CHICKASAW COUNTY – He rolled the Tanglefoot Trail from Algoma to Houston Thursday in about six hours, which is just under half the length of the 44-mile trail.
Robbie Pipkin, 44, of Houston, rolled his wheelchair from Algoma to Houston last week in preparation for a fundraiser that will see him go the entire length of the Tanglefoot Trail and raise money for LIFE (Living Independence For Everyone) of Tupelo.
“From Algoma to here is almost 20 miles exactly,” said Pipkin, who wheeled into Houston about 1 p.m. Thursday. “And I want to point out from the wooden bridges crossing the creek north of town to Houston, it is all uphill. That last part wasn’t easy.”
Pipkin started in Algoma at the crack of dawn and said the spring weather and trail were beautiful.
“I actually stopped a couple of times to just enjoy the scenery,” said Pipkin. “It was a beautiful day and a great day to be outside and enjoy life.”
He even took pictures and posted them on his Facebook page.
Pipkin said this wasn’t his first trek on the trail and he first completed the 10-miles from Houlka to Houston.
“As far as I know I am the first person in a wheelchair to do the 10-miles from Houlka to Houston and the 20-miles from Algoma,” said Pipkin. “I now want to be the first person to do the entire length of the trail in a wheelchair.”
Pipkin said he plans to approach local businesses and industry over the next couple of weeks seeking pledges for this trek. He said he wants to get the ride done before the heat of summer sets in.
“Maybe you want to give a dollar a mile or maybe you want to make a donation to see me do the entire 44-miles from New Albany to Houston,” said Pipkin. “Everything I raise will go to LIFE.”
LIFE of Mississippi is a non-profit center for independent living created through federal legislation 1992. LIFE has benefited the lives of over 35,000 Mississippians with disabilities since 1993 and has provided information to more than 170,000 people across the state.
The organization seeks to help people live with their disability by seeking to make more locations accessible to people with disabilities. LIFE also offers skills training for those with disabilities and counseling and peer support for those who find themselves disabled.
LIFE is a United Way of Northeast Mississippi agency. For more information about LIFE contact Emily Word at 662-844-6633.
Pipkin said he has always tried to stay in good shape and is training for this ride.
“I carried a gallon of water today and drank just about all of it,” said Pipkin. “I’m also pretty rough on my gloves and it’s pretty obvious I’ll need a new pair.”
Pipkin said he is also seeking permission to start in New Albany before sunrise and may be on the trail after sunset. The Tanglefoot Trail has regulations that prevent anyone from being on it after dark.
“I know this is not going to be easy, but being in a wheelchair is not easy,” said Pipkin. “I think I am up to it and I am just asking people to support me and others with disabilities.”
Anyone wanting to donate to Pipkin’s ride can contact him at 631-9287.