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A passion for the trails: Karson Shughart

by: Tonya Bockover

by Suemay Lewis

At age 11, Karson Shughart is a boy with a passion for off-road mountain biking.

Karson’s typical weekend is spent training Saturday and Sunday at such places as Brown’s Creek Trail in Elizabethtown, Brunswick Nature Park in Leland or Blue Clay Bike Park near Wilmington. When asked how he got into such an intense sport, Karson said, “I was inspired by my uncle about two years ago.”

Karson is a member of the Cape Fear Fins Composite Mountain Bike team. The team races at the parks mentioned above as well as Henderson Pond Trails at Camp Lejeune and at Carolina Forest Bike and Run Park (dubed “The Hulk”) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. “I’ve placed 9th out of about 30 for my personal best, so far,” says Karson.

The team is part of the North Carolina Interscholastic Cycling League for youth and the Costal Carolina Off Road Series for all ages.

“I am an active member of Cape Fear Southern Off Road Bicycle Association or SORBA,” said Karson proudly. And he should be proud, because Cape Fear SORBA works on projects maintaining existing trails and helping to build new trails. Cape Fear SORBA played a big part in the clean up of the Brown’s Creek Trail in Elizabethtown in October after Hurricane Matthew.

Ken and Karol Shughart, Karson’s parents, are pleased that Karson loves the sport of mountain biking. Ken hopes that cycling will some day help Karson with obtaining college scholarships. Karol says she loves the healthy lifestyle that cycling promotes but admits, “Some race days, when it is wet and slippery, I just pray, pray, pray.”

No matter where the trails lead Karson, he is living life to the fullest–taking one turn at a time.

by John Urban Photography
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