Court Days rolls around in Preston

Dog trading puts tiny Bath County community on the map

Special to the Herald-LeaderOctober 18, 2008 

  • If you go

    Preston Court Days

    Shop from hundreds of vendors scattered throughout fields in Preston, for not only dogs and guns but also antiques, country cooking, and whatever else you decide to bring to trade.

    When: Through Monday

    Where: Preston in Bath County, off Interstate 64, exit 121.

When Tommy Runyon from Mingo County, W.Va., showed up at Court Days in Preston, Ky., he didn't have a dog.

But "I was able to trade a shovel, hoe, pocket watch, and a pair of toenail clippers for a pup," Runyon said. Thursday evening he had already sold the dog for a nice little profit.

"You got people coming from everywhere to trade dogs," he said.

Since the 1970s, when Mount Sterling's famous Court Days stopped allowing dog sales, Preston, a small spot on a road in Bath County, has filled the void.

James "Coon" Conyers oversees the largest hunting dog buy-sell-trade event in the state; he moved his operation to Preston after Mount Sterling quit allowing dog trading. Conyers expects 50,000 people to pass through during the weeklong event, with around 2,500 dogs up for sale.

Julia Amburgey, of Seymour, Ind., used to frequent Mount Sterling's Court Days but has spent the last five years selling her canned goods at Preston's Court Days instead.

"It has gotten too expensive for a little person like me to sell in Mount Sterling," she said.

Carrying a rifle he just traded, Jerry Gross of Jackson now spends only one day in Mount Sterling, compared to three days in Preston.

"Lot of people still don't know about Preston," Gross said. "If they did, a lot more would come."

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