Jenna Stahlman is Editor-in-Chief of the Royal Scribe. She is studying mass communications at Johnson University. Although she was born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania, her heart is in Tennessee. She enjoys spending time with her horse, hiking, photography, writing, and fishing.
KNOXVILLE Ryan Miller, a Waterloo, Indiana cowboy, won the Professional Bull Riders Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event in Knoxville at the Thompson-Boling Arena, Saturday night.
Miller rode Fist City in the long round — the first event in which all 40 cowboys each ride a bull — earning the highest ride score of the night with 88 points. In the championship round – which consists of the top 10 riders from the long round – Miller received a score of 86 points, atop True Story. With 174 points total, Miller captured the win, taking home $7,300, 120 points towards the PBR world standings, and a guaranteed spot at the Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 16-18.
The Knoxville Invitational was Miller’s first Velocity Tour win in a few years.
“I won an event in Cleveland Ohio, probably three or four years ago, so it’s been kind of a dry spell at these events since then,” Miller said.
Miller said he was excited about the bulls he rode, as he had seen them buck before, and he knew they were going to be good for him.
“It felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” Miller said regarding his win.
Miller celebrated with fans afterward, signing autographs and taking photos.
Second place went to Reese Cates with 172 points, while Fernando Henrique Novais and Jesse Tillman tied for third, each with 170.5 points. Cody Casper took the fifth spot in the standings.
Bull and Rider face off at Knoxville Invitational.
Local cowboy, Cody Clint Brewer, of Cookeville, earned a score of 79 points in the long round, ranking him 16th out of the 40 bull riders who competed.
“Overall it was a good event — you couldn’t ask for a better crowd or everything,” Cody Ford, who placed 14th in the night’s event, said. “It’s always good to come to Knoxville.”
KNOXVILLE Seated behind a desk in the Bubble, an office located directly through the front doors of the Phillips-Welshimer Building, is a woman with longtime connections to Johnson University.
Betty Ann Sykes has been Johnson’s morning receptionist for four and a half years.
“I am the main receptionist,” she said. “I only work in the morning so I answer phones, answer questions, just be the person that people see when they first walk through the door.”
Sykes said she enjoys many things about Johnson, but she said her favorite aspect is the people.
“Oh my goodness! The people, students, I enjoy the people in the business office. I just love talking to people,” Sykes said.
While Sykes has been the receptionist for a short time, she has been a part of Johnson in one way or another for many years.
“I was born here,” she said. “My father [Floyd Clark] was a professor; at one time he was the academic dean and dean of students all together, then he was just the academic dean. So, then I just went to school here.”
She graduated from Johnson with a degree in music in 1969. She came back to Johnson in 2002 to receive her teaching degree and graduated in 2005.
She taught until her retirement and that’s when she decided she wanted a part-time job at Johnson.
Sykes said that although a lot of things have changed through the years she’s been at Johnson, many things are still the same.
“The campus looks different; a lot of different people, but the core values and all are still the same,” she said. “So I think that’s very important.”
When Sykes is not working she has many hobbies to keep her busy.
“I like to read, spend time with friends, I like to travel, and I like to be outside,” Sykes said. “I’m not really a gardener but I do have flowers in the summer and that’s kind of fun to do that.”
She said she has a love of travel that has taken her to many places, and she is looking for her next adventure.
“My son and his family live in North Carolina, on the coast of North Carolina, so I like to go there. I like to go to the mountains,” Sykes said. “I’ve been to Hawaii and I’ve been to Alaska, and I went to Austria so that was fun.”
Sykes enjoys reading in her spare time and like many people, she cannot choose one book as her favorite.
“Oh my goodness, wow! I don’t know what it would be,” Sykes said. “Put it this way, I really like historical fiction – I like historical fiction books, I always have.”
Sykes had moved to North Carolina for some time, however, she said she is thankful to be living back in East Tennessee now.
