Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 14, 2013

Back of the Dragon now a tourism zone in Tazewell

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — State Route 16 in Tazewell County is now a new tourism zone.

The tourism zone designation for the area, also known as the Back of the Dragon, was approved Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors.

“We did conduct a public hearing on establishing a tourism zone along the Route 16 section in Thompson Valley,” Mike Hymes, the southern District member of the county Board of Supervisors, said. “This part of the route is referred to as the Back of the Dragon,”

Hymes said no one spoke in objection to the tourism zone designation during Tuesday’s public hearing.

“This is positive news for that area and should incentivize business development along the corridor,” Hymes said.  

The Back of the Dragon is a unique 32-mile motorcycle ride between Tazewell and Marion on Route 16. It attracted between 6,000 to 8,000 visitors to Tazewell County last year.

The unique regional ride has several sharp turns along the way with three mountain climbs that represent the so-called humps on the dragon’s back — hence the name the Back of the Dragon.

Larry Davidson, of Drag-a-Knee Inc., came up with the idea for the Back of the Dragon in late 2011. He then presented the idea to the supervisors at that time, who, in return, agreed to adopt the regional Back of the Drag designation.