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Hatfields and McCoys: The Reunion They Said Would Never Happen

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Enter the year 1993 and a man named Clyde Floyd "Bo" McCoy, Jr, the great, great, great grandson of the famous Randolph McCoy. Bo McCoy was in his final year of college, 800 miles from home with no money, and was unable to make it to his grandfather's funeral. "I felt that I had dishonored my grandfather," says Bo McCoy. "I missed the funeral. I have never been able to deal with that." Bo's need to memorialize his grandfather grew into a family Web site, www.real-mccoys.com in May 1998. The site was originally intended as a "cybertavern" for family members to chat and share stories, but as Bo developed the site, he realized that he could do more. "Someone suggested that we have a reunion, and the idea was born."

As the McCoy's plans evolved, Pike County Tourism, Pikeville College, and the City of Pikeville joined the McCoys in the development of the reunion. Word about the McCoy reunion in Pikeville, Ky quickly spread to the national level. Bo McCoy extended an invitation to the Hatfields on the McCoy reunion Web site, and when the Hatfields learned about it, they wanted to join. The West Virginia Division of Tourism joined forces with the Corridor G Tourism Project to provide some funding for a Hatfield event in WV to coincide with the McCoy event in Kentucky, and the reunion of the millennium was born!

"The reasons for the Hatfield event are threefold," says Sonya Hatfield Hall, the reunion coordinator for the Hatfields, and the great, great, great granddaughter of Rev. Anderson Hatfield, the justice of the peace who held the infamous hog trial. "We want the family to get to know each other, the world to understand the facts about the feud, and to help promote tourism in hopes of diversifying the coal dominated economy of Mingo County, WV and Pike County, KY."

A combined event called the Hatfield-McCoy festival is planned to coincide with these two reunions. Two family tents will be the official sites for the Hatfield-McCoy genealogy registration. The family tents will be registering as many Hatfield-McCoy descendants as possible in an attempt to break a Guiness World record for the most family members ever gathered.

Hatfield kids (left) and McCoys (right) have a
tug of war in the yard of the Matewan school

Two heated "rematches" between the Hatfields and the McCoys are also planned; one a "friendly" game of softball, and the other a tug of war across the appropriately named Tug river. Competition between the two clans is expected to be fierce. "I think Bucky [Hatfield] and his team are there to play and win," says Bo McCoy about the softball tournament. "The McCoys are equally as committed. As to the tug of war...the Hatfields had better get some help on that one as I am a large man and I intend to be anchor for the McCoy team. My nickname is 'Large and in charge'." Sonya Hatfield puts the competition in a slightly different perspective. "I think as with all competitions, some will be out for blood, and others out for fun. I just don't want to be the one to end up in the Tug river!"

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