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Project Awards More Than $40,000 For Rural Tourism

LAS CRUCES - New Mexico communities will be able to attract more tourists this year thanks to more than $40,000 in mini grants for activities showcasing Native American art and culture, a walking tour of art galleries at New Mexico State University, and a rugged trail ride once followed by Billy the Kid.

The fourth annual Trail of Billy's Last Ride is one project receiving funding from the Rural Economic Development Through Tourism program at New Mexico State University. The trail ride starts in Lincoln, where Billy the Kid escaped from the courthouse. (05/20/2004) (Courtesy Photo from New Mexico State University)

NMSU's Rural Economic Development Through Tourism (REDTT) Project awarded $40,484 for more than 50 tourism projects in 17 New Mexico counties.
Projects include billboards, banners, brochures, festival development, Web site development, tour-guide training and tours for travel writers and tourism employees, among others.

Funding requests totaled $68,772, about the same as in prior years, said Dora Dominguez, REDTT project director, so awards were limited to "what simply had to be the strongest and most creative tourism projects."

Since the project began in 1992, REDTT has awarded $324,274. Projects funded for 2004-2005 are listed below by county.

Catron County: $1,600 for a visitors map insert and Pie Town Festival entertainment.
Chaves County: $1,100 for banners for Old Timers Day and a visitors center map/brochure. Maps will highlight points of interest in Roswell, Chaves County and southeastern New Mexico.

Cibola County: $2,500 for The Ancient Way Scenic Route 53 brochure and northwest New Mexico visitors center billboards. Two billboards will be used to promote the northwest New Mexico visitors center in Grants.

De Baca County: $2,450 for De Baca County Chamber of Commerce promotions and signs and banners for highways 60 and 84.

Doņa Ana County: $1,500 for a first-time project to create brochures for an NMSU Art Gallery Walking Tour and Shalem Colony and Oahspe Mystery Museum, a new photographic museum.

Eddy County: $2,500 for a billboard to promote the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center and Artesia's Main Street District and a revised Carlsbad downtown historic walking tour and shopping guide.

Grant County: $1,600 for the Annual Western Heritage Festival and year-round agritourism brochure.

Guadalupe County: $1,425 for trail ride familiarization tours to show trail riders and artists the hospitality, scenery and activities of ranch life.

Hidalgo County: $2,997 for tourist tear-off information maps that illustrate county and city places of interest, and a tourism sign to be placed on the grounds for the New Mexico welcome center in Lordsburg.

Lea County: $3,100 for a Eunice Web site, developed in collaboration with the Eunice public schools, and a Hobbs historical brochure. A new project, the brochure will feature the history of Hobbs and the surrounding area. Also funded is an honorarium for entertainment at the annual Taste of Lea County showcase.

Lincoln County: $1,720 for Smokey's 60th birthday, a new event, which included three days of activities and a concert, and White Oaks Miners' Day June 5 in White Oaks.

Luna County: $2,000 for a Luna County welcome sign near the border crossing on Route 11 and Mimbres-Paquime rack cards, printed in Spanish and English. The project is a collaborative effort of the Luna County Tourism Council and the Mimbres-Paquime Connection loop tour committee.

Otero County: $500 for third annual Mardi Gras in the Clouds promotional banners and the Desert Light high school film competition.

Quay County: $3,800 for a destination brochure for Quay County and a county calendar of events. The monthly events listing will be compiled by the Quay County Tourism Council and distributed to area motels. Also funded are Quay County Heritage Dayze and Cook-Off promotions.

Sandoval County: $2,000 for 3,000 Sandoval County screen savers, which depict attractions and the scenic beauty of Sandoval County.

Sierra County: $3,200 for the "Destination Sierra County: A Regional Fair of Art and Culture" brochure, Sierra County historical sites brochures, portable event signs to promote Elephant Butte special events and training for familiarization tour hosts and drivers.

Socorro County: $2,300 for a Mother's Day Pow Wow. The fourth annual event, May 8-9, presented and promoted the Native American culture through positive family activities. Also funded are Alamo Arts and Crafts Center educational and promotional brochures.

Two joint county projects were funded.

Lincoln-De Baca: $2,462 for the Fourth Annual Trail of Billy's Last Ride, April 27-May 4. Since its inception, REDTT has contributed $7,562 toward this event, which is designed as a familiarization tour for travel writers. The first three tours have generated substantial media coverage in magazines, newspapers and on the Internet.

Catron-Grant: $2,000 to fund art-gallery and history-heritage familiarization tours. These tours are designed for writers specifically interested in the arts and the Wild West. The Catron County Tourism Council and Grant County Tourism Council will arrange tours of various historic sites.

REDTT, a project of NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, provides education, training and technical assistance to 17 New Mexico counties. REDTT was created in 1992 by former U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen.

For more information, contact Dominguez at (505) 646-8009 or dorad@nmsu.edu.