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Student essay contest winner discovers Nevada and Pahrump

Eighth-grader McKenna Jaques from Fallon made her way through Pahrump to discover Jetpack America in early August, where she flew high above the lake at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch.

This wasn’t the only adventure Jaques experienced in the first few days of August and late July.

She also passed through Tonopah and visited the Tonopah Historic Mining Park and the spent the night at the Mizpah Hotel, where she caught up with some star gazing during her stay.

Jaques was the one of two winners in Travel Nevada’s annual Discover Your Nevada essay contest, where one student from Northern Nevada and one from Southern Nevada are selected to go on a trip in Nevada. Travel Nevada, the brand for the state’s tourism division, puts on the contest in an effort to increase state tourism.

Jaques said this was her first time visiting Pahrump and she would visit again in the future.

According to data from Travel Nevada, only about 8 percent of Nevadans travel in state — compared with a 51 percent national average.

Jaques chose the jetboard this time out. This is where a rider stands on a flat board and water pressure sprays down and sends the rider upwards over the lake. The other option is a jetpack, where a rider straps in.

All of Jaques’ expenses were covered by Travel Nevada.

The winners are chosen by a committee of members on the tourism board and Nevada Department of Education, which partners with Travel Nevada to assist picking the winners of the essay contest.

Jacques, a student at Oasis Academy in Fallon, wrote an essay about her trip to Virginia City. This year’s other winner, Michael Meerovich from Discovery Charter School in Las Vegas, won with his essay “The Godfather Part II.”

The trip is funded by travelers around the state that check in along six state tourism routes throughout Nevada.

For each check-in using the hashtag #DiscoverNV17 along the routes, $1 is contributed to Travel Nevada’s field trip fund. This year’s effort to raise funds ends on Sept. 4.

One of those routes includes traveling along U.S. Highway 50 from Fernley to Ely — also known as the “Loneliest Road in America.”

Others included traveling down U.S. Highway 95 from Las Vegas to Tonopah; along Nevada State Route 447 from Reno to Gerlach, which is also known as “Burner Highway”; Nevada Highway 375 or the “Extraterrestrial Highway”; and the Rubies Route, or the Lamoille Scenic Byway—via state Highways 227 and 229.

Check the TravelNevada.com website for more information on travel routes.

McKenna, along with her mother, Christy, and her friend saw other parts of the state beyond Tonopah and Pahrump. The group also stopped in Goldfield to see the International Car Forest of the Las Church, as well as Rhyolite to tour a ghost town and the Goldwell Open Air Museum and in Beatty to check out a show by the Beatty Cowboys.

After flying around in Pahrump for the day, and spending the night, McKenna and her group sped off to Boulder City—where they spent the night at the Boulder Dam Hotel before heading to McCarran International Airport the next day to return to Fallon.

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

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