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Miniota’s Shirtsleeve Nominated

Record-breaking gala celebrates tourism.
Miniota Shirtsleeve Classic Summer Spiel in 2008.

It’s rural tourism at its best and Miniota’s Shirtsleeve Classic Summer Spiel has been nominated to what Vern May, board member for Tourism Westman, calls “a recording breaking ballot of nominees up for honours.”

The 13th annual Tribute to Tourism Awards gala, takes place on June 1, in Carberry and highlights outstanding efforts to promote tourism in western Manitoba, explains May, who is also a nominee and the Economic Development Officer for Minnedosa.

Miniota’s new Economic Development Officer, Traci Orr nominated the Miniota Shirtsleeve Classic. She took initiative, looking for publicity for the Shirtsleeve, now in its 25th year.

The summer spiel is more than curling in July. Orr said, “I’ve been coming to it, even before I lived here, coming to the dance, the suppers. Never a curler, I came and played ball.”

So, when the EDO got the letter from Tourism Westman and started answering a form about the Shirtsleeve, ‘does it draw people?’ she wanted to recognize all the people who worked to make it such a big success every year.

Tracy Young was delighted about Orr’s work for the nomination. “I was pretty impressed.”

Young was a volunteer on the Community Development Committee when a previous nomination for Westman Tourism highlighted three tours Miniota developed.

“I’d never thought of entering the bonspiel for a tourism award,” she said.

For the curling committee, Nick Young responded saying the Shirtsleeve entries were high this year because of the 25th celebration. “We got 32 rinks really fast and have a few on the waiting list for the bonspiel.”

Presented by Tourism Westman, this year’s nominee count at 28 represents the greatest number of nominees ever, representing 12 host communities throughout the region.

Vern May says, “The growing numbers are encouraging, especially when efforts are being made at a provincial level to ensure that Manitoba becomes more competitive... to expand our reputation as a diverse destination for visitors, both domestically and internationally.”

The gala has historically been held in and around Brandon. Virden’s Tundra Oil & Gas Place hosted last year’s gala in the first rural venue.

“Attendance for the event was even larger than when hosted in the city,” said May.

He postulates that bringing the tourism awards gala to rural communities “creates a bigger splash, and may also boost the level of hometown pride among competing jurisdictions to more actively promote their work related to tourism”.

This year’s slate of nominees is as follows.

Aspiring Youth, Lisa Buchanan - Minnedosa; Jordan Hale – Souris;

Volunteer of the Year, Judy Wells – Deloraine; Darryl Holyk – Minnedosa; Garry Jones – Rapid City; Averill Whitfield – Souris

Service Excellence, Ag Days – Carberry; Heritage Coop Gas Bar – Minnedosa; Shuttle Bug Charter Tours – Onanole; Woodfire Deli – Souris

Partnership Award, Boissevain-Morton Farmer’s Market – Boissevain; Lake Metigoshe Improvement Area & Deloraine- Winchester – Deloraine Corner Pocket Publishing – Melita; Rockin’ the Fields – Minnedosa

Marketing Excellence, Tommy Turtle – Boissevain; Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba – Brandon; Banana Days – Melita; Vern May – Minnedosa E vent of the Year, Boissevain-Morton Canada Day Celebration – Boissevain; Canadian Women’s Volleyball Championship – Brandon; Safeway Provincial Men’s Curling Championship – Brandon; Men’s & Ladies McCain Classic Curling Bonspiel – Carberry; Cruisin’ for Cash – Deloraine; Grim Acres Scare Away Cancer – Kemnay; Banana Days – Melita; Shirtsleeve Classic – Miniota; Fun Fest – Minnedosa; Pelican Lake Annual Ice Fishing Derby – Ninette.

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