77-Year old Pole Vaulter Credits Farm Life

77-Year old Pole Vaulter Credits Farm Life

[Walton County, Georgia/Produced by Ray D’Alessio] [Ray D’Alessio]
Each morning, Cook Holliday makes the short walk from his house in Walton County to this,
by definition, a pole barn. But it’s not just a pole barn in the traditional
sense. You see, at the tender young age of 77, Cook
Holliday is an accomplished pole vaulter, and this, well, this is where he keeps his
poles, and, the occasional piece of farm equipment. But to understand Cook Holliday and his love
for pole vaulting, you must first take a trip back in time, 70 years to be exact, that day
in Rochelle, Georgia, when a seven-year-old farm kid was riding the bus home from school,
and something caught his eye. [Cook Holliday/Walton County Farmer]
I took a seat next to the window, and I looked out, and I saw somebody pole vaulting. I didn’t even know what you, I didn’t even
know the word pole vaulting in first grade. So I said, “My goodness, I think that I could
do that.” So I go in and I throw my books down, and
my mom says “Cook, where are you going?” And I said, “To the wood pile, and get me
an ax, “I’m gon’ jump.” And she says, “What are you talkin’ about?” I got the ax, went to the woods, and I cut
down, well I had to have two standards, and I picked me a bamboo pole out, and I got the
hole diggers, and I just started jumpin’ from memory how he was doin’ it, I knew nothin’
about it, I didn’t even know it was pole vault. [Ray]
And from that day forward, Cook was hooked. In the years that followed, he set numerous
records in both high school and college, where he attended ABAC, as well as the University
of Wyoming on athletic scholarships. In his adult years, Cook was a teacher and
successful track coach, winning six state titles before eventually being inducted into
the Georgia Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009. Even now at 77 years old, Cook is still competing,
including this proud moment, when he took home the gold for seniors at the world championships
in Toronto. And as I walked through his basement, snapping
picture after picture, I couldn’t help but think, all these awards and honors started
with the simple routine ride on a school bus. But according to Cook, it started long before
that. The way he explains it, it all began as soon
as he could walk. [Cook Holliday]
I don’t think I would be where I am today had it not been from growin’ up on a farm,
and my dad givin’ me the work ethics that I had, and as I’ve told people before, I didn’t
even have a wristwatch. Y’know, we worked from sun-up to sun-down
in the summertime, of course not during school, but, it’s a parallel there that keeps me goin’,
because I learned to work, and if you gonna be successful, in anything that you do, where
it’s farmin’ or whatever, you better be hungry and want to do it, and, if you not hungry
for agriculture, or pole vaulting, or throwin’ the discus or triple jumpin’, you just gonna
get beat, you know? That’s, that’s it. So I, it’s definitely a parallel. [Music]
[Cook] “Let’s Go! [Presenter]
One of the outstanding community honors he received, is that the city named the sidewalk
surrounding Winder-Barrow High School, the Holliday Walk, and a bust of Coach Holliday
is in place at the W. Clair Harris Stadium in Winder, to honor Coach Holliday for his
coaching accomplishments. [Ray]
If somebody came up to you and said, you have a choice to make. Pole vaulting, or farming? [Cook Holliday]
Laughing [Ray]
What’s your choice? [Cook Holliday]
Photo finish for first. Does that tell ya? I love it, and course if you don’t, you eliminate
yourself, y’know, and I’ve always taught my kids, worse than a quitter is a man who’s
afraid to start, and the thing about it is, if you thinkin’ about gettin’ in farmin’,
I think you need to stick with it, you know? ‘Cause, it is tough, I can say that, but health-wise,
to grow up on a farm, you know, I just, you know, I just look forward to that sun comin’
up, and I look forward to it goin’ down sometimes ’cause I’m tired too. [Ray]
In Walton County, Georgia, for the Farm Monitor, I’m Ray D’Alessio.

3 thoughts on “77-Year old Pole Vaulter Credits Farm Life

  1. This was my high school track coach…taught me so much about the things in life that will being tou the most value out of life were not money not possessions but character honesty and integrity, combined with hard work that I could do and be anything that I wanted and if any of those are lacking in that formula then success will be hard to come by without out it he taught me to give for the love of giving and knowing that you helped someone to get to a better place is always reward enough COOK HOLLIDAY SAM HUTCHINS LOVES YOU AN I APPRECIATE YOU AND ALL TOU DID FOR ME AS MY LIFE is what it is because I was blessed to have you in my life thank you for seeing the "POTENTIAL" IN ME

  2. Hey 'old man'! Been a long time my friend. Just saw this video and wanted to pass by and say hello and tell you I'm proud of you and also 'jealous' of you athletic ability at 77. I remember our days at WCHS and our competion in running against and with each other. I'm 79 now and the best I can do is walk and thankful for that. Keep on farming and jumping my friend. Blessings and love in Jesus Name Cook.

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