Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:43PM - 648 Views
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Rachel Baldwin

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WILLIAMSON - After receiving numerous calls concerning the statements made toward him personally

when the Williamson City Council voiced their views and perception of the recently held Rally in the

Valley motorcycle event, Appalachian Brotherhood Sidney, Ky. Chapters’ Public Relations Officer Paul

Price has asked to set the record straight.

Price and the club he is associated with had a vision to see an event held in the City of Williamson that

would grow year after year, beginning with the 2012 rally that was deemed a success. Price, along with

approximately 20 other volunteers, worked tirelessly since January of this year planning and organizing

the 2013 second annual Rally in the Valley. The 3 day event played host to an estimated 7,500 attendees

and resulted in local motels being fully booked, plus record profits for restaurants and other businesses

such as convenient stores.

“The whole purpose of this rally was to bring an economic boost to the City of Williamson and to Mingo

County, which is exactly what we did,” stated Price. “I can’t begin to tell you the number of positive

comments we received from those attending the event and from local business owners; so needless to

say, I was shocked to read the negative feedback voiced by Mayor McCormick and the Council members

in Sunday’s edition of the Daily News.”

I want to set the record straight, I want to clear the air so I’m going to address each and every comment

that was made and explain why they are incorrect or exaggerated.”

“First of all, we did not block fire department or other emergency vehicles from driving on downtown

streets,” stated Price. “The vendors, who were booked and arranged accordingly by the Chamber of

Commerce, not I, were set up in the same manner that they are during the Hatfield and McCoy Festival

and the King Coal Festival – no different. There was one incident brought to my attention by Williamson

Police Chief Dave Rockel concerning vehicles that were on display on 2 nd Avenue by the Moore Group

(our sponsor), that was quickly addressed and corrected.”

“As for the allegations that I waited until we had only days to spare before I approached Chief Rockel

about the final plans for the rally, while technically that’s true, I made several attempts to meet with

him to go over everything, but due to the hectic schedule that goes along with his jobs he had to cancel.

Then on April 3rd, Sheriff Crum was shot and killed and Chief Rockel began wearing many hats…he’s a

very busy man and I fully understand. I agree that we needed more time to finalize everything, and I’m

hopeful that will occur next year.”

Chief Rockel relayed to the Daily News that he had tried to reach Price by phone to discuss the

committee’s needs for the rally but was unable to do so.

“I put in a lot of hours, if you want to speak to me you just have to keep trying to make contact,” said

Rockel. “I’m hoping we can learn from the mistakes that happened this year and build on them for


Price told the Daily News that he felt like he was slammed for not attending Williamson Council

meetings after the initial meeting in January of this year when he and another representative of the

Appalachian Brotherhood spoke during a meeting and requested the May dates for the 2 nd annual rally.

“Our request was approved, and I asked at that time if I needed to attend future meetings to provide

updates and Mayor McCormick told me that wasn’t necessary, to just work through Natalie Young, the

Director of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce and she would keep him informed and updated. And

that’s exactly what I did.”

“I heard that the Mayor and Council were discussing the fact that vendors for the rally begin arriving in

town on Friday in the early afternoon and were trying to get set up before the set time of 5 p.m., and I

can assure everyone that was not my doing or that of the Chamber of Commerce. We plainly told them

to begin setting up at 5, which is when local businesses close. I spoke with several of the early arrivals,

which were food vendors, and they relayed they had been contacted by the Mingo County Health

Department and were told they had to be completely set up and ready for business at 4 p.m. in order

to be inspected, or they would not be allowed to sell food items on Saturday. I did not have any prior

knowledge that the Health Inspector had made this demand…no one should be held responsible for

something that was not their fault.”

“We would never think about having vendors arrive while businesses were still open. We know the

rules, and more than that, we respect the business owners and would never intentionally do anything to

cause them distress.”

One council member complained that people were not able to access the courthouse and said that the

Friday the rally began was the final day for residents of the county to pay their taxes, but Price stated

during the interview that the traffic flow was at no time, blocked in the courthouse location, and said he

and the staff who worked the rally paid particular attention to this matter.

Natalie Young, the Executive Director of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce had this to say about the

complaints voiced by the Council members:

“Were there hiccups and bumps along the way? Of course there was. I haven’t spoken with anyone

that helps with festivals and other events that has said everything went smoothly, without a hitch or

two. The important thing is that we dealt with them as they occurred; nothing was overlooked or not

given our full attention. The Rally in the Valley was an event that according to all who attended was very

successful. We’re pleased with how it turned out, and proud of the efforts and hard work put in by all

the volunteers that helped.”

Mayor Darrin McCormick stated that the comments and concerns voiced by himself and the council

were meant to be taken as constructive criticism and were not intended to be taken as a “slamming

or bashing” tactic toward Price or the Rally, saying the City was grateful to the organizer and to the

Appalachian Brotherhood for their hard work and dedication to see the event become a reality.

“We want to see the Rally in the Valley grow and prosper year after year, attracting larger crowds,” said

the Mayor. “We will continue to support the event and we’re hoping we can work together to establish

better communication and organization for the future.”

Price concluded the interview by saying he knew that all the volunteers had given an all-out effort to

make the rally a success, and despite the isolated negative comments voiced during the city council

meeting, the compliments and pats on the back greatly outnumbered them.

“We gave it our all, we did the very best job we could do,” Price remarked. “The thing that bothers me

the most about this entire situation is that if the Mayor or Council members had any issues they wanted

to discuss or complaints they wanted to address, they should have contacted me to attend the meeting

and give me a chance to defend myself or explain what actually occurred instead of letting me read

about it in the newspaper.”

“There’s a right way and a wrong way to do anything, and I can tell you with one hundred percent

accuracy that the way this played out was wrong.”

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