Governor honored with Big WYO Award
CHEYENNE – Veteran Wyoming tourism promoter Gene Bryan noted in the video leading to presentation the tourism industry’s “Big Wyo Award” that of all the governors he had worked for, one stood out in his support of the travel industry.
That was about the time that Gov. Dave Freudenthal began to suspect that the award he was expected to present at the conclusion of the annual Wyoming Governor’s Hospitality and Tourism Conference was going to be presented to him instead.
The travel industry’s highest honor has been awarded since 1977 by the Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association to somebody who has advanced the cause of travel and tourism in Wyoming. Past winners have included some of the major owners and operators in the industry as well as travel promoters.
But Freudenthal fit the bill as someone who has done more for tourism in Wyoming than any elected official, said Bryan, a past award winner himself.
“He has been with us from the git-go. I’m just terribly proud and very grateful that the industry sees fit to honor this year’s recipient,” Bryan said.
The governor looked surprised as the video gradually zeroed in on him, then said he was “humbled” and then quipped, “I hope to come back and receive another one after I complete my fourth term.” (The governor a few weeks later announced that he would not seek a third term.)
In remarks prior to the award, Freudenthal said the state’s travel industry has a big impact on visitors and “conveys an enthusiasm about people and place that is infectious.”
Often it is the little things that people do that leave a lasting impact on visitors, he said, and he urged hospitality owners to keep conveying that to their staffs.
“I want Wyoming to be the place that every visitor that comes, leaves saying that the very best place that we were ever at this year or any year was Wyoming,” he said.