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A Fearless German Intern Takes on Reno Tahoe

DSC_0004Benedikt Martinac of Germany is studying International Tourism in Eastbourne, United Kingdom. He will graduate in June 2011. His smarts, sense of humor and extensive travel experience will present him with limitless career opportunities, and success, in the tourism industry. This summer (2010) Benedikt decided to do hands-on learning, specifically in the American tourism industry. Being the smart man that he is, he chose to spend his summer in the great state of Nevada. Below is Ben’s adventure in the Silver State from his own perspective. We hope you enjoy reading his take on the Biggest Little City as much as we enjoyed having him.

8.31.10

I’ve been in Reno for 5 weeks now and can’t get enough of the city and its charm. But it’s not only the city. There is so much to see and experience in the area. Hiking, cycling, mountain biking, all kinds of water sports, extreme sports and on the calmer side plenty of golf opportunities, parks, lakes. You name it.

During my internship at various tourism related businesses, mediated by the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT), I learned a lot about the Reno-Tahoe area and the fun things to experience nearby.

Last weekend I finally had the chance to show what I’ve picked up so far because three friends were visiting from the Bay area. I was really looking forward to showing them around and check out what the night life is like in “The Biggest Little City in the World”.

I met my friends at my place and took them downtown to check in the hotel. While driving towards Virginia Street, Reno’s casino strip, the tower of the Eldorado Hotel Casino, illuminated in bright pink, and we knew instantly we’re going to have a great time. We parked the car in the garage and via skywalk we were right in the lobby. We checked in, dropped of the bags in the room and rushed back downstairs to the casino for a little gambling session. But no gambling without food – we probably wouldn’t be able to handle all the free drinks and our odds of winning would lower even more. So what better to start off with than the “Best Burger in Town”? As different magazines, such as Nevada Magazine, voted it the best burger in Reno and Northern Nevada, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one of the notorious Awful Awful. At first the name is kind of a turnoff and makes you think if it’s the right choice for dinner but it’s supposed to be “Awful Big and Awful Good” so we headed to the Little Nugget Diner, located at the Nugget Casino on Virginia Street.

Awful AwfulEntering the Nugget, I was back to the thought if this was the right idea for dinner. Old dark carpets, dark lightning and sketchy gamblers occupying the slots give the place a peculiar atmosphere. The little Nugget diner, at the back of the casino, doesn’t make a much better impression. But its style is kind of appealing. Sleazy, greasy, with only two counters and no tables, the 50’s style diner seemed like it’s going to give us the right amount of energy we would need for a long night.

So we ordered our 4 Awful-Awfuls and waited until a few minutes later the gal at the counter shouted out “order 70, order 70!” That was us – we turned around and what was that? Four huge burgers with a lot of fresh toppings, and if that wasn’t enough, a basket with a pound of home seasoned French fries on the side made “mission Awful-Awful” seem impossible. We looked at each other and we knew nobody wanted to fail.

The first bite was just amazing. A homemade onion bun, fresh lettuce, pickles, perfectly melted cheese and of course a 100% beef patty, so juicy and full of taste that my taste buds were going crazy. I expected it to be good but not this good. I guess the taste doesn’t come solely from the burger itself. The whole atmosphere and the little shabby interior add a whole lot of seasoning to the Awful Awful and make it what it is. Together with the fries it is the perfect combination. Every bite was a delight and surprisingly the burger and the basket of fries disappeared faster than expected

After our adventure at the Nugget, we decided to finally gamble for a while. Barely able to move and 5 pounds heavier than before, we schlepped ourselves back to the Eldorado Casino. The ear shattering ringing of the slot machines and the unmistakable smell of cold smoke, booze and old ladies perfume, same as in every casino I’ve ever been to, make you feel like you’re at the right spot to win some cash or probably lose it but who knows, right?

Three of us sat down at a black jack table, while the other played some slots. To my surprise it started off really good for all of us. We were winning and winning. One chicken dinner after the other – we were on fire! At the end I’ve tripled my stake as did the others and an even bigger surprise just came around the corner. The slot machines seemed to like our friend too because he came back with $350 he just won.

