Registration for Annual Light Up Contests Begin
Citizens of Dodge City and Ford County have a shot at winning generous prizes when they enter one of the annual Light Up Contests. Contestants have until noon on Monday, Dec. 12, to register for the Light Up Dodge City contest and until noon on Monday, Dec. 26, to register for the Light Up Ford County contest.
“This is one of our favorite events of the holiday season,” said Megan Welsh, director of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). “It’s wonderful to see how creative and extravagant some community members get. If these contests motivate our community members to light up our community, then they are worth every penny.”
Light Up Dodge City contest is made possible through a partnership between the CVB, Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce, and Dodge City Globe. This contest is open to all citizens within the Dodge City city limits. The prizes include $200 in Chamber Bucks for 1st Place, $100 in Chamber Bucks for 2nd Place, and Honorable Mention for 3rd Place.
The Light Up Ford County contest is a partnership between Victory Electric Cooperative Association Inc. and the Dodge City Globe. This contest is open to any individual outside the Dodge City city limits and in Ford County. Prizes for the Light Up Ford County contest include $250 for 1st Place and $100 for 2nd Place.
To enter either contest, go to www.visitdodgecity.org/lightup and complete the entry form. Contact the Dodge City CVB at (620) 228-8191 with any questions.
Lighting Wright Park for the Holidays
Every year businesses, organizations, and individuals turn Dodge City’s Wright Park into a feast for the eyes when they decorate trees throughout the park. Registration for the annual Light Up Wright Park event has already begun, and participants have until November 20 to claim their tree. The tree deemed best decorated will earn the winner $100 in Chamber Bucks.
“This is one of those events we look forward to every year,” said Director of Parks and Facilities for the City of Dodge City, Daniel Cecil. “It’s wonderful to see all the creativity we have in our community. People put in a lot of time and effort to make our park look beautiful for the holiday season, and we’re grateful for their efforts.”
Trees must be decorated no later than November 27. During the week of November 28 through December 2, a group of volunteers will judge the displays, and the winner will be named on Monday, December 5. Decorations will remain up during the holiday season but must be removed by January 8.
For more information, contact the City of Dodge City’s Parks and Facilities at (620) 225-8160. To register yourself, your business, or your organization for the Light Up Wright Park contest, go to www.visitdodgecity.org/CIDC.
AARP Community Challenge Grant Round Tables
In June, Dodge City was chosen as one of 260 grantees for the 2022 Community Challenge Grant from AARP Livable Communities and AARP Kansas. This grant aims to create more livable communities through public art. Beginning September 23, the Dodge City Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) will begin hosting a series of round tables to solicit community input regarding the subjects of these murals.
The grant, written by the PAAC, will be used to decorate bare walls in the historic downtown district with vinyl wall graphics (murals) that celebrate the community’s rich history and the cultural diversity that makes Dodge City great. These murals will be new attractions that will draw community members and visitors alike to the district and create opportunities for local businesses.
“The downtown district is already a gathering space for festivals and events” said Dodge City Convention and Visitor Bureau Marketing Coordinator and PAAC City Representative, Justin Wilson. “We want to build upon the strength of these community projects and give residents more reasons to explore this area.”
The initial round table will be held at the Dodge City Senior Center, 2408 Central Ave., on Friday, Sept. 23, at 9:30 a.m. The next round table will be during Final Friday on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. This round table will be a partnership with Building Solutions at their downtown office at 100 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., where attendees can learn about the Streetscape Project and share their input regarding the mural project. Future round tables will be announced soon.
This project is funded in part by a grant from the AARP. The AARP Community Challenge is a grant program to make tangible improvements in communities that jump-start long-term change. It is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods, and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages. To learn more, visit aarp.org/Livable.
"Kansas Wheat Shock" Ribbon-Cutting & Storyboard Unveiling
More than 75 people were present on the morning of Wednesday, August 3, in the parking lot south of the Boot Hill Museum for a ribbon cutting and storyboard unveiling for the “Kansas Wheat Shock.”
