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This was the tenth year that one of the most exciting, fun, and unconventional competitions was held in Rowan County. The Great Bullhole Duck Race is an annual summer fundraiser to benefit the operation of the RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls, also known as The Bullhole. The money raised is intended to help keep the park clean and safe for all to enjoy.

On July 20, 2019, a thousand rubber ducks were placed into the water and the first three ducks to cross the finish line won cash prizes. The enthusiastic owners of these swimming ducks had the chance to buy one or several ducks for the opportunity to win. Each duck costed $5 and a “Quack Package” was $20 for 5 ducklings. For those attendees feeling really lucky, a “Flock” of 100 ducklings was $25.

Each duck was numbered on the bottom. The persons whose duck crossed the finish line first won $250! Second place walked away with $100 and third place won $50.  

Attendees enjoyed music, games, food, and more! In addition to this fun competition, guests also had the opportunity to relax on the sandy beach, take a dip, and admire the beautiful landscape of this Rowan County gem.

The event is held at The Bullhole every third Saturday in July and has become so popular that it receives visitors traveling from Charlotte, High Point, Statesville, Pineville, Concord, Mooresville, and other surrounding states.


Free Family Fun for All

If you are looking for a fun and affordable activity in Rowan County, RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls is an excellent option. Besides hosting annual festivals such as the duck race, the park is open to the public from 8 a.m. to sundown. With free admission and parking, all you need to bring is a swimsuit and a picnic!


Take a dip into The Bullhole.


Per their website, guests can experience “30+ acres on the Rowan County side featuring an impressive stone dam, a sandy beach deposited there by a floor, and good fishing in the spring and fall.” Find peace and quiet as you explore the wooded trails. Families and groups can gather around picnic tables or even rent a shelter for picnics and other events.


Explore the wooded trails at RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls.


If you plan on going for a swim, the park encourages you to swim at your own risk as there is no lifeguard on duty and to wear water shoes “to prevent accidents on the granite bedrock bottom and slippery moss.”


Why The Name “Bullhole”?

Can you believe that a stone dam makes for such an extraordinary scenery?


RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls, also known as The Bullhole


The dam was built as part of the Erwin Mill, and although the story has changed a bit by word of mouth, the common denominator says that in the vicinity of the mill, an elder man transported wood to the other side of the river with the help of mules and oxen, also known as bullock. One day, the strong current of the water took out one of the oxen and it was never seen again by its owner. Hence the nickname “Bullhole”.

The construction of the dam itself dates back to the twentieth century and it has won so much popularity since then. It was even recently included in our “Most Instagrammable Places in Rowan County, NC” video. Watch it here. This little piece of paradise counts for a 30-acre extension of land that is surprisingly part of two counties: Rowan and Davie. Since it is located at the end of Erwin Temple Church Road, the river side belongs to Rowan County.


Share Your Experience!

I hope you are fascinated with the idea to discover this hidden gem and all the fun activities the park has to offer. Remember to pack water shoes, sunscreen, and a picnic! The most important thing is to have a blast and let us know how it went. Tag us in your photos and videos and use the following hashtags: #BeAnOriginal #YourRowan #itsaROCOthing.


Connector Saray at The Bullhole