PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Pike County Tourism’s executive Director Tony K. Tackett, along with tourism commission board member Bob Scott spearheaded a mutually beneficial partnership with the popular Hatfield McCoy Dinner Show of Pigeon Forge, TN. This partnership involves the cross promotion of both the dinner show and Pike County’s Hatfield McCoy Historic Feud Driving Tour. This includes both destinations carrying each other’s marketing material, as well as special collaborative events to be planned for the future.
“The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud” in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the Pike County Tourism Board,” said David Fee, president and chief executive officer of The Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group and co-owner of the theater. “The story of the Hatfield and McCoy families is an important part of American history, and should be preserved. We are eager to continue our partnership and look forward to the exciting things we can do to tell the stories of these families.”
For Pike County Tourism CVB, the goal of this partnership is to strengthen the Hatfield McCoy name, and to continue to increase the economic growth of our region through its promotion.
“Since 2012, when the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries, starring Bill Paxton and Kevin Costner, exploded onto the scene, our numbers in tourism have doubled and our marketing has change,” said Tackett. “We have two major goals for 2016 and 2017, to build lifelong relationships with organizations with similar interests to ours, and to increase our brand exposure. We cannot do this alone; we must reach out and partner with other destinations within a four-hour drive to our beautiful region of the commonwealth” Tackett said.
Tackett goes on to emphasize the importance of partnerships and how our region can benefit from them. “Their show captures people of any age, with great entertainment, food and production,” Tackett said. “With 35 percent of travelers already heading South, many staying in Pike County, it’s a given that we should collaborate with each other and inform each other on what we offer” Tackett said.
Tackett believes that Pike County Tourism CVB’s emphasis on partnerships may prove to be very helpful in repairing Pike County’s damaged economy. “There’s an old saying, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. In the economic downturn and the loss of coal jobs, it is essential that we partner for a better tomorrow for both Tennessee and Kentucky and the communities that we represent.”
Scott, the owner of the original McCoy homeplace and well where the infamous New Years Eve attack occurred, also shares this same goal of partnership with Pigeon Forge’s popular dinner show.
“There are no traffic jams for Pike County Tourism. We will always go that extra mile reaching out and developing long lasting relationships that will promote Pike County,” said Scott. “Pike County Tourism wants to express much appreciation to the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for the monetary gift of $5000 to the Shriners Children Hospital, and their involvement in our Hillbilly Days festivities.”
Scott also encourages anyone traveling to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to take in the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show. “It’s no history lesson, but great entertainment,” said Scott. “We look forward to the many opportunities that exist for Pike County Tourism and the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show. We appreciate David Fee and Barbara Fee Newsome and their staff.”
Jay Shepherd, Marketing Director of Pike County Tourism CVB, elaborates on partnerships as a marketing strategy. “We are working on several partnerships with tourist sites and cities within a four hour travel span from Pike County. Our aim is to reach those travelers,” Shepherd said. “We can work with one another to ensure that the visitor is aware of what we both offer as they travel to their destination. The visitor is not territorial; they want to go where they can experience something interesting and different. We can work together to ensure the visitor returns not only to Pigeon Forge, but Pike County as well,” Shepherd explains. “We want to continue to help artists, musicians, mom and pop businesses, gift shops and more, and in turn, boost our hotels, theatres and live music venues’ business outlook. It’s a win-win for the community, the business owner and the traveler.”
“The focus of our Hatfield-McCoy events in Pikeville/Pike County has always been on family,” said Ron McCoy, descendent of Randolph McCoy, one of the two patriarchs of the Hatfield McCoy feud. “Fee-Hedrick Entertainment in Pigeon Forge takes the same approach, producing quality, fun and family-friendly programs at all of their venues.”
McCoy goes on to describe his experiences with the Hatfield-McCoy tourism initiatives. “In the past 15 years, the Hatfield and McCoy families have worked together to celebrate and honor our common heritage. But, we also have found time to enjoy some friendly competition between the families, playing softball, paintball and tug of war” said McCoy. “The “Hatfield McCoy Dinner Show” continues this tradition of lively interaction between the “families” in a way that is positive, entertaining and fun. The Hatfield and McCoy families are honored to partner with the “Hatfield McCoy Dinner Show” and Pike County Tourism in supporting “feud tourism” in the region. We look forward to working with Fee-Hedrick Entertainment and Pike County Tourism to produce new Hatfield-McCoy events in the near future.”
Judy Hatfield, a descendant of Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, and founder of the “Hatfield & McCoy Foundation” also shared her gratitude for Fee-Hedrick’s “Hatfield McCoy Dinner Show”. “’Hatfield & McCoy’s Foundation’ would like to express their appreciation to the Fee/Hedrick family for their incredible hospitality that was offered while meeting and visiting with them in Pigeon Forge,” Hatfield said. “Everyone we met with went out of their way to make us feel like part of the family. Their kindness and generosity will never be forgotten. The many shows that we attended were uplifting and inspiring and if you have the blessing to be in Pigeon Forge, I strongly suggest that you see as many as possible.”