Miss Kitty welcomed the crowd and introduced special guests; artist Hoss Haley, High Plains Journal Owner Nelson Spencer Jr., and Dodge City Vice Mayor Michael Burns. The 32-foot-high fine art sculpture was built in 1980 and stood tall on the south lawn of the High Plains Journal (HPJ) headquarters for more than 40 years. It was donated to the city in honor of HPJ’s legacy in Dodge City and the contributions of its past, present, and future employees. The sculpture was relocated in late July to downtown Dodge City, in the median strip that divides Wyatt Earp Blvd., where it will welcome travelers to downtown.
“This is another great piece of public art that highlights the creativity of our community,” said Melissa McCoy, assistant city manager/public affairs for the City of Dodge City. “We are grateful that the wonderful folks at the High Plains Journal have generously donated this amazing sculpture.”
The Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the sculpture. A storyboard located on the west side of the 1139 Steam Engine that details the creation of the sculpture and the history of the High Plains Journal and features a photo of the sculpture after its original installation (1982) and a photo of the past publishers of the HPJ; Tom Taylor, Joe Berkely, and Duane Ross.
A reception following the ceremony was held in the Boot Hill Museum Mariah Gallery, providing attendees with light refreshments and the opportunity to socialize and meet with the special guests.
Whisker Roundup Names Dodge City's First Mr. Mustache
Nearly 100 people packed the Depot Theater on Saturday, July 23, when the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the first Whisker Roundup Mustache Contest. Sponsored by the Rusty Edge Tonsorial Parlor, eight contestants took to the stage to flaunt their pruned, shaped, and waxed mustaches in their bid to claim the crown of Dodge City’s first Mr. Mustache.
“This event has been so much fun to put together,” said Megan Welsh, manager of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our partners at the Depot Theater and Boot Hill Museum, have been amazing to work with. Offering support and expertise to make this event a successful.”
National Day of the Cowboy was also observed during the event. Miss Kitty spoke to the crowd about the meaning behind the day and recited the Code of Conduct for Cowboys & Cowgirls. Attendees were also treated to performances from Miss Kitty and Doc from the Long Branch Variety Show, the Boot Hill Medicine Show, and warm peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.
The mustache contest saw contestants answer silly questions and present their mustaches to the crowd and judges. The panel of judges consisted of Shawn Nguyen from the Rusty Edge Tonsorial Parlor, Clinton Contant from Red Beard Coffee, and Lee Griffith from the Boot Hill Distillery. The judges graded each mustache on a scale of one to ten across four categories: size, quality, color, and style/presentation. When the dust had settled, and the scores had been tabulated Loren Ashlock was named the winner and crowned Dodge City’s Mr. Mustache.
By Dodge City CVB on June 22, 2022
As part of Dodge City’s 150th Anniversary Celebration, Dodge City hosted Founder’s Weekend, a three-day commemoration honoring our city’s founders, from June 17 through June 19. The event included a concert in Wright Park, a five-mile run, an all-day celebration at the Boot Hill Museum, and the dedication of the Bat Masterson statue at the Home of Stone.
The five-hour concert featured seven bands playing a variety of music, from face-melting surf punk to soulful country. The crowd swelled as the sun went down. By the last performance of the evening, concertgoers filled the area in front of the stage. Some concert attendees lingered in Wright Park long after the concert had concluded.
“This was a great event. Everyone from the musician, the vendors, and attendees had a great night,” said Coral Lopez, Main Street Director, and Dodge City 150th Anniversary Events Chair. “We estimate nearly 400 people attended the concert throughout the evening. The crowd even sold out two of the food trucks. We couldn’t be happier, and hope bring back this event!”
Saturday’s festivities started with the Whiskey Run, a five-mile run that took runners past some of Dodge City’s most historic sites. The fun continued at the Boot Hill Museum with Hoover Day, an all-day celebration of George Hoover, one of the founders of Dodge City. At least 1,200 people flooded the museum throughout the day to enjoy medicine shows, gunfights, can-can lessons, deputizings, an ice cream social, the chance to meet Buck Taylor, and mini-performances of the Long Branch Variety Show and a concert from the Dodge City Cowboy Band.
