Hatfield, McCoy would feud over financial windfall - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Hatfield, McCoy would feud over financial windfall

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They still wouldn't get along.

‘Devil' Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy would even disagree about the publicity and revenue generated this summer by a History Channel mini-series about the deadly dispute between their families, according to a feud expert.

"They were day and night," Bill Richardson summarized about the long-standing confrontation that started shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War.

One bank of the Tug River probably would find Hatfield attempting to cash in on the feud. The other would more than likely see McCoy shaking his head in disgust.

"I think ‘Devil' Anse would roll with the punches because he was very much that sort of a person," said Richardson, a Mingo County native and West Virginia University employee charged with the task of developing the area's economy.

"He would laugh about it and figure out a way to turn it into a benefit for himself. He was very much an entrepreneur and dabbled in so many types of businesses during his life. He would say ‘wonder how I could make some money out of this.'"

McCoy, on the other hand, would be bitter.

"Randall would just be flabbergasted by the whole thing," Richardson speculated about the patriarch of the Pike County, Ky., clan. "He was sort of the opposite and came out on the short end of everything throughout the feud. He was basically penniless."

While Richardson has been working on economic development projects for more than a decade, this year's record-setting TV coverage provided the kind of national attention that could not be bought.

Soon, related websites were being bombarded with hits and tourists started arriving by the hundreds from New York to Florida.

Originating in Williamson, a regular schedule of narrated bus trips takes tourists to various feud sites in both states. Shootouts, romance, murder and burial sites – visitors flock to most anything Hatfield or McCoy.

"Every tour we've had is sold out," he noted. "Capacity has been maxed. Even on a week day, we have dozens and dozens of people who are going to the feud sites in Mingo, Logan and Pike County, and on the weekends it's hundreds.

"I think it's safe to say the economic impact of this will be in the millions and it's benefiting the whole state, not just our part."

While interest has leveled off somewhat, enthusiasm continues to be high.

"The tsunami of tourists we got was beyond our expectations," said Richardson. "When it hit, the big question was could we handle it. Our chambers and CVBs added extra hours, hired extra people, reordered brochures and T-shirts multiple times. We had elected officials and government employees responding to late-night calls and coming through in record time. Without that, this would have been a disaster and not the huge success it was.

"It has been amazing how everyone has pulled together to meet the challenge of this huge influx of tourists. The city and county elected officials in Mingo and Logan and the CVBs and Chambers all jumped in to make sure our visitors had a good experience while they were here."

Remaining $15, three-hour church bus trips are Oct. 20. The concept is to keep tour prices minimal so guests will have more money to spend at area restaurants, shops and hotels.

"I tell the groups, ‘You know we're not fancy folks, but we're going to make sure you have a good time,'" he said.

Richardson has worked with such shows as "American Pickers" and "Pawn Stars." He is already focusing on the next project, a pilot episode for a reality TV series.

"We've got to keep the ball rolling, and that means new products, new activities for people to do, upgrading the brochures, marketing and site development," he said. "We have long-term goals. We don't want to be a flash in the pan."



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