This has been a pretty great evening so far. We had won quite some money and had a whole day in front of us. Now a nice, cool local brew to celebrate our success would be the perfect round up for the night and since we were in the “Best” mood, why not give the “Best Microbrew, and “Best Beer Selection,” winner a chance? Also inside the Eldorado, the “Brew Brothers” offers a selection of 8 microbrews, all with a very unique taste to it. After trying out a few I determined my favorite – the gold dollar pale ale – a really nice American-style pale ale with a very distinct hop flavor and spoors of citrus in the aftertaste. And the best thing – these delicious beers are pretty reasonable. A 15 oz. beer costs 3.50 and 22 oz cost 4.50. Enjoying our beers and the live music, we started planning the next day. It wouldn’t be any less exciting.

Lake TahoeThe next morning, a bit hung-over, our next stop was Lake Tahoe. I definitely wanted to show it to the guys as it is such a big contrast to Reno and shows the diversity of the area perfectly. As one takes Hwy 50 from Carson City up to the Lake the change of environment is stunning. Feeling the rising pressure in our ears, we noticed the change of terrain from desert-like to alpine mountains with ever green pine tree forests. After a few miles we’ve reached the high point and from now on it was all downhill which meant the Lake wasn’t far anymore. And there it was in the distance. Dazzled by the reflection of the sun on the lake, we couldn’t wait to jump in the water.

The lake was full of boats, yachts, windsurfers, water-skiers and other water lovers. But what really caught our attention were paddle boarders. Standing up on a surf board and paddling their way around. We really wanted to give it a shot but we had other plans.

In the afternoon we had planned a whitewater rafting trip on Truckee River. When we arrived at the meeting point we were briefed on how to behave on the river and were given all the safety guidelines necessary for an enjoyable day.

So all suited up in life jackets and helmets we launched the rafts and the trip could start. We were following the guide through some of the most beautiful and remote areas. Trees alongside the river banks give you the feeling there’s nothing else around. The whooshing of the water and the sounds of nature had a really calming effect and it was the perfect getaway. The combination between the class 2-3 rapids and very calm parts make it a challenging but also very recreating adventure. Being out in the wild, totally cut off from the everyday stress is something outstanding and irreplaceable.

After two hours I started to feel the paddling in my arms. Although we were going downstream it was very exhausting. Suddenly, out of nowhere, buildings started showing up at the side of the river. First a few, then more and more, and from one moment to the other coming from total exclusion of civilization, we paddled through downtown Reno. A few more rapids and drop pools in the White Water Park and we made it to the shore at Wingfield Park.

Pretty exhausted but still up for some more attractions, I decided to take the guys to Virginia City, a living ghost town. The old gold mining town seems like it is stuck in the 1800s. Driving into town on C Street is like entering another time. The Sherriff greets you with a friendly “Howdy”, Cowboys nod their heads and tap their hats when passing by and the ladies in their big, decadent dresses welcome you with waving hands.

VCVirginia City used to be one of the richest cities in the United States. In the 1800s a lot of men tried to find their luck in the mining industry and many did. Gold and silver attracted many people and just a few years after its establishment in 1859, Virginia City grew to more than 10,000 people. Also, Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, called Virginia City home and started writing under his alias in February 1863.

Browsing the many little unique shops, we came across the famous suicide table in the delta saloon. Supposedly, back in the 1800s the former owner of the saloon, Black Jake shot himself after losing all his life saving at this very table one evening. Rumors say that his ghost was haunting the Delta ever since. Subsequent to him two other owners took their own lives at the same table years later.

We wandered around town and what better place to go for a drink than the infamous “Bucket of Blood” – a saloon so notorious and brutal that the name mirrors the happenings inside. Apparently, so many fights happened nightly at the infamous saloon, that after cleaning the floors, the bucket where the mop was wrung out was filled with blood. Hence, The Bucket of Blood”.

No blood on the floors anymore but the feeling of entering a saloon in the Wild West and being prepared for a bar fight breaking out any minute is still present. If you too are lucky enough to score a table at the windows, enjoy the breathtaking view overlooking the valley and lean back while watching the sundown.

-Benedikt Martinac, Germany

Nevada’s Tourism Ad Campaign is a Record-Breaker

NevadaA year-long advertising campaign that strategically focused on the most lucrative travel markets delivered record-breaking results, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) chair, announced.

“Our ad campaign reached a carefully targeted group of consumers with the means and desire to travel and convinced them to visit us,” Krolicki said.  “In the face of a national economic downturn, NCOT’s winter and summer ads attracted visitors who spent money in Nevada that generated $110 million in tax revenue directly attributed to the ad campaign, a greater return on our investment than ever before.”

