Winning, Running And Flooding Inside Appalachia


One thing we know to be true about Appalachians: we love to compete. But there’s more to a competition than winning. In this week’s Inside Appalachia, we meet competitors who are also keepers of beloved regional traditions.

First, we’re headed to eastern Kentucky, where residents are reeling from thousand year floods after rainfall of roughly 16 inches. At least 37 people are dead, and hundreds of homes and businesses are destroyed. Katie Myers with the Ohio Valley ReSource reports from Whitesburg, Kentucky.

In This Episode:

Thousand Year Floods In Eastern Kentucky
Residents of eastern Kentucky are reeling after thousand year floods killed at least 37 people, destroying homes and businesses in the process. Katie Myers with the Ohio Valley ReSource reports.

Reducing Roadkill Rates In North Carolina
You can’t drive very far anywhere in Appalachia without seeing roadkill. Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains Association now have a new strategy for reducing wildlife deaths on North Carolina highways. Matt Peiken of Blue Ridge Public Radio has more.

Musgrave Reports From Mountain Mushroom Festival

Showing Off Morels

Nicole Musgrave
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Tina Caroland shows off a morel mushroom at the Mountain Mushroom Festival in Irvine, Kentucky. Caroland has demonstrated how to fry morels at the festival for about 15 years. She purchased morels for this year’s cooking demonstration because Caroland and her family were slow to find morels at the start of this season.

Have you ever heard of mushroom hunting? Every year, people take to the woods in search of mushrooms like morels — also known as ryland fish, molly moochers or hickory chickens. They’re a seasonal favorite in Appalachia, and they inspire all kinds of competition. Folkways reporter Nicole Musgrave reports from the Mountain Mushroom Festival in Irvine, Kentucky.

An Accident Of Appalachian History Led To A New Style Of Pizza

dicarlo's pizza

Zack Harold
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Primo DiCarlo single handedly, accidentally, created a brand new kind of pizza: cold cheese on a hot crust. The dish would eventually take the region by storm and come to be known as Ohio Valley Pizza or Wheeling Pizza. But more often than not, it is still called “DiCarlo’s pizza.”

In Wheeling, West Virginia, people are passionate about their pizza. People there say that an accident of history led to a new style of pizza — Appalachia’s contribution to America’s great regional pizza traditions. Folkways reporter Zack Harold visited DiCarlo’s Famous Pizza to find out more.

Brave Kids Continue Eisteddfod Tradition
In Wales, the word “Eisteddfod” refers to a traditional music competition that goes back nearly a thousand years. Immigrants brought the tradition to southern Ohio, where it has endured for generations, thanks in part to some brave kids. Folkways reporter Capri Cafaro has this story.

Going For Gold At The West Virginia Senior Sports Classic And Beyond 

carol rustin

Courtesy of Carol Rustin
Carol Rustin from Jefferson County, West Virginia is an avid runner who recently won a gold medal at the West Virginia Senior Sports Classic, qualifying her for the National Senior Games.

Carol Rustin from Jefferson County, West Virginia is an avid runner who recently won a gold medal at the West Virginia Senior Sports Classic, qualifying her for the National Senior Games. What makes her stand out is that she’s successful despite having lost her ability to see. Reporter Shepherd Snyder spoke to Rustin about her experience as a blind athlete.


What about you? What kind of competitions are happening in your neck of the woods? Maybe you know about a sport or contest we’ve never heard about. Or someone there makes pizza like nobody else. Tell us about it. Write to us at Or, you can find us @InAppalachia on Instagram and Twitter.

Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by John R Miller, Ona, Chris Stapleton and Dean Martin, a member of the famed Rat Pack who’s from Steubenville, Ohio — and an Appalachian by birth. Producer Bill Lynch wanted to make sure we mentioned that.

Alex Runyon is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram @InAppalachia.

You can also send us an email to

Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.