September 10, 2017 - West Virginia's Brushfork Armory is already a busy place as crews have started setting up exhibits for the 22nd Biennial Bluefield Coal Show, which officially gets under way Wednesday.
The show, set for Sept. 13-15, will have about 195 exhibitors, said Josh Cline, president and CEO of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, hosts of the show.
“Everything is swimming right along,” he said. “The majority of the setups will take place Monday and Tuesday, but the larger exhibitors, like Joy Global, have already come in and started.”
The show, which brings together coal industry professionals from all aspects of the industry and related services, attracts thousands of people in the industry.
“The show is not open to the public, but local businesses benefit from the show,” he said, adding that area hotels are already booked and people started coming in last week.
“Some setup crews came on Thursday and will stay through next Saturday,” he said. “It has an incredible economic impact in the area. Everyone benefits from the show.”
Cline said he is keeping an eye on the weather, but the latest forecast show Hurricane Irma veering away from this region.
“We are looking at the weather and we see a little bit of rain,” he said. “But we’ve had rain before, so we can handle it.”
Cline said a lot of work goes into putting on the show, and could not be done without the community’s help.
“We are very thankful for the number of volunteers who make this possible,” he said. “And we are thankful for Mr. Peters (Charlie Peters, who has been general chairman of the show since 1976) for his leadership. The people in this area who come together make this show a success.”
The show will officially open Wednesday morning with the Media Appreciation Breakfast at the armory with Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, the keynote speaker.
The breakfast is followed by the opening ceremonies/ribbon-cutting for the show.
“He (Quinn) will provide a forecast and in-depth analysis on the state of the industry for members of the industry,” Cline said.
Bill Reid, with Coal News/Coal Zoom, will chair several technical seminars with representatives across the industry providing new details on methods, trends and designs for a safer and more productive coal industry, he added.
“A number of hands-on demonstrations, a high level of networking opportunity, and several technical seminars continue to make this the premier industry show for the coal industry east of the Mississippi River,” said Peters. “It truly is a coal show for coal people.”
Those attending will be shuttled from Mitchell Stadium to the armory because all the space at the armory including the parking lot will be used for the show.
Attendees at the show will include coal operators, superintendents, company presidents, mine foremen, engineers, purchasing agents, chemical workers, belt coordinators, maintenance managers, technical and service personnel, and other members of the industry.
Crews begin to move in heavy machinery to the 2017 Bluefield Coal Show at the Brushfork National Guard Armory on Friday, September 8.