20 Under 40: Clay Carmichael
Having spent his childhood years in Selma, Clay Carmichael saw plenty of his elementary and high school friends move away and swear to never return.
But Carmichael said there are so many reasons that notion never appealed to him.
“When I graduated from high school, and lot of my friends got out of town as fast as they could, and we just want to show people there is, and can be, stuff to do here,” Carmichael said. “I just think when you get a bit older, I guess you kind of want to back out of college towns.”
For Carmichael, the endless list of reasons to love Selma — including great hunting and fishing, local restaurants and musical talent — is a big reason he co-founded the fundraising Blackbelt Benefit Group.
“Me and some friends were sitting at a bar in town and decided we wanted to do a rib-off and make some money for charity,” Carmichael said. “We wanted to get people to both help and celebrate Selma.”
The BBG’s annual Rock ‘n Ribs has become a staple of the springtime calendar in Selma. Carmichael said the Rock ‘n Ribs, along with other events organized by the BBG is designed to entertain all people, not just those who call Selma home.
“That event, and all of our events, aren’t really
centered on making money, we want to attract people from out of town to Selma,” Carmichael said. “That’s why we bring in musicians from outside of Selma. We try too mix local music with national acts and tie them together at our events.”
Carmichael said he hopes the popularity of the group’s Rock ‘n Ribs and Art Jam events show people there is much to celebrate about Selma and Dallas County.
“Things build on one another, and if we can bring in some good music, young people might want to move back. There’s already a number of young people that have started moving back to Selma, and we want to give them something to do,” Carmichael said. “If someone comes from out of town and has a great time here, they just might want to move here. And they’d bring with them their own character and their own talents.”
Carmichael said members of the BBG are planning several new events to their calendar, which he hopes will show Selma’s doubters there is plenty to do and see.
“I really don’t see any limits for Selma,” Carmichael said. “There is unlimited potential for Selma. It’s been a booming city, so the infrastructure is here. We just can’t be limited by our minds. We are just trying to show people there is always more that can be done.”
— Jay Sowers