By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2010
Lt. Governor Jari Askins, Tanya Andrews with the Claremore CVB, Barbara Hawkins with the Pryor Chamber, B.J. Mooney with the Vinita Chamber, Amanda Davis with the Miami CVB, and Hardy Watkins with the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department.
Each year, the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department partners with the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association to present the RedBud Awards.
“It was an exciting evening recognizing the efforts of our industry and a great celebration of tourism,” said Hardy Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department. “There is no better way to showcase the diversity of travel opportunities in Oklahoma than by honoring the best each year and bestowing them with these prestigious awards.”
Team! Together Everyone Achieves More is being echoed through the communities of Miami, Vinita, Pryor and Claremore as they were honored for Best Partnership for their work on Cruisin’ Northeast Oklahoma, a guided motorcycle route brochure.
The brochure was sponsored by GRDA and featured motorcycle routes around northeastern Oklahoma and the Grand Lake region. Communities highlighted in the guide are Miami, Vinita, Claremore, Pryor, Wagoner, Tahlequah, Stilwell, Grove and Sallisaw. “This brochure was made possible through the support of GRDA. We appreciate them and their continued support of tourism in northeast Oklahoma,” says Barbara Hawkins, director of the Pryor Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. Tanya Andrews, Claremore Convention & Visitors director, agrees: “GRDA is an asset to all of us. They understand the importance of adding more visitors to our region.”
The brochure is used to market to motorcycle groups and encourage longer stays in the northeast Oklahoma region. “If we can get the guide into the right hands, a two to three hour trip through our area can turn into a two to three day adventure once they learn we have so much to do,” says Amanda Davis, director of the Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The communities have joined forces in many marketing projects to help promote the region. “We have learned that together we are stronger. What is good for Claremore is good for Miami, and what works for Pryor can work for Vinita,” says B.J. Mooney, Vinita Chamber director. “Together we do accomplish more, and it helps each of us stretch marketing dollars.”
Those interested in the Cruisin’ Northeast Oklahoma Guide can request a copy by calling Claremore Convention & Visitors Bureau at (918) 341-8688 or emailing eat1@eau1eav1eaw1.
Claremore’s Will Rogers Memorial received the RedBud Award for Outstanding Attraction. Nominees in this category were judged on improvements in facility, entertainment and educational value, marketing and public relations, as well as contributions to the overall tourism industry in the state.
“Will Rogers rarely missed the opportunity to seize new technology (radio, film, sound recordings) and use it to full effect and advantage. His memorial is no different,” said Steve Gragert, Will Rogers Memorial Museum director.
Throughout the museum are interactive displays, including touch screens. Visitors can browse Will’s writings via computer, watch one of his 21 top-rated motion pictures, and hear him soothe a nation torn by the Great Depression and chuckle as he pokes fun at a president in his down-home fashion.
Recent changes to the museum have been new exhibits and transformation of galleries.
After being without volunteers for many years, the Memorial Museum is now in the process of training the fourth class of Will Rogers Ropers docents, who provide hands-on service in various capacities.
In 2009, visitors came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 30 foreign countries. “Attendance at the museum has increased appreciably during the past three years,” Gragert said. “The legacy of Will Rogers remains alive, vibrant and thriving.”
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.