Absher to head OVTA

By Wendy Wood

January 18, 2014

ASHEVILLE — R.G. Absher of Elkin was elected as president of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association (OVTA) Jan. 11 at the Renaissance Hotel in in Asheville at the association’s Annual Meeting. Absher previously served as OVTA president from 1994 to 1998 and recently has served as the association’s vice president for the last four years, and president of the Wilkes-Surry Chapter.

The OVTA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which was formed in 1975 to carry out the annual reenactment march to the Battle of Kings Mountain which took place in the American Revolutionary War. The early years of the OVTA eventually led to broader public support which resulted in the inclusion of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail in 1980 which is administered by the National Park Service. Today, the OVTA reaches out to an average of 10,000 school students and members of the public during its annual reenactment march to Kings Mountain which takes place between late September and Oct. 7 of each year.

Elkin is the eastern trail head of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and also holds annual outreach programs through the field days held in the fall at Elkin Municipal Park. Elkin Park was the actually muster field of the Surry County Militia under Maj. Joseph Winston during the Kings Mountain campaign in 1780.

Absher said this was a benchmark year for the OVTA. “We hired our first ever Executive Director, Marc Bowen of Morganton. Marc is an outstanding fund raiser with a proven record in obtaining successful grants,” said Absher.

He said that the OVTA covers parts of four states of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. “The organization has grown rapidly the last couple of years. We have over 450 members and some of them are located at various sections around the country,” said Absher.

Absher also said that the Wilkes-Surry Chapter is one the most active chapters in the OVTA and has really done an excellent job in planning the annual school programs in Elkin City Park. “We’re the only National Trail friends group in the country to obtain National Park Foundation grant funding two or more years in a row. And our hard working Elkin based Wilkes-Surry Chapter is a major reason for that,” said Absher.

For more information on becoming involved in the OVTA, contact Absher at rg.absher@ovta.org or call 336-902-1760.