The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancelation of Franklin County’s premier event on the water, the Pigg River Ramble Weekend, which had been scheduled for May 15-17.

The decision to cancel the Pigg River Ramble and its complementary events The Blackwater Blackout and Breakfast on the Blackwater was made on Saturday, March 25, according to Marcia Cramblitt with the Franklin County Department of Parks and Recreation.

The three events are scheduled to return in 2021, officials with the recreation department said.

This marks the second time in three years that the Pigg River Ramble has been canceled — in 2018 inclement weather wiped out the one-day event.

Smoot Construction was the title sponsor for the three-event weekend.

The Pigg River Ramble was rechristened in 2002. It start from Waid Recreation Area and Sports Complex at Six-Mile Post and finishes at Lynch Park in Rocky Mount.

Zach Freedle won last year’s Pigg River Ramble. He also captured top honors in the event in 2015.

Freedle guided his canoe along an eight-mile course in 1:35.42, the second fastest winning time since the event was rechristened. Freedle’s winning time in 2015 was 2:08.50.

Besides Freedle, Matthew Mullins (2013, 2016), Steven Knowles (2011, 2012, 2014) and the two-man tandem of John Athowe and Rob Benevento (2006, 2009) have multiple championships to their credit.

Last year, 54. competitors, singles and tandems, recorded finishing times, 17 others did not finish and four others failed to start.

Also canceled because of the pandemic is the Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon, scheduled for Saturday, May 2 at Smith Mountain Lake State Park in Huddleston. The swimming, running and biking event is staged by Virginia Amateur Sports (VAS).

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