Every $1 that NCOT invested in the ads generated $31 in tax revenue.

“We ran a thrifty campaign aimed at our most responsive and proven markets and got our message to the right people,” NCOT Director Dann Lewis said. “We also integrated the media to include television, Google In-stream video, Internet advertising and national travel magazines, a combination that helped increase our return on investment. It was a prescription for success and we’re gratified to get such good-news results for Nevada tourism.”

The percentage of consumers who saw or heard the ads in markets where they ran jumped from 29.7 percent in 2009 to 42.9 percent in fiscal 2010, which ended June 30. 

Winter ads featured skiing at Lake Tahoe for TV, and the engaging “Capture Your Heart” ad, which showed two hands forming a heart that framed a Lake Tahoe scene, for Internet and print.  Summer ads focused on outdoor recreation for TV, Internet and print. The ads ran in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Reno, the San Francisco Bay Area, Phoenix, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City.

Key to the campaign’s remarkable achievement was using new technology and strategies to pinpoint only specific markets where consumers were most likely to respond to travel ads, rather than advertising across entire regions, Lewis said, noting that NCOT invested $3.5 million for the entire year’s campaign, 30.6 percent less than in 2009 because of budget reductions.

If you have any questions regarding this campaign, please contact Jolyn Laney, deputy director of marketing and advertising, Nevada Commission on Tourism.

-Content courtesy of  Nevada Commission on Tourism

Ride in a T-6 Airplane during the Great Reno Balloon Race!

BalloonThe Great Reno Balloon Race, thanks to the generosity of the National Championship Air Races, is auctioning off six exclusive airplane ride packages on eBay. The winning bidders will get to ride in T-6 airplanes during the “Missing Man” formation while the National Anthem is sung. The package will also include an official Balloon Race poster and pins.

The package is valued at more than $800 and bidding will start on eBay at $300. The “Buy it Now” bid will also be available for $1,000. Three packages will be auctioned off between Monday, Aug. 23 and Sunday, Aug. 29. Three more packages will also be available for bid starting Monday, Aug. 30 and ending Sunday, Sept. 5. Bidding will close promptly at 3 p.m. on Sunday each week. The last day to bid will be Sunday, Sept. 5. Visit the Reno Balloon Race website to be directed to the eBay auction page.

The Great Reno Balloon Race is the largest free hot-air balloon festival in the nation, and the proceeds from this auction will go directly toward the event’s operating expenses. Those who are unable to bid, but would still like to support the Balloon Race may also make donations at the event’s Web site.

-Rebecca Wikler, special to the Reno Tahoe Blog

Renowned Artist Chester Arnold Premieres Exhibition at Nevada Museum of Art

Arnold_EntropicLandscapeSMFor artist Chester Arnold, painting is as much about politics and social responsibility as it is about crafting luscious large-scale oil paintings in the tradition of nineteenth-century European artists. With sometimes dark humor, the paintings in Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven opening August 14 at the Nevada Museum of Art, asks viewers to consider the impacts of human and industrial consumption, accumulation, and waste on the natural environment.

Since he began painting over three decades ago, West Coast-based artist Arnold has cleverly confronted a range of challenging subjects. Concerned about the increasing impact of human interventions on landscapes in a densely populated and deeply consumer-driven world, Arnold’s work questions the nature of human beings’ relationship to the landscape, offering cautionary warnings about society’s unbridled cycles of production and consumption on an industrial scale.

“My paintings are a big conversation I’m having with the world,” Arnold says of the richly-painted canvases spanning his thirty year career. Many of the paintings in the exhibition are based loosely on real environmental scenarios, such as the monumental canyon of discarded automobile tires that populates Arnold’s Entropic Landscape—a real larger-than-life discarded tire pile exists in California’s Central Valley. Arnold’s images of deforestation and tree harvesting BusinessSMin paintings such as Histories (2010) are not unlike the paintings of similar despoiled landscapes painted by nineteenth century American artists working long before him. And Arnold has also made three paintings of large-scale strip mines, including Holding Pond (1996) seen from an aerial view. The sublime terraced canyons are punctuated by smoky canyons and smoldering fires with holding ponds that contain mineral-rich, blood-red or copper-green drainage run-off that has been left behind by the mining process. Arnold’s depictions of such altered landscapes bring the consequences of human progress to the attention of viewers.

