By Rachel Dove
WILLIAMSON - As the weather in the Tug Valley area begins to show promises of spring and warmer days to come, Paul Price of Mingo Marketing and Productions is hard at work, organizing and planning the third annual “Rally in the Valley” event slated to take place May 1-4 in downtown Williamson.
Three years ago, Price expressed his desire to make a dream come true to host a motorcycle rally that would hopefully one day, with a lot of work, determination and commitment, grow into an event that could compete with similar rallys such as Bike Week in Myrtle Beach and Sturgis, in South Dakota.
In 2012, his dream became a reality and Williamson opened its arms, hearts and businesses to a large number of motorcycle enthusiasts who traveled to see what Southern West Virginia had to offer, and they were certainly not disappointed. After the rally that year, Price told the media that “you haven’t seen anything yet.”
“I was born and raised in Williamson,” Price said. “I have watched businesses here close their doors and leave, all the while watching towns such as Pikeville, Ky., flourish and grow. I wanted to make a difference; I wanted to be able to bring something to this area that would give the local economy the shot in the arm it so desperately needed.”
The number of vendors that Price has booked to set up during the 2014 event, along with musical entertainment from all across the United States, represents the opportunity for Mingo County businesses to profit from this venture. Hotels in Williamson are booked almost full to capacity for the rally, as well as those in neighboring Pikeville and Logan. Campgrounds are also receiving their fair share of reservations from those who would rather sleep under the stars or inside a camper.
Darrin McCormick, the mayor of Williamson, is gearing up for the event that is expected to be attended by thousands, including rider groups from Maine and Indianapolis.
The Rally in the Valley will kick off at noon May 1, with a welcoming ceremony planned on the event stage that will be located on First Avenue and Logan Street. Nearly 50 vendors will be set up and ready to peddle their wares or to display their many talents in a wide variety of fields. Price booked vendors from as far away as New Jersey, Las Vegas and Florida.
The list of vendors is a large one that includes Killer Designs, the artist who has painted and detailed motorcycles for stars such as Jay Leno and Gene Simmons, and Beaver’s Creek Kustoms, who are bringing a tractor-trailer equipped with bike lifts for installation of LED lights. Other vendors include:
Thunder Road Magazine, Larry the “Snake Man” reptile house, free pony rides for the kids, the Legendary Hatfield and McCoy Family brand moonshine, Appalachian Primitives, Hillbilly Christmas in July, Biker-styled jewelry sales, Bonkers, Mechanical Bull, water walk for the kids, basketball, Diamond Jim’s Old Time Photos and Indian Loft, West Virginia Army National Guard, a charity dunking booth, Origami Owl dealer, Verizon, Jackie Jewell Gifts, Starters, Odds and End Gifts, Airbrushing by Mark, Save Our Strays, Mike’s Harley-Davidson, Modern Shoe Repair, Sassy’s, Pigs and Poultry, Azusa Street Riders, Mingo County Autism Association, Howard’s Sunglasses, Dairy Delight, Sloppy Dogs, North American Food Vendors, Southern Concessions, Appalachian Brotherhood, Kim Maynard’s Food, Day’s Food, Hall’s Kitchen, Harmon Concessions, S&S Concessions, The Tug Valley Recovery Shelter, Certainty Stores Online Outlet Shopping (large amount of leather goods), Moonshiner’s Mountain Tea and the Strawberry Express.
“This four-day event has attracted substantial vendors that typically only set up at the large biker events,” Price said. “We are also currently working with two worldwide companies that are expected to come on board as corporate sponsors before the 2015 Rally in the Valley takes place. They have expressed strong interest and want to be a part of growing and expanding it as they have done with other rallies.”
Hall’s Sound Company will be responsible for the public address system for the event. A few of the bands that will be entertaining the crowd include Mama’s Pumphouse, One in the Chamber, Joey’s Aces and the Deal, Mountain Station, Clone Theory, Mad Dog Mean, Problem Child, and Sheldon Vance and The Pines.
“We will have activities to please everyone, no matter the gender or age,” Price said. “If you attend our 2014 Rally in the Valley, I assure you that you will not leave disappointed.”
The event will also include a bike show and biker games, among others. A map of a few of the scenic rides that Price feels the motorcycle enthusiasts would enjoy that would take them on the curvy, scenic backroads of Mingo County will also be available as riders register.
“A visit to Mingo County wouldn’t be complete without a ride,” Price said. “If the weather cooperates, I know everything else will work out fine.”
Additional information on the 2014 Rally in the Valley is available by visiting their Facebook site or by contacting Price directly at 606-625-6850. The Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce also has information concerning the event at 304-235-5240. The Sycamore Inn will be serving as the “host hotel” of the rally and may be reached at 304-235-3656.