Paddle at the Rock Benefit Raises Funds for the Bell Center in Birmingham


SMITH LAKE – On a hot summer day, there is no better place to be than Smith Lake, and on Saturday, there was a great event held to embody that notion called Paddle at the Rock. The water, people and events all added up to one successful day of fun and fundraising.


The Paddle at the Rock event took place at Silverock Cove at Smith Lake and held three different paddle boarding race events. The competition consisted of 1-mile, 3-mile and 6-mile races that were held so that every skill level could participate. Paddle boarding is where the racer stands on what resembles a surfboard and propels themselves forward with their paddle.


The races were put together by Tommy and Susan Cost who own Smith Lake Paddle Boards. Tommy Cost talked about what the main purpose of the event was and whom it benefitted.


“My wife, daughter and I love paddle boarding,” Cost said. “We decided to open our business up three years ago. This is the second year we have held this race, and the main reason is to benefit the Bell Center in Birmingham, but also just to get folks interested in paddle boarding.”


The Bell Center in Birmingham, Ala. is an early intervention center that helps children from birth to three years of age who have or are at risk for developmental disabilities. Mary Ashley Canevaro, marketing projects coordinator for the Bell Center, was happy to talk about what the Bell Center is and their role with the kids.


“We are an early intervention program that serves kids with developmental delays,” she said. “We serve everything from down syndrome to cerebral palsy, spina-bifida and those who have yet to be diagnosed. Each child works with a team of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology and special education teachers.”


The Bell Center offers these services to the children based on their needs. Children can come one, two or four days a week to receive therapy.


“We have people that commute to us once or twice a week because the program is so unique,” Canevaro said.


There were approximately 50 or more racers that participated in the races. One racer was Fox 6 sports reporter, Britton Lynn, who was excited to participate in the event. She raced in the event’s 1-mile race with her dog riding shotgun.


“This was so much harder than I remember,” Lynn said. “I have paddle boarded before, but have never raced. It was a crazy competition, everyone was so fast, but it was fun. I think it was especially tough for me, because I had my dog with me so it was 50 extra pounds.”


Lynn was happy to come to Cullman and to support a great cause and participate in a favorite activity of hers.


“What a great idea this was,” Lynn said with a smile. “To go race and paddle board on a beautiful lake like this and get the community together.”


Indeed, it was a great day for everyone involved. Last year $1,200 was raised with around 30 participants and more is expected this year after almost doubling the number of racers.


If you would like more information about the Bell Center, you can find them online at If you would like to learn more about paddle boarding and rentals, please go online to