West Virginia has an abundance of designated riding trails, including the 600-mile Hatfield-McCoy Trails network, which lets tourists and local alike traverse seven West Virginia counties. Local officials say riders have come from as far as Alaska and Canada.
But Humphrey, who used to ride two or three times a week, said locals often prefer to forge their own paths.
"That's part of it, just the adventure," he said. "Just getting away from work or whatever."
That thrill-seeking isn't without risk. Statistics on off-road fatalities weren't immediately available, but there were 588 ATV-related deaths reported from 1982-2011, the most recent statistics available from the state Division of Motor Vehicles. Of those, 144 occurred from 2008-2011.
People more commonly use ATVs, not trucks, Humphrey said.
"BUCKWILD" boasted millions of viewers during its first season and had already begun shooting season two, though it was not without detractors, including U.S. Sen. and former West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin. He asked MTV to cancel the show in September, telling the network's president in a letter that the show profits off of "poor decisions of our youth" and that it plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia.
"MTV didn't make those kids do anything that those kids didn't already do," Lewis said. "It's not like they forced anybody to do anything."
Shooting for the second season of "BUCKWILD" has been suspended because of Gandee's death, according to an MTV spokesman.
Manchin was asked about the show again Tuesday during an appearance in Charleston, but he held back any harsh words.
"It's just awful for a young person, very bright and promising, to have this happen," he said. "The series, that's immaterial, it really is. This is all about family, it's about losing a loved one at such a young age."
Associated Press reporters Vicki Smith in Morgantown and Lawrence Messina in Charleston contributed to this story.
Hatfield-McCoy Trails: http://trailsheaven.com/