“The pieces in this exhibition engage with issues of work and labor, nature and environment, industrial production and consumption, and the amassing and disposal of consumer products,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator and Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “The works are both cautionary and confessional, revealing human foibles and follies and what Arnold considers to be their devastating consequences. Arnold’s landscape paintings also ask viewers to consider how human activities—of both the individual and large-scale industries—impact the landscape.”

Also featured in the exhibition is a series of paintings Arnold calls Accumulations, which reveal the ongoing cycle of consumption and disposal resulting from mass production. First created during the late 1990s, a time in American history noted for its booming economic prosperity, Arnold navigates America’s seeming disregard for accumulating and discarding mass-produced merchandise.

HistoriesSMUnderlying Arnold’s critiques of America’s consumer culture is an implicit acknowledgment of the economic engine driving mass production. Many of Arnold’s paintings allude to corporate business culture and the resources required to keep offices running throughout the country. The Business in America is Business (2008) and Means of Communication (2008) both depict streets littered with discarded office correspondence, perhaps cast from the skyscrapers of urban financial districts during past ticker-tape parades. It is especially ironic that the global financial services firm Lehman Brothers acquired one of Arnold’s paper accumulation paintings, Means of Communication (2008), for its corporate art collection not long before the company declared bankruptcy in 2008—the largest U.S. bankruptcy filing in history.

“Arnold’s works ask viewers to consider how one’s individual behaviors interface with ongoing cycles of industrial production and consumption,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “They ask us to acknowledge and celebrate hard work, but to consider the irrevocable consequences of our labors.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a special dialogue between San Francisco Chronicle Art Critic Kenneth Baker and artist Chester Arnold takes place Saturday, September 11 from 5:30 to 8 pm. Join Baker and Arnold as they discuss Arnold’s work on display in the Feature Gallery. A reception following dialogue is included in the ticket price. Cost: $15/$12 Museum Members; $18 at the door.

Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven is presented at the Nevada Museum of Art from August 14 through October 17, 2010 as part of the Museum’s wide-ranging Art + Environment Series, which provides timely, engaging, and rewarding educational opportunities for artists, scholars, and communities to engage with ideas pertinent to the intersections of art and environments. In 2009, the Museum launched the Center for Art + Environment, an international initiative that supports the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and the natural, built, and virtual environments. A book, published in conjunction with the exhibition, will be available in the Museum Store featuring essays by Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections and Colin M. Robertson, Curator of Education.

CITY OF SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO TAKES DOWN RENO TAHOE USA BILLBOARD

Reno Tahoe USA Twitter Billboard 1The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) regrets to inform that the City of South San Francisco has decided to remove the Reno Tahoe USA simulated Twitter billboard along the 101 North at Oyster Point on Friday, July 30. The billboard has been active since March 2010 as part of the RSCVA’s robust, new marketing campaign, Reno Tahoe USA…Far from expected. To learn about the removal of the billboard, please contact the City of South San Francisco at (650) 829-6601. Bubba, the talking Bighorn sheep and Reno Tahoe USA mascot, was the proud ‘spokesanimal’ of the LED billboard.

Bubba has requested this opportunity to address the separation. Below is Bubba’s letter.

Dear City of South San Francisco,

            As the saying goes, breaking up is hard to do. Writing this letter to you doesn’t eliminate the pain, but it does make the beginning of the separation a little easier. We’ve shared five glorious months together. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried and we’ve even winced a few times at all hours of the day, rain, fog or shine. Our relationship has been transparent – easy for the public to read, never having to guess just how closely and seamlessly we worked together. We were such a great team.

            Admittedly, I knew from the beginning I was far more invested in this partnership than you, and deep down I suppose I realized this day would one day arrive. Did you find someone else to replace me on the coveted billboard? Never mind. Don’t answer that.

            Was it the distance? I know people say long-distance relationships just don’t work, but c’mon, we’re a mere 3.5 hours apart. We wrote frequently (at least twice a day!) and admit it – it was fun.

            I want to believe this letter is hard for you to read and that in sending this I’m hurting you, but the harsh reality is you have been ready to sever this bond for quite some time. Don’t expect me to give up the mutual friends I’ve made. I can’t ignore the love I have for San Francisco. Maybe Sausalito or another quality suitor will be more accepting and understanding of the unique and wonderful qualities I bring to a relationship.

            I will always care about you, South SF. I admire your cool, confident aura. Maybe after some time apart you’ll realize the joy and relief I brought to the motorists stuck in that horrendous traffic.