The weekend concluded on Sunday, June 19, at the Mueller-Schmidt House/Home of Stone with the unveiling and dedication of the Bat Masterson Statue. In addition to a crowd of over 75 spectators, the statues sculptors, Carson and Charlie Norton and family, Ken Masterson, the great-great nephew of Bat Masterson, and Buck Taylor and his wife Goldie, attended the ceremony.
Upcoming events for the Dodge City 150th anniversary include the first Whisker Roundup on Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m. in the Depot Theater, Dodge City Days beginning July 28 and running through August 7, and the return of Ham Bell’s Pioneer Picnic in September in Wright Park. To get involved or for more information about Dodge City’s 150th Anniversary, visit www.dodgecity150.com.
By Dodge City CVB on April 6, 2022
Dodge City’s unique blend of historic charm and western aesthetic helped Trips to Discover to name the Most Charming Small Town in Kansas. In her article “The Most Charming Small Town in Every State,” Trips to Discover travel writer K.C. Dermody cited the colorful cast of characters, entertaining exhibits, and experiences as reasons that Dodge City tops her list in the state of Kansas.
“We are excited to be ranked the Most Charming Small Town in Kansas by Trips to Discover,” said Megan Welsh, manager of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Living and working here, we know how great our town is. It’s nice to have these sentiments upheld by professional travel writers.”
Trips to Discover, an online travel discovery platform, wants to inspire people to travel more by helping them discover their next travel destination. With more than 22 million annual website visits and more than 100 million video views, Trips to Discover is on its way to becoming the #1 travel discover platform.
The complete The Most Charming Small Town in Every State article can be read online now at https://www.tripstodiscover.com/charming-small-town-every-state/.
By Dodge City CVB on March 31, 2022
The Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is pleased to announce the return of its Marketing Grant. This grant is available to attractions, venues, or event organizers to promote activities in Ford County that will attract visitors who will stay overnight in our community. Grant funds are released in advance of the project's completion date but require proof of completion and a results report. The grant can cover up to 80% of the project’s marketing cost, with a maximum award of $1,000 per project. $5,000 will be available to be awarded this round. The grant deadline is April 30, 2022.
The CVB marketing grant was created in February 2014, to work in tandem with the other locally offered grants through Festivals, Mariah Fund, and Why Not Dodge Organizational Funding. "Over the past five years, the CVB has awarded over $91,000.00 in grants," said Megan Welsh, manager of the Dodge City CVB. "Using industry-standard calculations, we estimate the economic impact of those aided by these grants to be over 65 million dollars." Past grant recipients include Boot Hill Museum, Ford County Fair, Dodge City Community College, Winter Expo, Dodge City Days, Boot Hill Casino & Resort, Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame, Dodge City Roundup, Central Station, HorseThief the Festival, Ford County Historical Society, and many others.
The mission of the Convention and Visitors Bureau is to promote attractions and venues in Dodge City and the surrounding area increasing tourism and bringing convention and travel business to Dodge City. As part of that mission, the CVB aids attractions and event organizers in their marketing efforts to reach prospective visitors and bring overnight travelers to Dodge City. These grant funds have been used effectively to increase awareness and attendance at events and attractions.
A copy of the grant application can be accessed, completed, and submitted online at www.visitdodgecity.org under the "Media & More" tab. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2022. For more information concerning the grant, contact Megan Welsh, Manager of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau at (620) 225-8191.
By Dodge City CVB on March 3, 2022
This year’s sponsors include: Boot Hill Casino & Resort, Boot Hill Distillery, Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City Brewing, Dodge City Roundup, Hampton Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, I Don’t Care Family Restaurant & Sports Bar, Longs, Long Branch Lagoon, Mariah Hills Golf Course, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, and United Wireless Arena.
By Dodge City CVB on February 11, 2022
Dodge City is indelibly linked with the American west. Some of the greatest heroes and scoundrels in history walked and prowled the streets of what would be known as Queen of the Cowtowns. That remarkable history has been kept alive, giving visitors a glimpse of what life was really like in the West. That is one of the reasons Dodge City is honored as #8 among True West Magazine’s 2022 Top Western Towns.
