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Pahrump shines bright with tourism awards

Two southern Nye County individuals were recognized for their work to increase tourism in the area.

Jack Sanders, of Sanders Family Winery, and Arlette Ledbetter, tourism director for the town of Pahrump, were both recognized for their efforts to increase tourism activity at the annual VolunTourism Awards Dinner in Fallon. The awards dinner is part of an annual convention known as the Rural Roundup, which is organized by the Nevada Division of Tourism (TravelNevada).

Sanders received the Excellence in Tourism Award for the Nevada Silver Trails area, one of six given for different parts of the state. The Silver Trails area includes Pahrump, Tonopah, Round Mountain and several other communities.

Ledbetter took home the Statewide Excellence in Grants award during the April 11 awards dinner.

Sanders Family Winery

According to TravelNevada’s website, Sanders has been a longtime supporter of the area’s tourism efforts.

“He has hosted familiarization tours for travel media and industry professionals, including providing entertainment at the winery’s performing arts center. In 1989, Jack released Sanders Winery’s first three-bottle set to commemorate Nevada’s 125th statehood anniversary, wines that now are collectors’ items,” according to TravelNevada’s website.

On TravelNevada’s website, Sanders was recognized for producing and releasing a ruby port to honor Nevada in 2014 for the state’s sesquicentennial celebration.

Sanders has been in the wine business for over three decades in the Pahrump area.

“The tourism department strives to bring the visitor to town to stay with one of our lodging partners,” Ledbetter said. “Once they arrive, we depend on the partners — wine and coffee, casinos, golf, off-road adventures, motorsports, firearms training, adventure tours, hydroflight, equestrian training, fireworks, museum and a variety of day trips.”

Ledbetter said more can be learned about these partners at visitpahrump.com.

“Their contribution is what creates the visitor experience in our town,” she said. “They are largely the reason for the return visitor.”

Pahrump recognition

Ledbetter, who has been with Pahrump’s tourism office since 2010, took away an award in recognition of her skills in grant writing and managing grants.

“Grant requests authored by Arlette are thorough and well-written,” according to information on TravelNevada’s website. “Her method of grant management is marked by her follow-through, attention to detail and timeliness.”

When asked what drives Ledbetter when she’s writing grants, she responded that, “the opportunity to share our destination and all Pahrump has to offer. We are a service to the new and returning visitor to assist in trip planning for everything from itineraries and lodging choices.”

In the last year, Ledbetter said she’s focused on grants for print ads, digital social media marketing and for other efforts.

“We are in the process of conducting a first-time, web-based exit survey to learn more about our visitor.

Ledbetter said she’s “written about 75 grants totaling about $370,000 since 2012.”

“Grant funding provides about 12% to 15% of our funding,” Ledbetter said. “It’s vital because our funding is limited, but it’s not just funding. It is also about the partnerships and programs we couldn’t normally afford.”

Ledbetter continued, “We partner with TravelNevada and are able to globally reach the visitor. Public relations assists in the same manner. We don’t have a budget for the LA Times, but when they pick up a story about us, we earn that media coverage, which equals a value we cannot normally afford.”

Ledbetter highlighted several grants of note, one being a grant for signage along the roadway when entering and exiting Pahrump.

“One of the most visible grants is located at each entry and exit to the town of Pahrump,” Ledbetter said. “That would be the ‘welcome to Pahrump’ and ‘thank you for visiting’ signage. This was completed on a Project Related to Tourism (PRT) grant match with TravelNevada.”

Ledbetter has won awards in previous years at the awards dinner.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @MeehanLv

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