-mile canoe race down the Little Sandy River, is set to kick off Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013.

Tom Clay, the son of Soc Clay, serves as President of Kentucky Outdoor Press Association, organizer of the Soc and Sam Sandy Run, said the event is being held in honor of two outdoor journalism pioneers, Soc Clay, and Sam Piatt for their combined 100 years of outdoor journalism.

“We want to celebrate these two men who have for so long been writing about the enjoyment of the outdoors, as well as fighting for clean water and air,” Tom Clay said.

Tom Clay also hope to inspire people experience the outdoors.

“We want young people to come out and see what enjoyment they can have in the outdoors and get away from those computers for a while,” Tom Clay said.

Sam Piatt said he and Soc Clay began their writing careers more than 50 years ago.

“Soc and I both started writing in the mid- to late-1960s. After the steel mill in New Boston, where he had worked for 25 years, shut down in 1980, he began writing for a number of regional outdoor magazines and became a full-time freelance writer, eventually selling stories and photos to some of the top outdoor magazines in the nation,” Piatt said.

According to Piatt, he worked as a full-time reporter with The Portsmouth Times from 1970-73, for the Ashland Daily Independent from 1975 to 1998, and for the Portsmouth Daily Times again from 2002 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2011.

“I, meanwhile, not wanting to give up a steady paycheck, continued writing for newspapers, with just an occasional sale to magazines,” Piatt said.

Piatt still writes a weekly outdoor column for both papers.

Soc Clay said he and Piatt have been devoted to bodies of water in Ohio and Kentucky.

“Sam and I together have devoted 100 years of journalism to promote the running water in our area on both sides of the river. I started out with The Times back in the 60s, and wrote about the rivers, we didn’t have many lakes. I was always a proponent of utilizing the Scioto, and little Scioto, Ohio Brush Creek, and the whole nine yards. I guess I was essentially a stream person,” Clay said.

The run will start at 9 a.m. at the Raccoon boat ramp just south of the Raccoon Bridge carrying Ky. 2 over Little Sandy River.

According to Tom Clay, there will be a lead boat and a pontoon boat following in case someone decides not to go the whole way.

The run will end at the Sandy boat ramp at Greenup, where the Greenup Old Fashion Days festival will be under way.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Raccoon ramp. Participants must furnish their own canoe and paddles and each must wear a life jacket throughout the run.

According to Tom Clay, persons with kayaks will be welcome to make the trip but only two-person canoe teams will be competing for prizes.

Soc Clay and Sam Piatt will be present at Raccoon to start the race and later at the Greenup ramp to award prizes.

Entry fee is $20 per two-man team with prizes going to the top three finishers. Proceeds will go to help various military veterans’ organizations locally.

There is no age limit and no age divisions.

Soc Clay said he hopes the run will generate more interest in the use of the rivers.

“We are hopeful that if we get a little attention on these streams as far as the recreational value is concerned, that somebody younger than us will grab a hold of the idea and make both sides of the river targets for recreational canoeing and other water sports,” Soc Clay said.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.