2017-08-16 / Front Page

Rock painting and hunting has ‘blown up’ here

By SAM ADAMS


Todd Bentley of Cram Creek enjoys painting rocks for others to find but has discovered that most of his music-themed creations, like this one based on the cover of Pink Floyd’s legendary Dark Side of the Moon album, don’t get passed along very often because people like them too well to let them go. Todd Bentley of Cram Creek enjoys painting rocks for others to find but has discovered that most of his music-themed creations, like this one based on the cover of Pink Floyd’s legendary Dark Side of the Moon album, don’t get passed along very often because people like them too well to let them go. Barns across the South used to have signs painted on the roofs that said, “See Rock City.”

Now a Facebook page is getting thousands of people to “See Rock County.”

Pre-school children to senior citizens are painting rocks, hiding them around the county, then posting clues to their whereabouts on a Facebook page called “Letcher County Rocks.”

Some people paint and place multiple rocks every single day, and members say their rocks are often picked up before they can even get out of sight.

Lora Cook of Whitesburg brought her son Maximus, 9; her daughter Paris, 5, and her niece Ayla Hinkle, 6, last week to place an eagle rock Maximus painted in front of The Mountain Eagle. It was gone by the next morning.


Madesyn Sexton (left) and Kate Collins stand at the gazebo at Isom, where they placed their first painted rocks after starting the Letcher County Rocks page on Facebook. The page, started in mid-June, now has more than 4,500 followers. (Photo by Sam Adams) Madesyn Sexton (left) and Kate Collins stand at the gazebo at Isom, where they placed their first painted rocks after starting the Letcher County Rocks page on Facebook. The page, started in mid-June, now has more than 4,500 followers. (Photo by Sam Adams) “Every chance they get, they either want to paint or hunt,” she said.

She said it’s fun for the kids, and educational. So far, they’ve gone to the Veterans Museum, several different restaurants and to the newspaper to find or place rocks. The kids have learned about their hometown and county, and gained an appreciation for art.

“It’s kind of gotten the community together, and it’s showcased what people can do,” Lora Cook said. “They’re not really artists, but their rocks are beautiful.”


IT SCREAMS “PICK ME UP” — This painting of an eagle, by nine-year-old Maximus Cook was placed in front of The Mountain Eagle office. (Photo by Sam Adams) IT SCREAMS “PICK ME UP” — This painting of an eagle, by nine-year-old Maximus Cook was placed in front of The Mountain Eagle office. (Photo by Sam Adams) While some of the rocks have been relocated for someone else to find, she said the kids have a collection of the ones they really like in their rooms.

The web site started in June after Kate Collins, 28, and her sister Madesyn Sexton saw that other communities were painting rocks. The two started off painting them for themselves, then started a Facebook page to make it more fun and get more people involved.

“We had 230 members for a solid month, and then it blew up,” she said.

The page has gone viral here, with hundreds more joining every week.

“When we got 1,000 I was ecstatic and then the next week it was 3,000,” she said. Last week it was 4,100, and this week it is more than 4,500. The sisters placed their first rocks in mid-June at the tourism gazebo in Isom, near their homes. The site has now become a common place for people to place rocks.


These four rocks painted by Todd Bentley of Cram Creek depict the four members of The Beatles circa the 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. These four rocks painted by Todd Bentley of Cram Creek depict the four members of The Beatles circa the 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The fad apparently started in Washington state as a “random act of kindness.” The first rocks featured inspirational or motivational sayings to give people who found them an emotional boost. The rocks now include everything from motivational slogans to campaign ads to cartoon characters to nostalgic looks at the county’s history. One rock featured the RC Cola sign that famously says the population of Whitesburg includes two grouches. Another features the logo of Druther’s restaurant, a Louisville-based chain restaurant that closed in the 1990s. The Whitesburg Druther’s is now a Dairy Queen.

Some of the rocks carry tourism messages and local zip codes, and have been taken to other states.

“It’s amazing what they can do on a rock,” Collins said. “Imagine what they could do on a canvas.”

Collins said it’s rewarding to know that what started out as a hobby for her and her sister has made so many people happy.

“People will say they started off the day in a bad mood, and then they found a rock and their whole day changed.”

Return to top