Gov. Justice announces West Virginia to host major outdoor adventure and patriotism festival at Summit Bechtel Reserve on September 11th weekend

5/6/2021

West Virginia DNR’s 2021 National Hunting and Fishing Days and GNCC Racing's amateur Mountaineer Race to coincide with “Adventure On! Freedom Fest” at Summit Bechtel Reserve
GLEN JEAN, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that the Summit Bechtel Reserve in southern West Virginia will host the 2021 Adventure On! Freedom Fest – a weekend of adventure and celebration of freedom – on Sept. 10-12, 2021.

The Governor also announced that West Virginia’s renowned National Hunting and Fishing Days will also be held at the Summit the same weekend; along with several other outdoor adventure-related events that have been scheduled to coincide with the festival. Summit Events is teaming up with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and GNCC Racing to launch the nation’s most unique adventure festival.
“It is a blessing on West Virginia that is absolutely going to give us a lot of notoriety,” Gov. Justice said. “I salute so many people that have absolutely put in the licks to make this become a reality.

“The beauty of the Summit is breathtaking, and the exposure of West Virginia to the world is absolutely significant,” Gov. Justice continued. “This is truly an amazing, amazing place. It’s a real tribute to the state, and I couldn’t be any more proud.”

Gov. Justice joined officials from Summit Events, GNCC Racing, and West Virginia DNR Director Steve McDaniel for a ceremony to make the announcement.
Organizers of Adventure On! Freedom Fest say their goal is for the event to become the largest hands-on outdoor adventure expo in the United States.

“The Summit is proud to continue to play a major role in bringing leadership training, adventure, family centric entertainment, tourism, and economic development to Fayette County and southern West Virginia,” said the Summit’s Chief Development Officer, Bill Garrett, himself a West Virginia native. “Our headliner is going to be adventure. We want families, friends, supporters of the Summit to come out, see the latest and greatest new gear, try the new shotguns, ride the new motorcycles...and hopefully move forward getting people in the outdoors and sharing in our enthusiasm.”
Over this year’s three-day festival, participants will be treated to experiences on the Summit’s ziplines, canopy tours, and the nation’s third-largest shooting sports range. Wheeled sports enthusiasts will have access to over 70 miles of bike and ATV trails, and action sports fans can use the nation’s second-largest outdoor skate park and the Summit’s four BMX courses.

Guests at Freedom Fest will have the opportunity to interact with world-class athletes and engage with manufacturers and vendors to see, touch, and learn about the newest products and receive training in hunter safety, boating, and other outdoor skills. Participants will have the ability to shoot, drive, cast, ride, and otherwise get hands-on time with the newest products.

Exhibitors will include national and local companies with the likes of Benelli, Remington, Polaris, Savage Arms, Specialized, Cabela’s/Bass Pro, NWTF, The National Park Service, Friends of the NRA, and West Virginia University, with many more joining every day.

West Virginia’s celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days – the largest hunting and fishing expo in the state – will also be held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve as part of Adventure On! Freedom Fest, and will feature big buck and trophy fish displays, hundreds of hunting and fishing vendors, and several family-friendly activities like outdoor youth challenges and more.

“Hunting and fishing are very important to the State of West Virginia,” DNR Director Steve McDaniel said. “It’s almost half-a-billion dollars per year that hunting and fishing provide in West Virginia. National Hunting and Fishing Days is how we celebrate that. We do it every fall. We’re really excited for the opportunity to bring it down to the Summit this year because it’s just a beautiful facility.
“Bringing this event down here is going to be wonderful for the event and wonderful for the people of West Virginia,” Director McDaniel continued. “It’s going to give a lot of people the opportunity to see just what we do in West Virginia; the hunting and shooting and fishing sports we celebrate.”

Additionally, the weekend will include a GNCC Amateur Motocross race called The Mountaineer Race.

GNCC Racing, based in Morgantown, WV, runs the nation’s premier off-road motorcycle, ATV, and e-mountain bike races. The organization places an emphasis on providing camaraderie and a family atmosphere during its events.
“We are super excited to be here,” said Tim Cotter, GNCC Event Director and West Virginia native. “We think this is the best place on Earth. We get to go to a lot of places around these United States and around the world, and there is no better venue than what we have here at the Summit. It’s only fitting that GNCC comes here, to the most beautiful spot in West Virginia, to do what we love to do: be outdoors, race on the most rugged terrain the Lord has given us, and honor our Veterans.”
Freedom Fest also will coincide with West Virginia’s Gauley Season and precede the Mountain Bike World Cup at Snowshoe Resort. 

On Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 – the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks – the Summit will host a free concert for first responders, active and retired military, and law enforcement officers. At the concert’s conclusion the event will “Let Freedom Ring” with a light show and fireworks display as a tribute to those who have sacrificed so much over the last 20 years.

The Adventure On! Freedom Fest will serve as the kickoff to the Summit Bechtel Reserve’s Adventure On! series and will be one of three similar events held over the coming years at the Summit. Organizers are working to launch an Adventure On! Action Sports Fest in 2022 and an Adventure On! Music Fest in 2023.

“There are so many things that are going to happen here, it’s unbelievable,” Gov. Justice said.

Over the past several years, the Summit Bechtel Reserve has served as a Jamboree and high adventure base for the Boy Scouts of America. The Summit is a world-class venue for large-scale events such as music concerts, cultural festivals, science expositions, television productions, sports tournaments, and spectator events; all set in the curated natural environment of a 14,000-acre adventure resort adjacent to America’s newest national park; the New River National Park and Preserve.
The Summit boasts AT&T Stadium, an 80,000-seat natural amphitheater for concerts and shows, plus 28,750 feet of zip lines, 130 rock climbing stations, 45 rappelling stations, the nation’s third-largest shooting range, world-class fiber optic and Wi-Fi, and 307 permanent shower and restroom facilities. On-site accommodations include a 41-room lodge, dorm style accommodations, safari tents, and plenty of room for RV and tent camping. The Summit is also known as an incubator and innovation site, featuring the Thomas S. Monson Leadership Excellence Complex, the Rex Tillerson Leadership Center, and the J.W. Marriott Jr. Leadership Center, and has partnerships with local lodging providers for major events.

“A good while back, this was a dream. The whole idea of bringing the Scouts right here; it was hard to imagine that would ever happen,” Gov. Justice said. “But this dream, right here, of this place, it became a reality. And now that it’s a reality, we need to perpetuate it, and that’s what’s happening right in front of you right here.”
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Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

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