Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 1, 2013

Back of the Dragon great draw for area

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — I am writing in follow up to the story recently published in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph regarding Back of the Dragon Day, which was held on June 1 in Tazewell, Va.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Back of the Dragon, the name signifies Route 16 between Tazewell and Marion, Va., connecting our region with Interstate 81. The route is a challenging, fun-to-drive road that draws car and motorcycle aficionados from all over the country. It is fast becoming an excellent tourist draw for our region.

The purpose for this communication is to draw attention to the article that stated “hundreds” appeared for Back of the Dragon Day, an event sponsored by local businesses and put on by the individuals who have been proponents and supporters of Back of the Dragon since day one — Mr. Larry Davidson, Mr. John Davidson and Mr. Danny Addison. As an attendant, it was my observation that this event was hugely successful and a tremendous boost to the local economy. Anecdotal stories abound revealing the huge number of attendees and the impact on the local economy. One of my favorite stories is that local restaurants actually ran out of food on the day of the event. There were outstanding musical performers, a phenomenal motorcycle show, vendors everywhere and professional freestyle motocross riders performing right in Tazewell County. It was impressive ... and it was free.

My point? There were substantially more attendees and participants at the event — not merely hundreds. The performers were fantastic, the environment was incredible, and the vendors, participants and attendees had a wonderful time.

Tourism is an industry that holds continuing, untapped potential for economic growth for Tazewell County. Tazewell County and surrounding areas are some of the most scenic, beautiful areas in the country.

Back of the Dragon is just one of many potential tourist attractions that could be developed with time, investment, elbow grease and promotion. I would respectfully request that future coverage assist with the promotion component of those elements and that the newspapers of our area assist not just Back of the Dragon, but all tourism projects with generating positive energy, excitement and awareness.

Bradley C. Ratliff

Cedar Bluff, Va.