By RACHEL C. DOVE
WILLIAMSON - They came from near and far to the City of Williamson on Tuesday for the opportunity to audition for an unscripted reality-type series that will feature descendants of the Hatfield and McCoy clans.
“I’m so excited, I hope I do alright,” stated one nervous contender from Cincinnati, Oh., who said she drove straight through this morning to be able to participate.
“I had heard they said they wanted descendants who lived close, but I figured what the heck? I wanted to give it a shot anyway; I don’t have anything to lose but gas money.”
WVU Extension Professor Bill Richardson who is Mingo County’s own feud-expert assisted with the casting calls, along with Trifecta Productions, the Huntington based media group who played a large part in the successful research and filming of the two-hour History Channel Hatfield and McCoy documentary.
Joe Murphy, the Vice-President of Trifecta Productions, spoke with the Daily News during the interview process of the hopeful stars and stated that although his company hasn’t yet tied themselves to this project, they are being utilized as consultants and are acting as goodwill-stewards to protect the image of WV that will be portrayed if this series airs.
“First of all, let me say that this notoriety and publicity that has been bestowed on the Tug Valley area, as well as our entire state, has been a long time coming,” stated Murphy. “We have an incredible opportunity to ride this wave for years to come if we play our cards right.”
Murphy commented that he has spoke with so many tourists who have come to WV after having their interest tweaked with the numerous shows centered around the Hatfield and McCoy feud who left with an entirely different view of not only the state, but more importantly, of the residents who call it home.
“They would comment on the beautiful scenery, but what impressed them most was the warm hospitality they were welcomed with,” said Murphy. “I didn’t speak with one person who had anything negative to say.”
“My wish is that we will be portrayed as who we really are and not stereotyped as we have been in the past.”
Several local Hatfield and McCoy descendants attended the auditions at the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, including David Hatfield from S. Williamson, Ky., the founder and director for the Hatfield and McCoy Marathon; Jessica Hatfield-McCoy, a Delbarton native and local Christian singer who laughed and told the producers that she was “double-trouble” since she was a Hatfield by birth and then married a McCoy; and Colin and Brandon Compton, brothers who hail from Blackberry who are descendants of the McCoy clan, among several others.
The producers were continuing the casting calls until 8 p.m. yesterday evening, in hope of giving those who work day shift or those traveling from other towns the chance to attend. One element that was present during each and every person’s audition was pride in their heritage and in their ancestors who are now known throughout the world.
No time limit was provided to those who attended the casting calls as to when or if they would be notified whether they were being considered for a role in the series, nor was additional information on what the intentions are for the show’s content.
The Daily News, your #1 source for Hatfield and McCoy news, will release that information as soon as we receive it.