“Our industry partners do a great job engaging and connecting visitors with our history,” said Megan Welsh, manager of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They are a major part of why Dodge City has been recognized by True West as a Top 10 True Western Town 13 times in the last 15 years.”
The criteria used by the editors of True West Magazine in making their selection of honorees include preservation of its history through old buildings, museums, and other institutions, events, and promotion of historic resources.
“There is no more hallowed name in Old West annals than Dodge City,” says True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. “It’s been made even more famous by Gunsmoke, but visitors get a chance to see the real thing. There’s no question: Dodge City is a Top True Western Town.”
Dodge City and other honorees will be featured in the February/March 2022 issue of True West available on February 15, 2022. This issue marks the 17th year True West has presented this annual award.
Dodge City CVB Gives Back to Travelers Planning for Brighter Days
By Dodge City CVB on January 22, 2022
As part of National Plan for Vacation Day on Jan. 25, the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) will be drawing a random winner to receive a night’s stay for two in Dodge City. The stay will include accommodations, Marshal Passes to the Boot Hill Museum, other attraction tickets, and Dodge City welcome basket.
National Plan for Vacation Day (NPVD), powered by the U.S. Travel Association, encourages Americans to prioritize planning their vacations at the start of the year. A study from Destination Analysts reveals that Americans who take the time to plan their vacations are more likely to use their paid time off. After nearly two years of pandemic stress and fatigue, NPVD gives Americans a reason to look ahead to brighter days and plan weekend getaways or vacations over the coming months.
“We are lucky to have such great industry partners like the Hampton Inn and Suites and the Boot Hill Museum. Their generosity and willingness to donate their resources allows us to engage with travelers in new and fun ways,” said Megan Welsh, manager of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Vacations are a great way to recharge and reconnect with family, and we are happy to do anything we can to make that process easier.”
Keeping in theme with National Plan for Vacation Day the pool of possible winners will be drawn from individuals who have contacted the Convention and Visitors Bureau since Jan. 1, 2022, to request travel information for the upcoming year. The CVB will be joining thousands of other organizations across the country to celebrate National Plan for Vacation Day and encourage Americans to take the much-needed time off they deserve. To plan your next getaway go to www.visitdodgecity.org or to learn more about National Plan for Vacation Day visit https://www.ustravel.org/events/national-plan-vacation-day.
By Dodge City CVB on January 6, 2022
The Dodge City 150th Anniversary Committee announces plans for a year-long celebration of the “wickedest little town in the west.” The committee, comprised of city employees, members of civic and historical organizations, and private business owners, has been developing a series of events to celebrate the city’s rich history and the cultural significance it played in shaping the west. The anniversary will also celebrate the community’s cultural diversity and how it has empowered and bolstered the city. A kickoff event is planned for Jan. 28 at the Boot Hill Museum, beginning at 4 p.m.
“There were many milestones that impacted the founding of Dodge City,” said City Manager Nick Hernandez. “Numerous historical events allowed the city to maintain its relevance long after the cattle drives and, our diverse community helped keep us strong. So, to us, it makes the most sense to celebrate this anniversary as long as we can.”
As new events are solidified, details will be available on the anniversary’s social media pages (DodgeCity150) and a dedicated website, made possible through a partnership with the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce. One new event that has already been confirmed is Founder’s Weekend, set to take place from June 17 through June 19, and will celebrate George Hoover and the establishment of the first business, as well as the city’s rough and rowdy early years. Also being planned is the return of Ham Bell’s Pioneer Picnic.
“America’s favorite icon, the cowboy, has securely cemented Dodge City’s place in wild-west history,” Dodge City Mayor Kent Smoll said. “Having been the home of some of the greatest heroes and villains, both real and imagined, of the wild west, people travel from all over the world to experience our city’s western charm. The 150th anniversary represents the chance for us to showcase not only the best of our past but celebrate the community that makes us great in the present.”