PAHRUMP — Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and other officials from the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) recognized the state’s tourism leaders Thursday at the annual VolunTourism Awards ceremony at the 23rd annual Rural Roundup tourism conference.
“Tourism is Nevada’s No. 1 industry, and our tourism professionals and volunteers are certainly an essential component of Nevada’s world-renowned tourism infrastructure,” Krolicki, NCOT chairman, said. “NCOT greatly appreciates the work of these men and women in promoting Nevada to domestic and international visitors.”
NCOT presented six VolunTourism awards, one in each of Nevada’s six tourism territories — areas of similar culture and geography — along with two statewide excellence in tourism awards and the Nevada International Award. The honors were conferred at the Pahrump Nugget Hotel Casino.
“Our tourism volunteers are fundamental to the tourism experience, particularly in rural Nevada,” Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Director Claudia Vecchio said. “These dedicated travel professionals play an important role the success of Nevada’s tourism industry.”
Award recipients are as follows:
Cowboy Country Territory
Larry Burton regularly volunteers to staff Cowboy Country booths at sportsmen’s expos, promoting the area with his knowledge of fishing and hunting. An outstanding photographer, Larry donates many of his pictures to Cowboy Country. He often escorts familiarization tour groups to Cowboy Country’s undiscovered destinations.
Paula and Jon Corley, owners of Corley Ranch in Gardnerville, are longtime tourism supporters. They purchased the ranch in 1977 and shifted their focus from cattle and hay to agri-toursim. Today, Corley Ranch is known for its Harvest Festival, kids programs and weddings, while remaining a working ranch.
Pony Express Territory
Andy Rossman, director of Cultural, Tourism & Economic Development for Eureka County, wears many hats, from booking entertainers at the renowned Eureka Opera House to working with the neighboring counties of Lander and White Pine on economic development issues. Andy has embraced the volunteer spirit of the Pony Express Territory, traveling far and wide to attend every territory meeting, where she provides valuable input on projects.
Donna Cossette, former chairwoman for the Fallon-Paiute Shoshone Tribe, receives this year’s award for the Indian Territory for her efforts in preserving and promoting the culture of the Great Basin Indians. As director of the Churchill County museum and a member of the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe Cultural Committee, Donna consults on numerous projects that include Great Basin Indian history, including providing cultural presentations statewide and tours of the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribal lands.
Nevada Silver Trails Territory
Karen Spalding, a member of the Pahrump Tourism & Convention Council, has been promoting tourism in Pahrump and in the state of Nevada for more than a decade. A member of Nevada Silver Trails for the past two years, Karen attends every meeting — no matter how far she needs to travel — to share her expertise.
Las Vegas Territory
Brina Marcus handles sales and marketing for Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City. She consistently donates her time and energy to promote the area, including sponsoring tours for incoming journalists, tour operators and other industry professionals. Since it opened in 2010, Flightlinez has donated more than $280,000 to various nonprofit groups in southern Nevada.
Statewide Excellence in Grants Award
The Virginia City Tourism Commission’s streetscape enhancement project, funded in part by NCOT’s Projects Related to Tourism grant program, epitomizes the program’s goals. The project to build a public rest area with ADA restroom facilities, picnic tables, landscaping and interpretive design panels began in 2011. Virginia City received federal funding for the project, and in 2012, requested NCOT funds to assist with the purchase of interpretive sign panels, weather-proof brochure holders, trash and pet receptacles and a decorative ore cart.
Statewide Excellence in Tourism Award
Scott Carey, tribal planner for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, has taken on leadership roles at numerous organizations that support Nevada tourism by promoting natural and cultural resources. He is the chairman of the Strengthening Economies Together committee, a nine-county partnership that highlights cultural and recreational assets, and a member of Indian Territory, a statewide organization that promotes tourism in tribal communities. In his role at Pyramid Lake, Scott promotes tourism while protecting the tribe’s unique culture and history.
Nevada International Award
The Beatty Chamber of Commerce is being recognized for producing collateral materials in multiple languages to maximize the area’s geographic location, the fame of Death Valley and other regional attributes. These materials have been popular with NCOT’s international offices, including the office in France. “The brochure is very appreciated by the trade industry and the consumers in France,” Zelie Breval, NCOT’s representative in France, said.