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Bell receives tourism award

October 27, 2015


Photo submitted Bell County Tourism Commission representatives Mike Long and Judy Barton present a $500 sponsorship check to the Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park board member Mona Dotson and chairman John Brown.

Photo submitted Bell County Tourism Commission representatives Mike Long and Judy Barton present a $500 sponsorship check to the Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park board member Mona Dotson and chairman John Brown.

The Bell County Tourism Commission Executive-Director Judy Barton was awarded the Mangeot-Oaken Distinguished Service Award during the Kentucky Travel Industry Association annual conference in mid-October.

This award was also given to Fred James, executive-director of the Prestonsburg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, marking the first time in the award’s history it was given to two recipients.

“Both of our recipients hail from eastern Kentucky, and both epitomize the individuality, the resilience, the humor, and the uniqueness that are hallmarks of our mountain culture,” said KTIA spokesman and 2014 award recipient John Shake.

Shake cited Barton’s achievements noting more than a dozen KTIA Traverse awards, among other things.

“Another common trait with our two recipients is their love for this industry. And that love is best seen and best understood through the many newcomers to the industry who they have mentored over their careers,” said Shake.

Several fall events recently wrapped up including the United States Adventure Racing Association and the Adventure Tourism Coal Country Off-Road Festival. These events were discussed during the Bell County Tourism Commission meeting on Tuesday.

USARA recently welcomed 59 race teams and their families to Bell County for a weekend of hiking, biking, mountaineering and paddling. The team that won finished the multi-mile, multi-terrain course in 16 hours.

The off-road festival had between 3,000 to 4,000 ATV riders and visitors who enjoyed a weekend with friends and the annual haunted trail experience.

According to Pine Mountain State Resort Park Manager Rita Edmondson, work is ongoing for the canopy tour and zipline project at the park. She has hopes for the new park sign to be completed by Jan. 1 which will feature a changeable LED lighted sign to highlight special park events.

Main Street Pineville Director Jacob Roan announced that Pineville will host next year’s Kentucky Main Street Conference at PMSRP in October 2016. Roan said this is an honor and surprise to him, but will be a great way to showcase the area and tourism opportunities the area has to offer.

Kelsey Gerhardt may be reached at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.


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