Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 27, 2013

Cruz In to Pocahontas on May 4 for cars, racing, games and pancakes galore

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Roy Rogers might say about Pocahontas — it’s time to hit the trail. Bobby Baker would sure agree with him and we’re talking about the new Spearhead Trail for ATV enthusiasts that will connect Pocahontas along with Bramwell and branch out into northeastern Tazewell County. This trail, along with the existing Hatfield-McCoy venue already growing across southern West Virginia, promises a new recreational opportunity not only for the riders but for local businesses which can serve the visitors.

Saturday, May 4, is the big day for all kinds of transportation in Pocahontas. The annual Cruz-In Car Show and flea market along with the 30th Indian Run road race for people will take place in the historic old coalfield capital where the first car of coal headed off for Norfolk back in 1883.

There will be plenty of cars staying in town next Saturday and, as always, the first 50 vehicles to enter the Cruz-In event will receive a dash plaque. It’s a great place to see some of the neatest rides around and the show car enthusiasts always enjoy the whole day. John Murphy and the Bluefield Captain D’s from right here on Bluefield Avenue always help with that popular event. Bobby and his helpers will be in town at daybreak to help vendors set up for the flea market, which is always a very popular part of the program.

Many communities and organizations in Four Seasons Country sponsor road races these days but the famed Indian Run was one of the first and it was a part of the great Pocahontas Coalfield Centennial Celebration, an area-wide event in honor of the first 100 years of mining. What a wonderful time that was and the opening run was a jewel in the crown. I remember covering that event and standing on the corner of Center and Church Streets when the very first winner ran past us.

That young man’s name was George Brown, of Richlands. George is now the secondary education supervisor for Tazewell County Schools and although he does not run a regular schedule on the races anymore, he probably has more trophies than just about anyone in the area for his great accomplishments over the years. He set the early standard for a lot of local runners and I would not be surprised to see my friend somewhere on the course next week.

The Indian Run has segments for all age groups and covers not only the historic town area but extends up toward the Exhibition Coal Mine and Peel Chestnut Mountain. It is not only a competitive test for the participants but a great way to travel over the very ground where much of our local economy began to grow generations before we were born.

One of my favorite parts of the day is the food, of course. Bobby says the annual Lions Club Pancake Breakfast will begin at 7 p.m. at the Methodist Church and for a nominal fee the cakes, sausage, syrup and juice will begin flowing. Naturally, after I eat the big old tasty breakfast that will give me a good excuse to just stand and watch the Indian Runners go by. I must confess, that works every year!

So many of the Lions members, including (but not limited to) Bobby, Frankie Rodriguez, Ken Franklin, Toby Barbour, Gene Ward, Russell Synan, and president Arthur Scott, have been working hard for months to coordinate the big weekend activity. Much of the proceeds go toward funding club projects like the Community Assistance Program and the Vision Impaired program which assists with providing eye glasses and other help to those in need with vision concerns.

This time also kicks off the 125th anniversary of the founding of the town of Bramwell and halfway between the two great towns is the Pocahontas ATV resort which is slated to be hosting what has been termed the inaugural East Coast SXS (Side by Side) Rally. There may be as many as 200 ATV enthusiasts in the area so expect a great crowd and if you are interested in becoming a rider on this great trail then next Saturday should be a great time to check out all the information.

Tazewell County Administrator Jim Spencer and other local officials have been working overtime in recent months to put the trail package together and it certainly sounds like this coming weekend will be a good jump start for the activity. In addition, there may be a quartet of Little League teams in town to play some games at the nearby Joe Hill Ball Park in Pocahontas so the activities just keep on coming for this great day. There will be concessions near Laurel Meadows Park featuring everything from hot dogs to nachos with cheese and plenty of cold drinks to go around. The motto of the Lions Club is “We Serve” and in Pocahontas on May 4 those fine folks are doing just that — serving up a great time that will likely include cars, food, road racing, ball games, and a great introduction for the Spearhead Trail experience.

Let’s get there early.

Larry Hypes, a teacher at Tazewell High School, is a Daily Telegraph columnist.