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County shows interest in hosting gravel road rally

Fiscal Court meets in regular session

By Eugenia Jones

If Fiscal Court gives the go ahead to allowing a Gravel Road Stage Rally here in late April, McCreary County’s next tourism venue may well be on the county’s backroads. 

During this month’s regular Fiscal Court meeting (January 13, 2022), magistrates listened to a presentation from rally sport enthusiasts Matt Earl and Bernie Obrey.  The two were joined by a young McCreary County native who is also knowledgeable of the sport, Josh Redden, and his grandmother, Judy Redden.

After surveying some of the County’s backroads, Obrey and Earl said they are very impressed with the many isolated gravel roads located in McCreary County.  Some of the roads surveyed include isolated gravel roads in the Big Rock Creek, Little Rock Creek, Dead Ox Hollow, and Cowhorn areas. The potential organizers emphasized they want to race on roads where there will be minimal inconvenience to property owners.  The two noted there will be a major emphasis on safety with organizers coordinating  with local first responders. 

Rally racing is typically a family oriented sport with spectator areas established at specific locations.  A service area for the cars is established-if hosted here in McCreary County, possibly at the County Park in Whitley City or in Stearns.

If McCreary County does host the proposed Gravel Road Rally, organizers expect there to be approximately thirty participants with each participant bringing 3-4 additional visitors to the event with them.  Traditionally, rally racing has significant economic impact for host locations as the two day events bring a large number of visitors needing food, lodging, fuel, and supplies from local auto part stores.

According to, “Stage Rally consists of a series of timed races, called stages. A stage is anywhere from one to twenty five miles long. The roads are closed to the public, and each competitor starts one minute after the next. Thus the challenge is driving the road, not rubbing wheel to wheel with your competitors.”

Soon after receiving a finalized event plan, including a listing of roads to be used and insurance documentation, Fiscal Court is expected to approve/disapprove the Gravel Road Stage Rally.

In other business, 

the Fiscal Court:

• Approved hires for 911 and detention transport.

• Approved a resolution for 911 Director, Jimmy Barnett to submit a grant to replace radio consoles.

• Accepted bid for ambulance remount.

• Approved a cost-of-living increase for Jailer/Chief Transport Officer, Jessie Hatfield.

• Approved payments from Community Development Block Grants.

Additionally, Fiscal Court heard updates and reports including the following:

• Alcohol Beverage Control collected $8,066.88 in regulatory fees and taxes in December.  Merchants took in $165,117.58.

• Tourism sent $1,202 in donations with a twelve ft. trailer and pick-up truck loaded with donations from McCreary County residents to victims of the western Kentucky tornadoes.  Tourism collected $1,207.84 in transient taxes in December.

• Tax administrator Stephanie Taylor collected $69,041.90 in occupation taxes in December.

• EMS Director Jimmy Barnett reported 435 runs for EMS in December.  For the year, Barnett reported 198 more COVID-19 runs in 2021 in comparison to 2020.  Barnett also suggested the Fiscal Court devise a different system to assign wrecker services when tows are needed by vehicles involved in accidents, etc.  Currently, the wreckers are assigned in alternating order by a computer through 911.  Barnett said recently 911 had all ambulances and fire departments out on runs and he was dealing with a complaint about who had been assigned to a tow.  Barnett said 911 does not need to be distracted by these types of complaints and asked the Court to develop a new system rather than relying on 911 and their computer generated system.

• Economic Director Nathan Nevels noted nine additional McCreary Countians were recently hired through the Teleworks program.  Another free Teleworks class with job fair will be conducted in February.  Nevels asked anyone interested in the class to call him at the courthouse or contact him on Facebook.

• Magistrate Bill Hale said he has received several calls complimenting the work of the road crews during recent snow storms.  Hale extended his compliments to the crews for jobs well done.

The McCreary County Fiscal Court meets in regular session on the second Thursday of each month at 6:00 at the McCreary County Courthouse.

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