Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 5, 2013

Enthusiasts ride Side-by-Sides

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BRAMWELL — Click here for video

Everywhere a person looked in Bramwell on Saturday there was activity taking place. Four-wheelers outnumbered automobiles 20-1, and broad smiles emerged in Cheshire Cat-style from mud-covered faces. To quote the historic Heather O’Rourke line from the movie, Poltergeist ... “They’re here.”

Saturday was Ryan Spencer’s second visit to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System. He traveled this weekend from his home in the Greater Motor City area, near Detroit, Mich., to join several of his friends for their first ride on the Pocahontas Trail.

“Loved it,” Spencer said as he removed his helmet and smiled. “When we came down here last year, the Pocahontas Trail was closed. It was just before they were ready to open it up. We’re staying over at Ashland, so this is really close for us. It’s great!”

Can-Am was taking people out on the trail for rides on some of the company’s newest equipment. “We brought the new Can-Am Maverick and last year’s Can-Am Commander, but really, we brought all of our ATV models here this year,” Rich Haffa, district manager for Can-Am said. “This is one of our tour trucks,” he said. “Today, we’re doing a demo for the public. We do this kind of a thing all over the U.S. and Canada.”

Haffa pointed out that the ATV traffic in Bramwell is just the beginning. “Since this is my district, I go to the Gilbert Trail Fest every year. You wouldn’t believe how that event has grown,” he said. “That kind of growth brings economic growth for the entire community. You’ll see new restaurants coming in and new lodging facilities.

“The people with the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System have been wonderful to work with and everyone here in town has been awesome,” Haffa said.

Elise Torrealba and her husband, Motts, opened the Pocahontas ATV Resort last year, and started dreaming of hosting the inaugural East Coast Side-by-Side Rally at their resort on the hill between Coopers and Pocahontas, Va. They worked with the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors to gain ATV clearance to visit the streets of Pocahontas, and several riders took advantage of the opportunity.

“We started talking about it and said that all of the Side-by-Side rallies are in California or out on the West Coast,” Torrealba said. “It just came together on its own.”

She said that about 60-100 riders visited the resort on Friday, and by the looks of things, she was expecting 100 for the bon fire and spaghetti dinner Saturday night.

“A lot of friends came together to make this happen,” Torrealba said. “Everybody has been understanding about our event. They understood that there would be some confusion for our first time. This has been the nicest group I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

Torrealba and Motts started riding about five years ago. She said they have made many good friends through the years.

Patricia and Russell Synan staffed a table near the old passenger station in Pocahontas where they sold copies of Patricia’s book, “Kidd’s Country Store.”

“We’ve seen several in town,” Russell Synan said of the ATV traffic. The streets were lined with vendors, antique cars and more. The Synans said they planned to put their items away and travel to Bramwell for an afternoon of bluegrass music.

In the song, “Welcome to the Future,” Brad Paisley sings: “Wherever we were going, well, we’re here.” It was that kind of a day in Bramwell and Pocahontas.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com