“I just think we live in the most beautiful place, you know, almost anywhere you look. I’m very thankful every day that the Lord brought me back here,” she said. “You could almost say what’s not to love, usually the weather’s very nice.
“My mother use to always say, ‘it was sunny Tennessee’. We’ve had more gray days than usual but the cold doesn’t last too long, the hot doesn’t last too long and everywhere you look there’s just something pretty to see.”
Sykes said Johnson has had a major role in her life.
“Except for Jesus Christ, [Johnson University] has probably been the biggest influence in my life,” she said. “My family life, my education, I met my husband here, and you know, most of my lifelong friends are from here. And now my work is here. So it has definitely shaped who I am.”
The Ray Ball Singers at Buddy’s Bar-b-q in Sevierville
SEVIERVILLE Bluegrass and gospel music enthusiasts, both young and old, packed Buddy’s Bar-b-q, on Monday night, to hear local band, The Ray Ball Singers.
Spectators were not charged admission to the live music event, however, attendees had to dine in at the barbecue joint to claim a seat.
“I liked their wholehearted and soulful sound that they had,” Tori Downing, a Pigeon Forge resident, said in regard to the band. “Their aura they put off is very friendly.”
This event left no empty space inside the restaurant, and the full crowd was energetic. Many people joined in by clapping or singing along with some of the popular gospel songs, such as, “I’ll Fly Away” and “Amazing Grace.”
“I have not [heard of this band before] but I liked them a lot, they brought home a country feel,” Downing said.
Downing also mentioned that The Ray Ball Singers made her consider playing bluegrass herself.
“I’ve never had the courage, before now, to bring out my inner hee-haw,” Downing said in regards to playing and singing bluegrass. “My dad could tear up a banjo, so maybe I’ll take it up myself and play like this band did.”
After hearing about the event on Facebook, Dustin Sutton, longtime Sevier County resident, said he decided to head to the barbecue joint, when he got off work, to listen to the band play.
“I’ve always been a fan of ‘I’ll Fly Away’, and I really liked their version,” Sutton said.
Sutton said he hopes to hear the band play again.
“I thought their guitar playing and picking was good, made for a good ol’ time,” Sutton said.
Buddy’s Bar-b-q’s Sevierville location will host local bluegrass/gospel bands every Monday night, in February, at 6:45 p.m.
KNOXVILLE The Johnson Royals played hard for their win Friday against Kentucky Christian University. The night featured a white out theme put on by the student body.
The Royals tipped-off the game at 7 p.m. however, KCU was the first to score. The Royals led the entire first half, leading 53-43 at half time. The second half of the game was even more intense as the Royals strived to stay ahead of their opponent.
“I feel like we came out…energy is huge. We had a tough game on Wednesday where honestly the spring semester low had hit us,” Royals’ Coach Brandon Perry said. “It was tough—Milligan got us and we knew this was kind of backs against the wall for our season.”
Kenton Guillon led the team in scoring with 22 points, while Taylor Gilpin contributed 21 points. The game ended with a win for the Royals, 107-98. Perry said the team knew they needed to have a good night and the team responded.
“I think, the best defense I’ve seen in my three years here at Johnson was played tonight,” he said. “It’s a great team—KCU is an amazing team, they’re second in the country right now, so to knock them off is a big win for us. Hopefully we’re going to jump up in the standings come Tuesday.”
Although the Royals won the game, Perry said the team still has room for improvement.
“But that’s the encouraging part, is that we know we can be better and still end up winning this game,” Perry said. “I think we’re where we need to be.”
Many students and faculty attended, dressed in white, to show support for the team. The crowd, many of which had kazoos, remained loud throughout the entire game as they cheered on their basketball team.
“Oh man, this was again, in three years, this is the best crowd I’ve seen at Johnson. It was awesome how they came out and supported us all, in white in the stands,” Perry said. “I was extremely proud of our student body tonight. Hopefully this is the start of a big home stretch, so hopefully we see more of the same.”
The next home game will be against Berea College 7:30 p.m Tuesday.