RENO, Nev. — The Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) approved grants Tuesday to help rural communities attract visitors to such diverse attractions as an off-highway vehicle trail for Battle Mountain, a cowboy poetry and music festival in Genoa and a bathtub boat show in Ely.
The commission, meeting in Reno, voted for grants totaling more than $362,000 that will enable 73 recipient organizations to advertise and market an array of tourism venues, events and activities that draw travelers and deliver dollars to sustain local economies.
“Awarding these grants extends a helping hand to rural communities so they can reach out and entice more consumers to experience their local events, attractions and activities,” Lt. Gov. Brian K. Krolicki, NCOT chair, said. “Grants truly make a difference in whether rural Nevada venues can afford the marketing they need to sustain their tourism-dependent economies. Spreading the word can transform a small event with 200 local people into an economic booster with 2,000 visitors who check into hotels and stay awhile.”
NCOT approves rural grants twice a year, in June and December, and is awarding just over $1 million for FY2011. Grants awarded in June totaled more than $662,000.
“Rural communities know how to really stretch grant dollars and get the biggest possible return on the investment,” NCOT Interim Director Larry Friedman said. “Each project is evaluated before the grant is awarded and after the project is accomplished, so we know that the work was completed successfully. It is one of our most worthy programs.”
A sampling of the winning projects includes:
$5,000 to promote the new Lander County OHV Trail on Battle Mountain’s tourism website, www.battlemountaintourism.com, and create a map and brochure for distribution online, at visitor centers and the trailhead. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has opened a 20-mile stretch of the off-highway vehicle trail for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that is expected to be completed to 55 miles in the spring.
$7,000 for the Town of Genoa to publicize the second annual Genoa Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival May 5-8, 2011, in the West, especially California, Arizona and Utah, in print, broadcast and online ads, billboards, flyers, posters and promotional events. The festival sold 3,000 tickets its first year for seven concerts by western musicians and more than 80 workshops and drew another 2,000 people to western art exhibits and other free activities. www.genoacowboyfestival.com
$5,500 for the White Pine County Tourism and Recreation Board to advertise the Cocktails and Cannons event in Ely the weekend of June 25, 2011, featuring bathtub boat racing, a barbecue and cannon fire and fireworks finale. Last year’s event drew 2,600 visitors and this year is expected to attract more than 3,000 and 1,500 room nights in local hotels. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUf3ertVWCA
$10,000 for the City of West Wendover to advertize the Wendover Flyaway program that’s expected to bring 25,000 visitors a year on Xtra Airways charter flights to enjoy resort casinos, ATVs and other outdoor recreation and visits to the famous Bonneville Salt Flats. The grant will help pay for a 11-city radio advertizing blitz in eastern Washington, central Oregon, Idaho and Montana, the biggest market for the northeastern Nevada community. www.wendoverfun.com
$6,700 for Indian Territory to conduct the Nevada Tribal Tourism Training program April 20-21, 2011, at the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe Golf Resort to educate members on how to advertise attractions and products, seek grant funding and develop successful infrastructure to draw visitors. Funding will provide a training program, advertising materials and speaker and travel costs for 80 attendees. www.NevadaIndianTerritory.com
$8,000 to the Laughlin Tourism Commission to advertise the Colorado River Regatta in Sunset Magazine and Nevada Magazine. The third annual regatta will be Aug. 12-13, 2011. Last year’s event attracted 15,500 visitors and contributed more than $3.8 million to Laughlin’s economy. This year’s event featured pirate barges, giant clowns and jumbo birthday cakes gliding down the river in parade fashion and was seen on CNN, Fox News, regional TV and websites. www.visitlaughlin.com.
$7,000 to the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority to sustain and grow Tractors and Truffles, an upscale food and arts event that includes a farm-to-plate dinner followed by a performance in the historical Barkley Theatre. The event is designed to promote locally grown foods, healthy eating, gourmet chefs, interest in farm visits and arts and cultural events in rural Nevada. www.TractorsandTruffles.com
$8,000 to the Virginia City Convention and Tourism Authority for its new “History Loves a Sleepover” advertising campaign aimed at influencing visitors who have enjoyed a daytime of museums, train rides, shopping and exploring to spend the night at a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast. The VCCTA cited stay-over incentives such as restaurants, entertainment and nocturnal tours popularized by TV shows featuring Virginia City ghosts. www.visitvirginiacitynv.com
Grant applicants must be public entities such as a chamber of commerce or nonprofit organization and are required to provide a 50-50 match in funds or volunteer hours. NCOT reimburses applicants after projects are completed and labor and funding details are documented.