West Virginia Days at the Capitol: Adventure Travel & Motorsports

Motorized recreation vehicles were on display at the West Virginia state capitol as part of the Adventure Travel Day, which SEMA participated in recently. WV Legislative Photography, photo by Will Price.


The motorized outdoor recreation community descended on Charleston, West Virginia, to participate in 2024 Adventure Travel Day hosted in the state capitol on Friday, February 16. West Virginia State Senator Mark Maynard and the West Virginia Country Roads Coalition gathered more than 40 national, state and local organizations, businesses and state agencies to discuss the importance of motorized recreation to the state's economy.

SEMA spent the day engaging on the importance of preserving and expanding access to motorized recreation in West Virginia and its economic impact on the automotive community around the state, which was backed by "SEMA's 2023 Economic Impact Report," which found our industry adds $1.3 billion and more than 5,000 jobs in the mountain state.

West Virginia Adventure Travel Day WV Senator Mark Maynard
West Virginia State Senator Mark Maynard spoke during the Adventure Travel Day at the state capitol. WV Legislative Photography, photo by Perry Bennett.

The event began by covering the capitol grounds with a slice of the motorized community with displays of overland rigs, Jeeps, trucks, UTVs and motorcycles. Participants set up in the capitol's rotunda to discuss their organization or business interest in the adventure economy of the state with lawmakers, and the event wrapped up with a discussion among the participants and representatives from the WV Economic Development Authority, WV Tourism Office, Department of Highways, Division of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and State Parks.

In addition to the economic benefit from our industry, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that outdoor recreation generated $1.6 billion and employed over 20,000 people in West Virginia in 2022, with off-roading and motorcycling being in the top three industries in the state. Over the last few years, the state has invested resources into boosting adventure tourism to help lift rural gateway communities across the state that attract people from around the country to enjoy the delights of Appalachia. The event comes after the West Virginia Department of Tourism traveled thousands of miles to Las Vegas for the SEMA Show to help attract the motorized recreation community to the benefits of access to motorized recreation across many miles of country and mountain roads.

"SEMA thanks Senator Maynard for including us in the Adventure Travel Day and the state legislators for supporting the lifestyle and hobby of the automotive industry," said Christian Robinson, SEMA senior director of state government affairs and grassroots. Senator Maynard is a SEMA-supported State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus member and won the 2018 Stephen B. McDonald Legislator of the Year Award.


West Virginia Motorsports Day

While the engines have quieted, the reverberations of the 2024 Motorsports Day at the West Virginia Capitol persist.

Held on Friday, February 23, the event brought together industry professionals, elected officials, and state agencies, serving as a platform for collaboration, education, and the celebration of motorsports' significant contributions to the Mountain State.

Delegates from West Virginia present proclamation
Left to Right: Erik Hubbard, Back Roads of Appalachia; Delegate Gary Howell; AK Whatley, Chaos Motorsports; Delegate Wayne Clark; Maria Whatley, Chaos Motorsports.

In the State Capitol Rotunda, over 30 businesses and vendors, including SEMA and PRI, showcased the diverse landscape of West Virginia's motorsports scene. Meanwhile, outside the Capitol, more than 30 racing vehicles displayed the pinnacle of motorsports engineering and design. Notably, Chaos Motorsports' AK Whatley received legislative recognition for completing the grueling 2024 King of the Hammers event.

Throughout the day, attendees engaged in open discussions and networking, fostering collaboration and identifying avenues for growth with government officials and peers.

"Participating in West Virginia Motorsports Day is vital for SEMA and PRI," said Christian Robinson, SEMA senior director of state government affairs and grassroots. "It afforded us direct connections with industry-driving businesses. Through events like these, we can foster collaboration, advocate for the future of motorsports, and celebrate its positive impact on communities in West Virginia."