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Cullie Tarleton receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine award

Originally published: Nov. 29, 2012
Last modified: Nov. 29, 2012

Jeff Eason

More than 100 of Cullie Tarleton's family, friends and admirers gathered at the banquet room of Appalachian Ski Mountain on Nov. 16, to pay tribute to Tarleton and watch as he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Tarleton also had to endure a bit of a “roasting,” as two of his best friends took to the podium and mocked his fly-fishing skills and ribbed him for losing at his most recent attempt at re-election to the North Carolina General Assembly.

“I lent Cullie my waders and boots seven years ago, and he still has them,” said John Calvin. “The only time I get to see them are when we go fishing together.”

Added Mike Capristo, “Cullie's the only person I've ever seen break two fly rods … and one of them was mine.”

A few good-natured remarks aside, the night was an opportunity for Tarleton's friends to honor him and thank him for his service to the community.

“I'm here as a special representative of Gov. Bev Perdue,” said Pinky Hayden, organizer of the event. “She wanted to be here to present Cullie with this award, but she was not able to at this busy time of transition.”

Tarleton said that he had been on the giving end of these awards on many occasions.

“I have had the pleasure of presenting this award, but never expected that I would receive one,” Tarleton said. “I have enjoyed my years of public service, and it has been an important part of my career.”

Tarleton thanked many of the people present who worked with him and other local Democrats during this past election cycle, including Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson, Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman, Albert Yount, John Welch, Virginia Roseman and Jay Fenwick.  

“John Calvin has worked tirelessly as my campaign treasurer,  and I can assure that is no easy job,” Tarleton said. “All of our filings to Raleigh have always been on time, and I really appreciate your help and your support.

“Nothing I've accomplished in my private or public career could've been possible without my wife, Sylvia. You are my rock.”

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards presented by the governor of North Carolina. It is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state.

Tarleton's contributions include representing Boone and Blowing Rock in the N.C. General Assembly for four years, extensive work with Rotary of Blowing Rock, serving on the boards of Blowing Rock Hospital and Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, and serving in the N.C. National Guard.

As a professional, Tarleton worked as a broadcaster and general manager for WBT in Charlotte for many years before retiring in Blowing Rock with his wife, Sylvia.

The award has also been presented to a number of notable North Carolinians, such as Andy Griffith, Michael Jordan, Billy Graham, William Friday and Maya Angelou, among others.


For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.