Spillway Beach was transformed from a sun worshipper's paradise to a serious staging ground Saturday, when hundreds gathered for the Laurel Lake Cleanup.

Laurel County won the Clean-up Cup with 261 volunteers surpassing Whitley County’s 117.

“Counting the participants from other counties and some who did not register, there were about 500 total,” Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator Jim Ed McDaniel said.

Around noon, boats started pulling up and garbage collectors started walking in to dump the hundreds of bags of trash they had collected.

It was Vicki Broussard’s 11th time helping out at the event.

“It’s great to see the community come out and work to-gether from all the different counties,” she said.

Broussard, who came with her two sons and husband, said the family toured the area by boat to find the litter.

“This year we’re getting into the coves that you can’t get to,” she said.

The Broussards weren’t the only people at the event who come back year after year.

Employees of Southeast Tel-ephone have been coming for the past five years.

“We drove three hours this morning,” Bambi Phillips said of their trek from Pikeville.

Southeast Telephone provides the hot dogs for lunch, with five workers cooking up a storm on a deluxe propane grill.

Phillips said they’re glad to do it.

“Our company is very focused with economic development and the environment,” she said.

Wal-Mart Distribution Center also contributed, donating all the chips for lunch, bringing 30 employees to help out, and handing over a $1,500 check to help cover expenses. HSBC helped out as well, and brought five boats and 30 employees to lend to the effort.

Also on hand were several Boy Scout troops. Among them was Eagle Scout Craig Roaden, who has been coming for 10 years.

“It’s fun,” he said. “They hand out door prizes and you get to help the community.”

Roaden and fellow Boy Scout Collin Lamoree were quick to show off their most unusual finds, which included a flip flop, a full can of beer and an unidentified boat part.

Although the boys were intrigued by their treasures, leader Gary Lamoree was disheartened to see all the trash.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “In the Boy Scouts, we teach to leave a place better than we found it. It’s disappointing to see what these people leave behind.”

One of the largest items picked up was a 400-pound piece of waterlogged Styrofoam, bought in by Danny Parks, with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, and his crew.

“We tied it to a rope and dragged it in,” he said.

Several members of Mrs. Hail’s biology class at Corbin High School were also able to bring in some big finds.

Several tires were hauled off of their boat, owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“We found them lying on the banks,” Ben Rose explained.

Rose and fellow classmates Jake Durham and Kevin Rose participated in the event and picked up about 20 bags of trash. While they were happy with their haul, they had ulterior motives for attending the cleanup.

“It was for extra credit,” Durham admitted. “We got bonus points.”

At the event of their own freewill were members of South Laurel High School’s DECA, a marketing club.

Teacher Patty Miller headed up her team.

“We filled up the front of the boat we had,” she said.

Miller said it was the first time the group had participated in the event.

“But we already said we need to come back next year,” she said. “It’s a good turnout.”

McDaniel was pleased, but was somewhat concerned.

“We’ve got a lot more garbage this year, seems like,” he said. “We had less volunteers because it was sprinkling early in the morning. It cleared up though and the rest of the day was nice.”

McDaniel added up the total pounds of garbage Monday morning.

“There were 9,817 pounds of garbage and 15 tires were picked up,” he said.

Some of the most unusual finds were displayed on a table set up on the beach.

Among them were a bumper, a shoe, a Superman figurine and a bra.

The catch-of-the-day was a sign which said, “For Sale or Trade for Farm Dozier Backhoe Tractor or Deaf Mute Woman.”

“It’s not uncommon to find signs during the cleanup,” London Ranger District Supervisor John Strojan said.

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