Thank you for the opportunity to know you. I hope you find someone who will make you happier, but I highly doubt that will ever happen.

Sincerely,

Bubba, the Reno Tahoe Bighorn Sheep

www.visitrenotahoe.com

Twitter: @RenoTahoe

Google Chooses Nevada Commission on Tourism as Golden Child of Ad Campaigns

LovelockGoogle has chosen the Nevada Commission on Tourism’s (NCOT) online winter ski commercial as a success-story case study after it attracted 8 million viewers in seven targeted markets, said NCOT chair Lt. Gov. Brian K. Krolicki.

NCOT was among the first tourism entities in the country to use Google’s new technology, in-stream video, which places video ads into online video programs, including television segments, in a commercial break format as on regular television. Viewers who were exposed to the ad in markets where it appeared were 33 percent more likely to consider Nevada as a vacation destination than were those who saw other NCOT online ads that did not use Google’s technology, NCOT’s research showed.

“We seek innovative, cost-conscious ways to maximize the return on investment of each tourism dollar, and Google’s video advertising program achieved this for us,” Krolicki said. “The ads captured the attention of the consumers we sought and stimulated their interest in visiting Nevada. They got our message.”

Tracking technology showed that 45 percent of the viewers watched the entire 30-second commercial that appeared on in-stream video. The lively ad showed skiers on snowy Sierra Nevada mountain slopes overlooking blue Lake Tahoe. Travel Nevada: winter commercial.

“We have advertised Nevada’s tourism attractions in many ways, including traditional television, outdoor advertising, online display ads and mobile ads, and we found the exposure and maneuverability of Google’s in-stream video really got results,” NCOT Director Dann Lewis said.

Google used a process called geo-targeting to show the NCOT ad in designated marketing areas that offer convenient travel to Nevada and are home to skiers and snowboarders aged 25 to 54 with high-level household income: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco Bay Area, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago and Phoenix.

River FestNCOT’s research company, TNS Custom Research, and its Digital Marketing Effectiveness Study enables the tourism agency to track the effectiveness of its advertising campaigns and measure the return on investment, which last winter, when the ads ran, was $22 for each $1 invested. NCOT is funded by hotel room tax revenue that visitors pay, not by the state General Fund.

Google’s NCOT case study is available online Google TV Ads Microsite: success stories.

For more information or news from Travel Nevada, click here!

Country Star Jo Dee Messina Performs in Reno Tahoe

Jo Dee MessinaMultiple No. 1 hits and a series of popular albums, including some pop cross-over success, has propelled Jo Dee Messina in to the music-scene forefront. This Friday, you can see Jo Dee Messina live in the Celebrity Showroom, July 30, at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

Part of country music’s late-’90s crop of female crossover stars, Messina’s appeal nonetheless remained more with country fans than pop audiences. It seems like it only took a few short years for Messina to rise to the elite ranks of female country artists who headline their own tours. The truth is, however, that Messina has been singing and plugging away since her early teens, determined to be nothing else but a country music star. She sang in musical plays starting at age eight but discovered country music at age 12 and got hooked on the likes of the Judds, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton. She soon started performing live, and by 16 she was playing local clubs with a rhythm section made up of her brother and sister. At age 19, she moved to Nashville in search of greater exposure and sang regularly for prize money in local talent competitions. One win led to a regular gig on the radio show Live at Libby’s, which in turn caught the interest of producer Byron Gallimore, who helped her assemble a demo tape. Gallimore was also working with the young Tim McGraw around the same time, and Messina befriended him. Backstage at one of his concerts, Messina met an executive from his label, Curb, and jokingly suggested that they needed a redhead. Producer James Stroud, who had just heard Messina’s demo, stepped up to vouch for her, and she soon wound up on Curb, with Gallimore and McGraw serving as her producers.

Messina’s self-titled debut album was released in 1996 and gave her two Top Ten hits in “Heads Carolina, Tails California” and “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore.” The album sold well, setting the stage for Messina’s star-making sophomore effort, I’m Alright. Released in 1998, it made Messina the first female country artist to score three multiple-week number one hits from the same album: “Bye Bye,” “I’m Alright,” and “Stand Beside Her.” She nearly had a fourth, but “Lesson in Leavin’” stalled at number two. Honored by both the CMA and ACM in 1999, Messina staked out even pop-friendlier territory on her third album, 2000’s Burn. It became her first number one album, and the lead single, “That’s the Way,” her fourth number one single. Two more Top Tens followed in “Burn” and “Downtime,” and a fourth single, the Tim McGraw duet “Bring on the Rain,” also topped the charts, helping Burn sell over a million copies. Messina followed it with the holiday album A Joyful Noise in late 2002, and just months later, with only three albums to her credit, Curb released a Greatest Hits compilation. In 2005 she released her official follow-up to Burn, called Delicious Surprise, with Unmistakable coming in 2010.

