Brookings, SD (May 24, 2016) – The Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) announced the 2015 Tourism Award Winners at the annual Tourism Luncheon, held May 19, 2016 at McCrory Gardens Education & Visitor Center. The luncheon honors and celebrates the tourism industry in Brookings and recognizes all the businesses, organizations and individuals who help make Brookings a tourism destination.
The first award presented was the Tourism Extra Mile Award established to recognize individuals or organizations that have made major contributions to generating visitors and going the “extra mile” to advance the tourism industry in Brookings. The 2015 Tourism Extra Mile Award winner was the Brookings Wrestling Association (BWA). BWA was honored for their efforts in hosting the 2015 State AAU Wrestling tournament, bringing approximately 10,000 visitors to Brookings and for starting a new youth wrestling tournament. “The Brookings Wrestling Association provides many opportunities for youth wrestlers in Brookings. They not only promote wrestling in Brookings, but help recruit, develop, and promote the sport of wrestling throughout the state of South Dakota. They are instrumental in bringing quality youth tournaments to Brookings and provide help in numerous college and high school events that are also hosted in Brookings,” said Randy Soma, Brookings Athletic Director and Past Chair of the Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The second award presented was the Tourism Facility of the Year Award established to recognize organizations that have significantly added to the tourism product and increased tourism in the Brookings area. The 2015 Tourism Facility of the Year Award Winner was the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. The Children’s Museum was honored for surpassing 500,000 visitors since opening their doors in 2010 and for their Golden Ticket program which encourages field-trip students to return with a family member in the future, bringing an average 3+ people per ticket back to Brookings for a visit. “The Children’s Museum has literally changed how families bide their time in Brookings. Whether they are local families with guests or travelers from out of town, this Museum has added greatly to the fact that Brookings is a destination site. Thank you to all involved in making the Museum a reality,” said Lynn Darnall, owner of Medary Acres and Vice Chair of the Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The third and final award presented was the Larson Family Tourism Champion Award, named in honor of the Larson Family in regards to all the community contributions this Brookings family has made. The award is meant to recognize individuals who have worked tirelessly to spread the message and garner support for tourism, and see the big picture of how teamwork and sharing resources can benefit the overall tourism product. The 2015 Larson Family Tourism Champion Award Winner was Scott Meyer. Meyer was recognized for his work in launching several new events such as TEDxBrookings, Start-Up Weekend, Creativity Week and working to stamp Brookings as the Creative Capital of the North. “Scott’s entrepreneurial spirit carried over into the community and ignited many of us to consider what more we can do to bring people to Brookings and highlight everything our city has to offer, ” said Jennifer Johnson, CVB Executive Director.
The Brookings Tourism Awards have been given out since 2013. Past winners include:
Extra Mile Award
- 2014: Justin Sell, South Dakota State University Athletic Director
- 2013: Jim Lerdal with the Friends of Baseball organization
Tourism Facility/Organization of the Year
- 2014: Swiftel Center
- 2013: Brookings Summer Arts Festival
Larson Family Tourism Champion Award
- 2014: Midwest Supercross/The Pederson Family (Doc, Jesse & Dustin)
- 2013: The Fergen Family in honor of Dick Fergen