WV Governor Changes Tune On Roadkill Festival

Marlinton, WV – In 2009, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin was accused of making disparaging remarks about the Roadkill Cook Off, an annual event in Pocahontas County for almost 20 years. A Newsweek reporter claimed that Manchin was upset because he says the festival perpetuates the stereotypical hillbilly image of the state. The Governor denied making any such statement and perhaps to prove it, made the festival one of his stops as he and a small entourage toured the state by motorcycle this past Saturday. He not only stopped in Marlinton for the Roadkill Cook Off, he sampled some of the dishes.

“First of all, let me say Thank You, thank you, thank you for keeping this tradition alive” says Manchin “and people from all over the country, all over the world are coming here. And I started out with some frog legs; I had deer meat and some pork over here, if it was there I got it.”

While at the festival Governor Manchin made a presentation to Marlinton Mayor Dennis Driscoll.

“I’m here today for a presentation to Mayor Driscoll” he says. “I want to thank this little town for it does for our state. I brought an official flag of the State of West Virginia; it’s flown over capital and I want to make sure that Mayor Driscoll. Thank all of you; have a great time, spend all the money you can while you’re here, we’ll enjoy it, we appreciate it, we need it!”

Jim VanReenan, of the Scottish Rite Temple also presented an American Flag to Mayor Driscoll. Both flags will fly over the site of the Marlinton Train Depot.

The Roadkill Cook Off has garnered international attention over the years. In fact the crowd on Saturday included visitors from New Zealand who’ve relocated to Baltimore and a reporter from New York City covering the festival for a Norwegian newspaper.

There were of course, other events going on this past Saturday during the Autumn Harvest Festival, held in conjunction with the Cook Off. A wide variety of arts and crafts vendors, and local civic groups did a rousing business. Over next to the Opera House, people were invited to try their hand at the lumberjack sport of axe throwing. Opera House Vista Jamie Poster is something of an expert in the sport from her days at Colby College.

“It was one of those things, it was a big puzzle and I couldn’t get it at first and it took me a while” says Poster. “And then I was the three time Northeastern Collegiate Conclave Axe Throw Champion.”

The Festivities continued into the evening with the Hammons Family Musical Heritage Celebration. Several musicians were on hand to celebrate the jam of traditional mountain music.

One of the highlights of the evening was the drawings for the WVMR-FM raffles. A Jean Jackson afghan went to Sue Groves of Hillsboro. A Norma Mikesell quilt was won by Judy Baker of Hillsboro. The last raffle item was a custom made Bill Hefner guitar, valued at $2200.00. Hefner himself announced the winner Saturday night.

“It gives me great pleasure to give this guitar on the behalf of WVMR and Allegheny Mountain Radio to one of the best guitar players around, Mr. Terry Richardson – congratulations” said Hefner.

In gratitude, Richardson played a little tune for crowd on his new guitar.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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