The 99 Squared

The 99 Squared is a health and fitness competition that is known as “North America’s longest stair-climbing race”. Scheduled for May 19 at the University of Pikeville, individuals and teams of stair climbers will attempt to climb “The 99”, 99 times. Registration for this event will be opening at 12:30 p.m. And will be $25 for teams, $20 for individuals. The competition will begin at 1:00 p.m.

History of the 99

The construction of the 99 Steps occurred sometime in the 1930s. They began as the “88,” or the “Steps to Knowledge.” The 1947 yearbook mentions 90 in a poem:

Up and Down

Ninety steps to college

Lead up from the town,

Ninety steps to learn

To culture and renown.

We hurry up to eight o’clock

But loiter coming down!

In the 1964 yearbook, they are referred to as the “89 Steps.” As construction on and off campus changed the mountainside, the steps were changed to accommodate the distance. With the addition of Hambley Boulevard, the number of steps stayed at 99 until the construction of the Coal Building and the remodel of the entryway. The Pikeville College Arch, which was installed by 1962, stood at the base of the steps until the institution’s name changed to the University of Pikeville. During the remodel, the school removed the arch from the entryway and reinstalled it at the top of the steps leading to the Frank M. Allara Library. On July 1, 2011, the Alumni Association dedicated this arch as a symbol of the history of this institution. According to the event:

The Pikeville College arch once spanned the 99 Steps from downtown Pikeville to the campus on the hill. An arch serves as a gateway and offers an opportunity to enter a new place, which provides an initiation to a new experience. Throughout the years, many students, faculty, staff, and supportive individuals who believed in the mission of this institution walked under this arch to trek to the campus on the hill and the opportunities offered here to embark on a new experience.

Click here to visit the University of Pikeville’s “The 99 History” page.

If the Tug Could Talk: Floating, Fishing & Folklore along the Tug River

In 2018, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife produced a video and article that explores the Tug River, infamously known for being the dividing line between the feuding Hatfields and McCoys. There are many other stories to be told along the tug as well, with the river flowing to the town of Matewan, known for being the site of a labor uprising that resulted in the “Matewan Massacre”. These heart-wrenching stories are only pieces of a much broader and colorful heritage, and suit this rugged yet beautiful landscape that outdoor enthusiasts crave.

Floating Tug Fork explores outdoor activities along the storied Tug Fork River of Kentucky and West Virginia.

Big Fish & Rich History

Blue Water Trails

Paddling the eastern borderlands in search of big fish and rich history – Written by Lee McClellan.

Click here to explore The Tug Fork’s rich history, and learn details on fishing & floating down the Tug Fork River.

Photoblog: Fall Color in Pike County, KY

Vibrant Fall color is here in Pikeville/Pike County, Kentucky. With the mountains dressed in strong oranges, reds and yellows, it is no wonder that our Appalachian home has drawn so much interest from visitors, many with an eye for photography. Our local photographers also could not resist the chance to capture such breathtaking natural beauty. Check out some of their photos below, and tell us what you think.

Larry Epling Fall Collection


Mary Reed Runyon Fall Collection

Maybe you have some photos of Fall in Pike County that you’d like to share with us?  If so, feel free to email them to We’d love to share them, just make sure that it is your work you are sharing with us. We’d love to give you credit for the beautiful photos you have captured of picturesque Pike County, Kentucky.