Smith: Camp Butter and Egg is no longer Troy’s best kept secret

Published 11:01 pm Friday, February 7, 2014

By Dan Smith

Anyone that really knows Ron Pierce is keenly aware that he is a man of great drive and energy, a man on a mission, a man planning his next project.

Ron Pierce came to Troy from West Palm Beach in 1975 on a scholarship to play baseball at Troy State University, and has been getting it done ever since. An All-Gulf South Conference pitcher in 1976 and again in 1977, his name is still scattered throughout the record book.

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After 37 years, he still holds the record for Complete Games in a season with 10, and holds the career record for ERA at 1.88 over two seasons.

You do not pitch 10 complete games in one season and have a 1.88 ERA over two seasons by being a slacker.

Upon graduating from Troy State in 1977, Ron went straight to work for the university as the Adams Center Director of Auxiliary Services, retired in 2000, and he and his wife Susan bought 40 acres about five minutes outside of Troy on Butter and Egg Road.

Today, Camp Butter and Egg is an outdoor adventure camp destination for thousands every year from not only Alabama and the southeast, but also the nation.

Last year according to Alabama Department of Tourism data, over 9,200 people came to Camp Butter and Egg outdoor adventure camp for the zip lines, overnight camping, mud runs and more.

When Ron and Susan bought the land, they had no plans of a recreational multi-purpose destination, but it did not take long to take form.

“We had no intentions of doing anything like this, but when our son Brett started playing recreation baseball I built an infield just to hit him ground balls,” Ron said.

Soon to follow was the MVP training center where Ron gave baseball and softball lessons daily and nightly, and hosted camps. Susan retired in 2006, and that’s when Camp Butter and Egg was born.

Today, through the planning of Ron, Susan and the creative vision and energy of their daughter, Natalie, who also works at the camp, the 40 acres is wall-to-wall outdoor entertainment.

Upon pulling off Butter and Egg Road you see the 125-seat Lodge, the 8,000 square foot baseball training center, a 40-person bunk house, 16 zip lines, a baseball field, a softball field, one giant swing, 45 different tree challenges, a six-acre lake, a 4-hole Frisbee golf course, an archery and BB gun range, camping areas, the 5K Mud Run obstacle course, and yes, even more.

Some people cannot see the forest for the trees.

When Ron sees a tree on his property, he sees an opportunity of another challenge, another event, and more potential for outdoor adventure.

What is unique about this facility and property is that Ron has personally built or been a part of “95 percent” of all construction.

There is a steady flow of groups representing businesses, schools, family reunions, churches, clubs, organizations, athletic teams and more that come to the camp for fellowship and fun.

And that is not to mention those travelers that see the sign on U.S. Highway 231 coming into Troy or randomly search for “Zip Lines” on Google.

There are still baseball lessons and camps, but Ron, Susan and Natalie understand that at the foundation of being a child is fun.

“You can come here and work hard for a couple of hours on baseball or softball, but you also want to have fun as a kid,” Ron said. “And that is what we are all about, is having fun.”

Ron reminds us that you do not have to be from out of town to enjoy the outdoor adventure opportunities.

“There are things to do in Troy, but you have to get up and get away from the computer,” Ron said. “You have got to get outside the house for a little while, and that is just not in Troy but everywhere.”

It is rewarding for Ron to see the people from Michigan to Texas and parts in between come to Camp Butter and Egg, but it is more meaningful that it is a family business.

“Susan and I get up at 4:30 every morning, and by the end of the night we are tired, but it is fun,” Ron said. “I think it’s great that it’s a family business. Susan and I are retired, but not retired. Natalie has done an outstanding job for us, and we hope she will want to stay in Troy and continue this venture. It is rewarding for the three of us to work in this together.”

Through his work and vision, Camp Butter and Egg is not only being enjoyed by the people of Troy and Pike County, but more and more travelers are discovering this great outdoor adventure destination has always been one of Troy’s and south Alabama’s best kept secrets.