Every year the West Virginia Coal Festival showcases mining equipment vendors from around the state. It offers manufacturers the opportunity to show their latest and best performing equipment to mine operators and miners.
The Festival also offers non-miners the chance to see a side of mining which is often hidden from them. This display is the only place in the country where the family, friends, and neighbors of a miner can see what he/she does. It’s exciting for their children to climb on the equipment operating decks to play and have photographs taken. It is a place that older miners call their annual reunion. They can also learn about the newest equipment and technology from the next generations on the job. The younger miners can trade stories with the older ones and listen to their advice.
From roof bolters to water pumps, all are on display. Individuals can do more than simply view the equipment. They can touch it, sit in it, photograph it, and ask questions of the people who build and operate each piece.
Fletcher Mining Equipment and Joy Mining Machinery have been with the Festival for nearly the entire 21 years it has been held. This year will be no different. Joy will bring a continuous miner for the display. Fletcher will have a roof bolter.
Fletcher, located in Huntington, has called West Virginia home since 1947. The company is a world leader in design and manufacture of roof drills, bolters, scaling machines, drill jumbos and specialty equipment that improve safety and productivity in underground mines. Their operation has expanded many times since then and currently has approximately 153,901 square feet of manufacturing space and 28,000 square feet of office space. This 75 year old company is the largest manufacturer in West Virginia and sends its products to mines all over the world.
Joy Global Inc. is a worldwide mining machinery and services company. Through its divisions — P&H Mining Equipment and Joy Mining Machinery - the company manufactures underground and surface mining equipment and offers related backup services. P&H Mining Equipment (Surface Mining) and Joy Mining Machinery are specialists in the design, manufacture, distribution, and servicing of mining machinery and equipment. The products are used for the mining of coal, copper, iron, gold and other mineral resources.
Other companies are bringing machinery of every size and shape. A. L. Lee Corporation will have a rock duster and man trip. A scoop bucket and shuttle car boom will be brought by Carpenter’s Repair, Inc. Battery scoop, service trucks, belt cleaners, and a vacuum breaker panel will also be on exhibit. Wallace Diesel Mining Equipment is bringing a mantrip, the shuttle for transporting miners down into an underground mine.
Whayne-Walker Underground will have an underground display structure. This will allow people who have never visited an underground mine to have that experience.
In addition to being on display, the equipment also has a practical purpose. One of the Festival highlights is the annual Grand Parade held on Saturday. The machines are used as parade vehicles to bring dignitaries such as the Grand Marshall and the Parade Marshall through town. This trip shows the maneuverability of the equipment and often demonstrates a flexibility which surprises most bystanders.
“We want people to understand the mining industry and the difficulty of the work” said Jimbo Clendenin, Display Coordinator. “Once you see it, you will appreciate the work these men and women do and the electricity they provide for us and many others.”