Chase Smith and Ray Welch | Daily News
The Battle of Cumberland Gap IV was a huge success. According to tournament director Mike Taylor, more than 70 competitors from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Los Angeles, California and Nevada showed up to participate and help officiate. Grand Master Toby Cooling, of Gardnerville, Nev., served as chief referee. Movie star Cynthia Rothrock came and supported the tournament. She worked with every kid in the building, signing photos and T-shirts and giving personalized autographs. “It was very important for us to have Rothrock here for the sake of the kids and all her fans,” said Taylor. “Her appearance also helped bring a lot of people to Middlesboro to support our fall festival. We were able to bring about 150 people to town this year and hope to bring twice that number next year.”
After the tournament was over, two of Sensei Taylor’s students were awarded black belts. Danny Ray Smith II was awarded his first don and professional boxer Owen Beck was awarded his second don in Isshinryu Karate.