PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – Nearly 80 Mustangs arrived in Pikeville on Thursday for the “Mustangs at the Mines” event, in partnership with Red Mirror Events and Backroads of Appalachia, to tour scenic routes throughout the region.
“We stopped on the way back at one of the mines that’s been shut down we did a photo op there,” said Red Mirror Events Owner Steven Spangler. “People got to see the conveyors, you know, the silos and things, and a lot of people have never seen anything like that, so it gives them a good sense of the history of the area.”
Although the group is staying in Pikeville, officials say the folks who come to visit affect economies throughout the region as well.
“You know, they may a lodge in Pikeville, Pike County, but all week this week they’ll be eating two and three meals, shopping discovering wineries, distilleries, gift shops, things that bring the economy into our area with a newfound dollar,” said Pike County Tourism Executive Director Tony Tackett.
Tackett added that the partnerships that cross county and state lines, as well as the partnerships with groups such as Backroads of Appalachia and Red Mirror Events, are important to grow motorsport tourism in Eastern Kentucky.
“The only way is partnership, because my message and my dollar only go so far,” said Tackett. “You put that partnership together you got a combination of a whole bowl of people reaching out in many different directions.”
The economy is not the only thing this group of drivers is affecting. Spangler planned this event along with Erik Hubbard of Backroads of Appalachia months prior but, after seeing the devastation from the late July floods, he decided to give back to the region.
On Friday, the group will make a stop at Kentucky Mist Distillery in Letcher County at 3 p.m. to present a check for flood relief in the county.
“It just touched so many people that, when you see these people losing family members and losing their homes, and then we’re coming here to drive our cars around the roads where these people used to live,” said Spangler, “So, it really turned it into a, hey, we need to give back what we can and help out.”
Spangler said, for more information about events or to sign up for future events, visit the Red Mirror Events website.
You can find out more about motorsports tourism and other events coming to the region by visiting the Backroads of Appalachia website.
Copyright 2022 WYMT. All rights reserved.