Jo Dee Messina plays one night, July 30, in the Celebrity Showroom at 8 p.m. Tickets are just $50 and are available by calling (800) 648-1177 or (775) 356-3300 or by visiting janugget.com. Dinner and show packages are available.

It’s messy, it’s painful and it’s a ball!

PaintballsI really should’ve taken a picture of the small, perfectly round welt that formed on my wrist. Aside from this blog and the video, it was the only physical evidence of my presence at the Reno Indoor Paintball, Inc. (RIP) studios.

RIP President Lawrence “Larry” Kagawa became a paintball enthusiast in the Army. In his 21-year military career, he experimented with non-lethal military training that involved both laser tag and paintball. He fell in love with the spirit and professional aspect of the sport, and decided to test his entrepreneurial side in Reno, Nevada two years ago.

“Paintball is an extreme sport with the teamwork of a traditional sport,” Kagawa said.

Reno Indoor Paintball, Inc. is the only indoor paintball facility in all of Northern Nevada. Players are as young as 10 and as old as 72.

“He comes all the way from Fallon to train and really gets into it,” Kagawa said of his oldest player.

DSC_0003It hosts tournaments, coaching clinics and is home to the national champs, NV Reign. The squad currently holds the national title for the National Professional Paintball League, and in two weeks the team is headed to Washington D.C. to see if they can retain that honor. Talk about bragging rights. (No pressure. You’re only representing the state of Nevada.)

And that’s not all. Reno Indoor Paintball, Inc. is proud to announce that the Regional Paintball League (RPL) will be visiting Reno July 24 and 25. It’s the first paintball tournament in Reno history! Teams will travel to Reno from San Diego, Oregon, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. The ultimate goal of RIP is to entice the National Professional Paintball League to host its annual tournament in the Biggest Little City.

Immediately following this history-making event, Reno Indoor Paintball, Inc. is supporting the Western States Police and Fire Games.

To learn more RIP or what it takes to be a paintball player, check out the video! Listen closely. You can hear when I get pelted.

US Bowling Congress Selects Reno to host the USBC Women’s Championships

 US Bowling Congress Selects Reno to host the USBC Women’s Championships in 2013 and 2014

The additional event bookings will generate 190,000 room nights in Reno Tahoe USA. 

USBC Queens 2The LA Times didn’t call it the “Taj Mahal of Tenpins” for nothing. While most cities have a bowling alley, Reno Tahoe USA has an entire stadium dedicated to the sport, and it’s the one-of-a-kind facility and community spirit that has enticed the U.S. Bowling Congress to return year after year.

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) announced Tuesday that Reno has been selected to host the Women’s Championships in 2013 and both the USBC Open Championships and Women’s Championships in 2013 and 2014. This marks the first time in USBC history that both events will take place simultaneously in the same city.

“We are extremely pleased to have been selected as the host city for the 2013 and 2014 USBC Open Championships and Women’s Championships,” said Ellen Oppenheim, RSCVA President and CEO. “We are equally thrilled to continue to build our long-time partnership with the prestigious events. We are looking forward to welcoming participants of the USBC and their families to our destination for several more years to come.”

Approximately 85,000 bowlers from across the United States and several foreign countries including England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, Bermuda, Canada, Bahamas and France participate in the Open Championships. Additionally, more than 45,000 guests will visit Reno Tahoe for each tournament. The economic impact for both the additional Open Championships and Women’s Championships in 2013 and 2014 is projected to be $242 million in direct local spending.

“The positive impact of winning this piece of business in 2013 and 2014 will be felt by all of the hotels, restaurants, attractions, and shops in the destination,” said Oppenheim. “It also brings Reno Tahoe the opportunity to continue to host one of the largest events in the country. This agreement demonstrates that the National Bowling Stadium is a first rate venue and bowlers enjoy coming to Reno Tahoe.”

