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By: Tim Donaldson

Hatfield-McCoy Trails – National Trail Fest 2008
(Part of’s Feature Coverage of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails)

Continued from page 1...

So with so much to see and do, it is easy to discover why Hatfield-McCoy’s National Trail Fest is such a wildly popular and growing event. The event was executed without a hitch, with the exception of the headlined, Ball of Steel Stunt Show (BOSS). Slated to perform three nights at Trail Fest, performing various motorcycle acrobatics, the BOSS crew was a no show! That’s right! They didn’t even show up for the event. The only thing that I can say about their “sick” performance is that it makes me sick when I hear about an organization that makes a commitment–which includes taking a securing, cash down payment–and not having the integrity to follow through with their obligations. Even after making several attempts, event planners for Trail Fest received no word or communications from the group, indicating that they would not be at the event. Thumbs down to you, BOSS! Kudos to the Hatfield-McCoy Staff for keeping their focus, adapting, and maintaining such an enjoyable, Trail Fest experience for so many people!

The 2008 National Trail Fest represents the 8th, consecutive year that the event has taken place. Hatfield-McCoy Marketing Specialist, Bill Reed, explained, “The National Trail Fest began as the grand opening of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System.  It was such a success that we turned it into our annual, birthday celebration.” Because it is situated in the approximate, geographic center of all existing Hatfield-McCoy Trails, the town of Gilbert and the Browning Fork Trail System–the largest trail system–are suitable venues for the event. The Larry Joe Harless Community Center affords many amenities and a large camping area, features that are necessary to make the event a success. The residents of Gilbert are perhaps the most important facet of making the event a possibility. Reed continued, “Gilbert’s residents have embraced and welcomed riders to come and enjoy the small, southern West Virginia town that they call home.” Described as the “Most ATV-Friendly Town in America,” Gilbert is a welcoming environment for ATV enthusiasts.

Even with the current state of the U.S. economy, this year’s event was more successful than any previous year with an estimated excess of 2,200 people–a testament of the growing success of Hatfield-McCoy’s National Trail Fest. As Bill Reed put it, “The best part of Trail Fest is seeing all of your friends that come back every year and meeting new ones!” Now, with all of my new-found friends from Trail Fest, I want to give a special thank you to Bill Reed, the residents of Gilbert, and the rest of the Hatfield-McCoy staff for making my Trail Fest experience a memorable one!

If you missed this year’s Trail Fest, don’t worry. Next year is in the works already, with plans to expand vendor/expo row and add more on-trail activities. Trail Fest is scheduled to be October 8-12, 2009. For more information about planning your next trip to the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, the Browning Fork Trail System, and Gilbert’s local amenities, visit Related information about Trail Fest can be found at

Stay tuned to as we continue our in-depth coverage of the individual trail systems that make up the Hatfield-McCoy Trails!

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