Tuesday morning, players, coaches and athletes around the state got some good news that there will be a fall sports season this year.

But with that, one mountain tradition that has existed since 1984 will not take place this year.

This season would’ve ben the 36th Annual Community Trust Bank/WYMT Pike County Bowl, but since the COVID-19 outbreak changed the outlook of the season, the Pike County Bowl will not be played this season. This is the first time in event history that it has had to have been canceled.

The bowl first started in 1984 with Pikeville and Belfry participating.

Since then, the bowl has grown to a two-night event featuring all six of the Pike County schools.

The Pike County Bowl has donated nearly a million dollars to the school systems since its inception.

The bowl also awards a Pike County Bowl Queen and a scholarship for her as well.

It is usually the biggest regular season event teams compete in each year.

The Pike County Bowl was originally scheduled to take place August 28 at Belfry as Phelps and East Ridge were going to do battle and Mingo Central and Belfry were going to have their first-ever meeting.

Community Trust Bank released this official statement about the cancellation of the 36th Annual Community Trust Bank/WYMT Pike County Bowl.

Here is the official press release from Community Trust Bank:

Out of concern for the well-being and safety of students, teachers, volunteers, fans, and local  communities — and with the recent restructuring of football schedules by the Kentucky and West Virginia High School Athletic Associations — the Community Trust Bank WYMT-TV Pike County Bowl Committee, at their meeting held July 30, 2020, has cancelled the annual Pike County Bowl games which had been set for August 28 and August 29, 2020.  At their July 28, 2020 meeting, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) changed the high school     football game schedule, cancelling the first three games and beginning competition on      September 11, 2020.

This announcement is following the increased and overwhelming concerns in the community     due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  “We felt this that was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented time,” said Brett Keene, Community Trust Bank Pikeville Market President and Pike County Bowl Committee member. “Community Trust Bank is disappointed that the well known football tradition in Eastern Kentucky will not happen this year for local fans and supporters.”

Over the past 35 years, 54 schools’ teams have played 116 football games in the Pike County Bowl.  Community Trust Bank and WYMT-TV financially support the Pike County Bowl, allowing the proceeds of the games to be donated to all Pike County, Kentucky high schools.  These donations to the Pike County, Kentucky high schools total more than $926,000 over the past 35 years.

“Please know that Community Trust Bank remains committed to supporting our local schools and communities,” said Mark A. Gooch, President and CEO of Community Trust Bank, Inc.  “We     thank everyone who has supported the annual Community Trust Bank WYMT-TV Pike County  Bowl games over the years and look forward to bringing you Bowl Games in 2021.”

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