Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 15, 2014

Weekend-long Back of the Dragon event kicks off in Tazewell

TAZEWELL, Va. — Chrome sparkled in the sun, motorcycle engines rumbled and bands played Saturday as the fourth Back of the Dragon continued in Tazewell County.

Bikers and local vendors converged at Tazewell High School for a variety of activities including a parade, a motorcycle show and performances by local bands. Larry Davidson, one of the vice presidents for Drag-A-Knee Inc. said the festival was doing well.

“Very good, going good,” he said in the food vendor’s area above the high school’s stadium. “We’ve had a lot of people coming and going, and riding, and coming to eat and listen to the music.”

Back of the Dragon has grown continuously since it started four years ago, Davidson said. Tazewell County, the town of Tazewell,Va., and different motorcycle organizations keep working together to improve it.

The Back of the Dragon concludes today with the Jimmy Ramey Memorial Run organized by the Tazewell County ABATE Chapter. The ride honors the late Jimmy Ramey Jr. who was a major supporter of community activities including motorcycle riding. His son, Corbin Ramey, said his father’s friends organized the event.

“It was all Jimmy’s friends, not the family, and we’re all appreciative of it,” Corbin Ramey said. He added that he plans to attend Sunday’s memorial ride with his sisters Carley Parker and Ella. Jimmy Ramey Jr. supported events like Back of the Dragon because they helped make the local economy stronger. The memorial ride begins at 1 p.m.

“I think it’s been a great thing to bring people in from different places,” said Pam Meade, executive director of the Tazewell Area Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve had a lot of inquires from people about area restaurants and businesses.”

Saturday morning’s Back of the Dragon events opened with a parade that started at the Tazewell County Fairgrounds, went through downtown Tazewell, and concluded at the high school, Meade said. The winning float was from Heritage Hall.

Not far from the vendors, visitors could inspect a gleaming variety of motorcycles with dazzling paint and chrome. One owner, Larry Stanton of Radford, Va., offered a ride on his bright silver Honda Goldwing Trike. During a quick trip of a mile or so, he pointed out how motorcycle riders see, and even smell, much more of the surrounding countryside than anybody in a car; of course, riders have to be especially alert. While riders can make mistakes, most motorcycle crashes occur when a motorist fails to see the cycle.

“Back of the Dragon is smoother and has steeper turns,” Stanton said when comparing the route to others he had experienced. “Back of the Dragon is probably the best motorcycle ride if you’re careful.”

Riding motorcycles and ATVs will become an even bigger part of Tazewell County when the new Spearhead Trail opens, said David Woodard, tourism coordinator for Tazewell County. Woodard was operating a booth at Back of the Dragon.

The new ATV trail will have a positive impact on communities like Pocahontas, Va., said Chuck Riedhammer, executive director of the Spearhead Trail.

“We’re very excited about the fact it will have a very positive impact on Pocahontas very soon,” Riedhammer said. The fact Bramwell and the Pocahontas Trail, part of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail, will be close to Pocahontas will make the trail even bigger.

“Pocahontas and Bramwell will have this critical mass of ATV trails. It will be an ATV mecca,” he said.

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