October 26, 2012
Julia Roberts Goad
PIKEVILLE, Ky. — The Pike County Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCCVB) hopes the success of two recently hosted conferences are the beginning of putting Pike County on the map as a tourist destination.
The Kentucky County Clerks’ conference was held in Pikeville in June and the County Judges Association conference this September.
Each conference was designed not only to highlight the wonderful attractions Pikeville/Pike County offers, but locations throughout the region were also included on the itinerary, in particular the Breaks Interstate Park and Stone Crest Golf Course. Tours of reclaimed surface mines within the region were also included in the conferences, adding an educational element to the visit.
The recent national attention created by the Hatfield and McCoys miniseries has been a springboard to a burgeoning tourist trade, said Pike County Tourism Marketing Director Jay Shepherd.
“With the advent of the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries, Pike County is quickly moving from being a tourist stop to a tourist destination,” Shepard said. “Being the homeplace of the feud makes our region a one-of-a-kind place to visit.”
Local historian Reed Potter, who has been giving a tour of feud sites in and around Pikeville, gave a condensed history of the conflict earlier this year with the PCCVB. He said people who have lived in the area all their lives often don’t discuss the most famous feud in the world.
“We say, its embarrassing, why should we talk about it,” Reed said. “It isn’t a great thing, but it is important to learn from it, from this tear in our society. We aren’t glorifying violence, but this happened, the murder trial took place right here at our courthouse. We need to own it.”
While interest in the feud may bring visitors to the area, the PCCVB hopes to keep people in the county with other attractions, CVB Executive Director Tony Tackett said.
“Our goal is to lead people in, and then keep them here,” Tackett said.”We have renamed Cut-Thru Adventures, it is now the Hatfield McCoy River Trails, with kayaking tubing and canoes, anything we need to succeed. Families are taking ‘staycations’ this year, and we have a lot going on.”
“”We have been given the opportunity to highlight our community as a place to be educated and entertained,” Tackett said. “As our visitors learn more about our many attractions, such as the Hatfield and McCoy historic sites, the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ the Pikeville Cut-Thru Project, and Breaks Interstate Park, they come to appreciate what Eastern Kentucky has to offer.”
Pike County Tourism CVB has an article detailing the unique destinations and attractions that Pike County offers visitors for conferences and conventions on their website, TourPikeCounty.com.
Tackett said the City and the County are making the most of opportunity brought about by the miniseries and documentary to create lasting opportunities.
“We need people, we need more businesses here to keep our people here,” he said. “We are a small community with a big heart.”