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Backroads of Appalachia hosts MINI Cooper ride to give back to Harlan County tourism

Published: Apr. 10, 2021 at 7:24 PM EDT
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HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - While not a sight that one would typically see, dozens of MINI Coopers gathered in the early morning hours on Saturday ready to take off.

“Their purpose is to explore all of eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia,” Erik Hubbard said. “Enjoy the trails and the curvy roads we have to offer but the most important thing is they’re going to spend their hard-earned dollar.”

The Backroads of Appalachia hosted an all-day ride through the mountains in an effort to give back to local communities and promote tourism in the area.

“Harlan County is a special place to me, especially the Tri-City area just because (of) what it used to be to what it is now,” Hubbard said. “We have an infrastructure here that can be designed for tourism and we’re proving that point.”

Hubbard said the goal is to inspire others to do the same.

“It feels good. We were in the stores last night, I bought something I would maybe never have bought because I would like to contribute,” Joan Kessel said. “I’d rather do that than give it to Amazon.”

Which in turn, makes the effort all worth it.

“The work to make it happen was worth it just for that,” Hubbard said. “At the same time, to watch them spend their money was even better.”

Kessel said that coming to Eastern Kentucky helps carry on a tradition that she and her friends have had for quite some time.

“We’ve done this with MINI Coopers for years in all different parts of the country from Portland, Oregon to New York to Florida,” Kessel said.

Even locals are encouraging those interested to get involved.

“Come and do it,” Wisehaupt said. “Come on, talk to other MINI people that have been here and let’s do it.”

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