The USBC Open Championship will be held inside the one-of-a-kind bowling stadium with simultaneous competition for the Women’s Championships inside the Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC). The last time the RSCC was used for a bowling event was in 1990.

Reno is writing a new page of USBC history in becoming the first city to ever host consecutive tournaments. During previous Open Championships in Reno, 106,916 teams (representing more than 535,000 participants) have competed for more than $30 million in prize money. The Open Championships or Women’s Championships have been held at the National Bowling Stadium 11 times in the past 15 years and are scheduled to return seven  more times.

Sometimes a bowler just has to face the music. Why not do it in the National Bowling Stadium?

 

About United States Bowling Congress:

The United States Bowling Congress, as the national governing body, ensures the integrity and protects the future of the sport, provides programs and services to nearly 2.5 million adult and youth members and enhances the bowling experience.

                               

About the RSCVA:

The RSCVA is the primary tourism agency supporting convention and tourism business for the Reno Tahoe region.  Reno Tahoe supports unlimited possibilities from outdoor recreation to 24-hour Nevada style gaming and entertainment.  For more information about Reno-Tahoe call 800-FOR-RENO (800-367-7366) or visit www.VisitRenoTahoe.com.

Rand McNally selects The Animal Ark in North Reno

Rand McNallyRand McNally’s travel experts scour the country for outstanding trips and stops, representing the best that America has to offer.  Of the many submissions, Rand McNally editors drive five new road trips and share their findings in the annual Road Atlas. 

Rand McNally, America’s most trusted source for maps, directions and travel content, has chosen Reno’s Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary over hundreds of other locations as a unique travel destination, awarding the Ark their prestigious “Best of the Road” designation.

In the 2011 Road Atlas of America, editors present several 2-3 day road trips highlighting a geographic area’s unique attractions: those which best capture the region’s essence and appeal to a broad range of people. Their trip entitled “Earth Tones: Reno Nevada to Yosemite California” describes a route that showcases the browns of the high desert, deep blues of Lake Tahoe, cool greens of the sierras, the granite gray bluffs in Yosemite and soaring red sequoia trees.  The Animal Ark is listed as one of ten intriguing attractions along this driving tour.   Page 137 offers the details and map.

This designation by Rand McNally is an exciting honor for the Animal Ark and all of Reno Tahoe USA.

Each “Best of the Road” tour has 10-12 recommended stopping points. On the Earth Tones route from Reno, NV to O’Neals, CA, the noted stops include:

Animal Ark

Westbrook Winery (O’Neals, CA)

TNT Stagecoach (Virginia City, NV)

Tahoe Maritime Museum (Homewood, CA)

Sugar Pine RailRoad (Fish Camp, CA)

Local’s BBQ & Grill (Carson City, NV)

Thunderbird Lodge (Incline Village, NV)

Camp Richardson (So. Lake Tahoe, CA)

Tahoe Trout Farm (So. Lake Tahoe, CA)

Nature Center at Happy Isles (Yosemite)

The editor’s route starts in Reno, heads south and around Lake Tahoe, rejoins Hwy 395, south to Lee Vining, then over Hwy 120 and south, ending up in Sequoia.

The Animal Ark in Reno shares this pretigious spot with the following trips:  

Wild, Warm Alaska:  Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska

Earth Tones:  Reno, Nevada to Yosemite, California

Seaside to Summit:  Manchester to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Around Lake Erie:  Cleveland, Ohio, to Windsor, Ontario

Following Old Man River: Natchez to Tunica, Mississippi

In developing the trips, editors consider locations that are lesser-known or off the beaten path, are unique or have special character, capture the region’s essence, and appeal to a broad range of people.   For many travel enthusiasts, these 150-200 mile trips satisfy their search for a long weekend of adventure.  Each trip includes maps and directions and lists of “best known” spots.  In addition, Rand McNally’s experts have presented stops along the route that showcase the unique aspects of each region. 

“We congratulate The Animal Ark for being identified in our 2011 Best of the Road® listing.  While there are multiple options for planning and on-the-road navigation, Americans continue to rely upon the Rand McNally Road Atlas each year to give them the big picture and the finer details of each road they travel,” said Dave Muscatel,  CEO of Rand McNally. 

The Animal Ark is a nonprofit organization that houses animals that cannot be released back into the wild. Glass viewing areas offer visitors a window into nature as they see wildlife up close in natural habitat exhibits.  Educational programming is scheduled for school age youngsters throughout the year and special events offer recreation education for all ages.