April 17, 2013 Edition

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Stan Jones (from left), Danny Ford and Ross Rainwater look at a photo presented to Jones by Charles Snapp of the two with country music legend Charlie Rich after a guided duck hunt.

Stan Jones Mallard Lodge
hosts regional tourism banquet

John Bland

The new Stan Jones Mallard Lodge at Clover Bend, which opened in the fall of 2012, was host Thursday evening to the annual Leo Rainey Tourism Appreciation Banquet for the Ozark Gateway Region.

This year's banquet was the first time for the event to be held in Lawrence County, and the new world-class duck-hunting lodge was the ideal setting for a tourism event.

Stan Jones and his staff provided tours of the lodge and its extensive gardens and grounds before and after the banquet.

Danny Ford of Rector, a commissioner with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, was the featured speaker. Stan Jones also told the group about himself and the lodge.

Several awards and presentations were made prior to Ford's speech.

Charles Snapp of Walnut Ridge, a member of the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council Board, presented Stan Jones an appreciation gift for hosting the banquet. The gift was a color photo on canvas, taken by Robert Rainwater of Walnut Ridge. The photo showed Snapp and Jones with country music legend Charlie Rich, after the two had led Rich and his band on a successful duck hunt in the late '70s or early '80s.

Adam Davis of Mammoth Spring, president of the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council Board, and Cathy Drew, executive director, presented three awards.

Jean Pace, longtime mayor of Mammoth Spring, was presented with the Tom Biggs Award for her outstanding service to tourism.

The Times Dispatch was announced as the recipient of the Wilson Powell Media Support Award. In a letter of nomination, Charles Snapp stressed the importance of the media in getting the word out regarding tourist attractions. Snapp credited his uncle, Charles, namesake of Lake Charles State Park, for teaching him this.

Davis and Drew next gave a special award, the President's Award, to Charles and Jackie Snapp of Walnut Ridge. Davis said the two had been invaluable and always ready to assist him during his tenure as president.

Danny Ford told the audience "to focus on what you have," regarding tourist attractions and to not lament what you don't have. The Ozark Gateway region has rivers, streams, lakes, beautiful scenery and a rich musical history, he added.

Ford, who is an automobile dealer for Glen Sain dealerships, said, the tourism business is similar to the car business. "You have to make it happen."

Ford praised the efforts of the region's tourism promoters. "You need to continue doing what you're doing to bring in travelers. Take advantage of the opportunities that you have."

Sharing another piece of advice that applies to car sales or tourism promotion, Ford said, " You never go wrong being nice to people."

The Ozark Gateway Region consists of eight counties, including Lawrence, Randolph, Jackson, Fulton, Izard, Sharp, Stone and Independence counties.

Representing Lawrence County on the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council Board are Dr. Brett Cooper, Randall Watts and Charles Snapp.

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