Friday, September 4, 2015

NWA Rally

I am the state president for our employees' association. Each state throughout the nation has a state chapter and then we are also divided areas. Wyoming happens to be in the NorthWest area which consists of Washington/Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

I was volun-told that Wyoming would be hosting the NWA Rally this year and I would be in charge of the even as the President. Keep in mind that I had never planned an event larger than an about 20 person bridal shower....and I could expect somewhere between 40 and 90 people to attend Rally. Yikes!

I joked that if they made me do this I was going to have it in Rock Springs....suggestions to alternate locations came rolling in....instantaneously. The most popular suggestions?

1. Jackson, I squashed this one almost as instantaneously. Jackson is ok, but its the only place people ever think about when they hear Wyoming. Its expensive and there are so many other places in Wyoming that are just as great....or more so.

2. Cheyenne, eh....maybe

3. Casper, No. This is where all of our state trainings are....I wanted to go somewhere a bit more exciting.

4. Cody, which was our winner. A great little tourist trap, close to Yellowstone and not Jackson. A "cowboy" town if you will.

So when you are hosting a regional conference in Buffalo Bill's Cody, Wyoming its only natural that you have a cowboy/western theme. One change I would have made in my planning was delegating the camera to someone else. I managed to go to entire events and snap a single you may have to rely on the internet if you want more pictoral descriptions.

HOWDY! Registration table
 The first day of the Rally was a free day, where participants could explore Cody and the greater Yellowstone area on their own. We also offered a tour of the Y-Tex facility that is based in Cody. I wasn't able to go on the tour, but am looking forward to making it part of another trip to Cody!

Rally isn't all play and no work. We got down to business with a day and half of meetings. We were lucky enough to be welcomed by 2014 Miss Wyoming, Jessie Allen. She is a ranch girl and promoted agriculture and the outdoors during her reign.

We were also joined by Mike Schmidt, Deputy Administrator of Farm Programs. He's a big dog from DC and is responsible for the implementation of all of our programs. It was great to hear some of the things he is trying to accomplish as well as being able to express challenges that we are facing in the field.

We also had a silent auction to benefit the National Scholarship Fund and the Wyoming Scholarship Fund. Counties and States from the Association donated items to the auction. We had a GREAT offering with items that got comments "the quality of auction items is better than National Convention". We were able to make about $2,000 for scholarships!

No event would be all work and no play with this group. We found plenty of fun after the meetings! We hosted a hospitality room complete with food, drink, fun, fellowship and of course cornhole and giant Jenga!

We went to the Prime Rib Buffet at Buffalo Bill's famous Irma Hotel and this was my biggest picture fail. We had the entire Governor's Room and the food was delicious, as usual!

We also visited Cody Cattle Company, a chuckwagon dinner and music show before heading over to the famous Cody Nite Rodeo. Our State Committee Chairman, was kind enough to wear this awesome hat and send us to the chuckwagon by ringing the dinner bell. He was a great sport and did an awesome job!

State Committee Chairman sending us to dinner at the chuckwagon

Ryan Martin and the Triple C Cowboy Band at Cody Cattle Company

Overall, this was a good planning experience, although I'm not real anxious to host another event of this size. I was lucky to have so many people willing to serve as chairpersons and take some of the burden off of me. I couldn't have done it without my many helpers!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you did a great job! And I'm dying to visit Yellowstone....I'll make you be my itinerary planner when I go. :)