Pipes, pigs and prizes
It's been a few years since the West Virginia State HOG Rally has been to Pocahontas County, but by all accounts, the event was a sweeping success.
No one can ever label the HOGs as fair weather riders - they hit rain leaving Snowshoe early in the day, and a midday thunderstorm that sent crowds seeking shelter from the downpour, didn't deter them from waiting it out.
According to Larry Holstine, Rally Coordinator, there were nearly850 bikes in town for the rally, and riders came from all over the country.
"We figure about 70 percent of the people in the rally came from out of state," said Holstine. "The people from out of state love the roads and the people here. Ya'll just rolled out the red carpet for us, you always do when we come down here. It's just been a treat to be here."
Mayor Joe Smith presented Holstine a symbolic key to the city on behalf of the Town of Marlinton.
"It's been a few years since you were here, we're happy to have you back and we hope you'll come back again," said Smith.
Streets were crowded with Harleys of all kinds, and attendees had a chance to vote for their favorite ride in the People's Choice contest. Harley owner Dan Pope, of Oregon, Ohio, won that contest. Chamber of Commerce president Bill Jordan explained how the contest worked.
"There's a little box settin' on the bikes," said Jordan. "The way you judge the bike you want is you put money in the box, then whoever has the most money wins the award."
Students representing the Pocahontas County High School class of 2014 were raising money for their senior prom. A raffle was held, and the result was heart warming. Of all people, Holstine's nine of spades was drawn as the winning card. He generously donated the $520 back to the class of 2014 with a wave of his hand.
"Keep it!" shouted Holstine.
Vendors, food and live music featuring local favorite The Davisson Brothers Band were all a part of the festivities. Donnie Davisson, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, said Gil Willis, of the Fiddlehead, and Cara Rose of the Convention Visitors Bureau, made the show happen. The boys have been staying busy performing shows on the road all summer, but they wouldn't have it any other way.
"We're always havin' a blast this time of year," said Donnie. "You know how it is, summertime festivals, fairs, biker events - fun things. In the wintertime you're in the clubs all season, this summertime stuff, family-oriented things, it's a lot of fun for us."
"We love it up here," Chris Davisson, guitarist, agreed with his brother. "It's just quiet and peaceful. We had a blast, good bunch of folks."
The Davissons said they grew up around Harleys.
"Our second family, that half-raised us, had a whole garage full of old panheads," said Chris.
"And we still have access to 'em," joked Donnie.
Jonathan Gibson, co-owner of the Snak Shak said they were really busy, especially during the downpour. This was his first time being in town for a HOG rally and he said all the bikers were really laid back.
Josh Shriber, treasurer of the HOG organizing committee, presented Laura Young, from the Family Resources Network, and Tim McClung, of First Citizens Bank, with a check for the FRN.
"On behalf of the 2012 WV state HOG rally, we're happy to have been in Pocahontas County and at Snowshoe," said Shriber. "We'd like to present a check to the FRN of Pocahontas County, in the amount of $1812.50."
Cara Rose, director of the CVB, said it took a lot of help from a lot of people to make the event a success.
"It took a lot of people to make this happen - the CVB, the Chamber of Commerce, Drama Fairs and Festivals, Parks and Rec, the Town of Marlinton, Sam McPaters from the Department of Highways for sweeping the roads, the sheriff's department, the list goes on an on."
Rose said she was thrilled with the outcome.
"They said they love coming to Marlinton, and I think we put on a great show for them," she said.